By: Sarah Alligood, MPH, RD Date: 10/26/09
Breakfast is a hot topic right now, and it’s clear that there's a lot of confusion over what to include in a healthful breakfast. So we thought it was a good time to talk about the benefits of eating breakfast and share some tips on meals that are healthy, balanced and quick!
According to the 2009 International Food Information Council Foundation Food & Health Survey, the vast majority of Americans think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but less than half actually eat the morning meal. Those people are missing out! Research has shown that choosing a well-balanced breakfast that includes the MyPyramid "food groups to encourage:" whole grains, vegetables, fruits or 100 percent fruit juice, and low-fat or fat-free dairy is the smart way for both adults and children to start their day.
What Can Breakfast Do For You?
Breakfast is Just Plain Good for You: Breakfast-eating kids and adults get more fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc and iron in their diets than breakfast-skippers. It’s no surprise when you consider that nutrient-rich foods such as whole-grain, hot and ready-to-eat cereals, fat-free and low-fat milk and yogurt, and fruit and 100 percent fruit juice are popular breakfast picks.
Breakfast Boosts Brain Power: Several studies suggest that eating breakfast may help children do better in school by improving memory, alertness, concentration, problem-solving ability, test scores, school attendance, and mood. Adult breakfast skippers, take a lesson—eating breakfast may help boost your brain power, too.
Breakfast is the “Weigh” to Go The first meal of the day can help keep weight gain away, so don’t skip breakfast to manage your weight. Research suggests that adult breakfast skippers are at greater risk for obesity and weight gain, while breakfast eaters tend to have healthier weights. Kids and teens who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, too. And, according to findings from the National Weight Control Registry, almost 8 in 10 adults who maintain a 30-plus pound weight loss for at least a year eat breakfast every day. Why the breakfast benefit? Research shows a link between healthier body weights and eating foods such as hot and ready-to-eat cereal and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Breakfast foods like oatmeal and high protein milk products and eggs also may help you feel full.
No time for breakfast?
Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
§ Your Pick Mix. Your favorite cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a resealable plastic bag plus a single-serve container of low-fat or fat-free milk.
§ The Hot and Wholesome Bowl. Microwavable oatmeal with chopped apples and walnuts—make with fat-free milk instead of water for an extra punch of protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
§ Eye-Opening Orange Dream. Make your tummy and your bones happy by making a smoothie from low-fat vanilla yogurt and 100 percent orange juice and take it in car in a to-go cup. Tastes like an orange creamsicle – yum!
What are your family’s favorite breakfast ideas?