The main reasons people give me for not eating breakfast are: lack of time and not being in the habit. By understanding that a regular, balanced breakfast is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and following some of the energizing ideas presented here, you may just make time to form a good habit!
Finding the Balance:
Although three out of four Canadians do eat something for breakfast only about 12% of adults and 2% of children over the age of seven eat a nutritionally balanced breakfast! It’s recommended to make choices lower in fat and higher in whole grains which are good sources of complex carbohydrates and fibre. Sorry, no credit for coffee, which falls in the ‘Other Foods’ group!
Start by making whole grain breads or cereals the basis of your breakfast. Try to choose products that contain 3 grams or less of fat and 2 grams or more of fibre per serving. The complex carbohydrates in these foods take longer to digest and thus provide long lasting energy to get you through the morning. Foods high in sugar, including fruit juice, provide an instant energy boost that doesn’t last long. Therefore, a combination of complex carbohydrates and food high in sugar provides the benefit of short and long lasting energy.
Fast – Breaks
How can you make nutritious choices that are both fast and convenient?
A high fibre cereal, such as Raisin Bran, with skim milk and a glass of orange juice is an easy, yet satisfying and balanced way to eat breakfast in a hurry.
Or, if you like something warm in the morning, try a bowl of hot, instant oatmeal with skim milk and fruit. Low in fat and a source of fibre, it can be prepared in about three minutes. The following suggest other nutritious breakfasts that you can prepare quickly.
- Toasted frozen waffles with fresh or microwaved frozen berries, light syrup and a glass of milk.
- Yogurt Fruit Shake: Put 1/2c (125 ml) of low fat yogurt, 1/2c (125 ml) berries or a banana, plus 1/4c (60 ml) of fruit juice and a few ice cubes into a blender. Mix until fruit and ice are broken up; about a minute. Enjoy this with a toasted whole wheat English muffin spread with light cream cheese.
- Muesli-type cereal mixed with low fat vanilla or fruit flavoured yogurt and fresh orange wedges.
When you don’t have time to sit…Take one of these ideas with you out the door:
- Cereal bar, an apple and a container of milk
- Whole grain bagel or bran muffin with cheese and a juice box
- Toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich and a container of milk
Four Very Important Reasons to Eat Breakfast:
Your brain needs the energy boost.
After an overnight fast, your mind and body need a boost of energy to function best. The brain’s primary energy source is glucose and it is, therefore, sensitive to the drop in blood sugar levels resulting from fasting. In fact, studies have indicated that problem solving skills, memory, attention span and even physical work capability are diminished in those people who skip breakfast. These effects are greater in children because they have smaller energy reserves and higher rates of metabolism. Missing breakfast may interfere with their school performance.
Meeting your daily nutrient requirements is easier.
Studies have shown that many people who skip breakfast do not make up for missed nutrients later in the day. By regularly eating a balanced breakfast you will improve your dietary intake of fibre and important nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin C and B-vitamins.
It can help keep your weight in check!
It is true that people who eat breakfast daily are less likely to be overweight. Yet, those attempting to lose weight are most likely to skip breakfast. By skipping this meal you may be inclined to eat less nutritious snacks or overeat later in the day when hunger catches up with you.
Monkey see. . . Monkey do.
Eating breakfast yourself is the best way to help your children develop healthy breakfast habits. If you think they don’t notice, think again!