For More Information, Please Call Us At call 603.524.3211

Health Information Library

Categories > Diet and Nutrition > Healthy eating

Mayo Content Display

Good morning, breakfast! Why it’s so important to start the day right

» The proof

» Morning ritual

» The un-breakfast

Midmorning munchies

Since breakfast acts like a start button for your metabolism, you may notice you’re hungrier on mornings when you eat breakfast. This means your cells are getting the energy they need to do their job. If your tummy starts grumbling around 11 a.m., go ahead and have a midmorning snack of fruit, yogurt or whole-wheat crackers—you probably won’t be increasing your caloric intake, because most people who eat balanced meals in the morning actually eat less later in the day.

What you may be missing

Besides a much-needed energy boost, breakfast skippers also miss out on nutrients they often don’t bother getting later in the day. Here’s a breakdown of what percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance most breakfasts provide:

•folate 68%•vitamin A 54%•vitamin C 50%
•fiber 40%•iron 40%•vitamin E 38%
•calcium 37%  

Unfortunately, adding milk to your coffee doesn’t turn your morning brew into breakfast-in-a-mug. But include a bowl of fruit-topped cereal to your wake-up routine and you’re on the way to a healthy, productive, energetic morning.

Before you say you don’t have time for breakfast or you’re not hungry in the morning, consider this morsel of information. People who regularly skip breakfast are likely to eat more saturated fat and have higher cholesterol levels than morning eaters. Still not convinced breakfast is worth 10 minutes of sleep? Read on.

The proof

To stay in tip-top shape, your brain depends on the energy it derives from food. Researchers at the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School study discovered this when they tested the reasoning, inference, problem-solving and concentration skills of 40 people. Some of the study subjects ate no breakfast; some ate a high-fat, low-protein, carbohydrate-based meal; and the rest had a nutritionally balanced meal. The researchers found that those who ate breakfast, balanced or not, scored higher on the tests.

Chances are, when you wake up in the morning, you haven’t eaten in at least eight hours. Since the body uses food for energy, breakfast-skippers’ cells—including their brain cells—are pretty much running on empty. So if you want be sharp in the a.m., fill your tank.

Morning ritual

The most popular breakfast meal is cereal. Since most are fortified with vitamins and nutrients, a morning bowl is usually a pretty good choice. Make sure you pick a brand with fewer than 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of sugar per serving. Although granola may sound like a healthy choice, check the fat content. Many brands are high in fat and calories. Stick to low-fat varieties.

If you’re not a big milk fan or don’t have time for a sit-down meal, eat the cereal dry. Pack some in a bag and keep it at the office or in the car for a meal on the run. Or you can try yogurt. It’s already packed with calcium and protein, so if you add fruit and dry cereal you’ve got yourself a nutritious, satisfying breakfast.

Defy the spoon culture by drinking your breakfast. Fill your blender with any combination of fruit, yogurt, skim milk and (100 percent) juice and press start. Add wheat germ and honey for a treat. Pour it into a travel mug and enjoy a portable meal.

If you can’t warm up to the idea of a cold breakfast, heat up your morning with oatmeal, toast, pancakes or waffles—even eggs, just as long as you don’t overdo it. However, avoid eating bacon or sausage regularly. These meats are high in saturated fat.

Does your morning madness leave little time for food preparation? Pick up a bagel or muffin on the way to the office. Use butter and cream cheese sparingly. If you choose a muffin, go for a low-fat, healthful variety like whole wheat or bran. Many store-bought and bakery muffins are loaded with oils that are bad for your heart.

The un-breakfast

Forget the eggs, the bagels, the cereal … forget the whole breakfast-food category. What if you could eat pizza, a chicken breast or some cheese and crackers for breakfast? Would a morning meal be more your style then?

You’ve had pancakes for dinner, so why not pasta for breakfast? As long as you are getting the necessary nutrients and a balanced, healthy diet throughout the day, it doesn’t matter what you eat in the morning. The point is to get your brain thinking and your body working.

© 2014 Dowden Health Media