Why It's Important To Make Breakfast A Priority

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 1:13pm

By Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, MS, RD

Research has shown that breakfast-eaters are healthier than non-breakfast-eaters. In fact, adults who regularly eat breakfast tend to be thinner and have a lower risk of certain diseases. They also get more calcium, fiber, fruits and vegetables, as well as less fat, saturated fat and sodium in their diets compared to those that don’t start the day with a healthy meal. Also, kids who eat breakfast do better in school, are more alert, and can concentrate better than those who rush out the door with an empty stomach. So why then is breakfast the most frequently skipped meal of the day? Depending on whom you talk to, anywhere from 40-70% of Americans don’t eat this important meal.

How breakfast helps you through to lunchtime

A filling breakfast helps prevent a mid-morning slump—you know, that time when you find yourself digging for change to feed the vending machine or traveling to the nearest store for a candy bar or other quick pick me up. One problem with these snacks is that, while they offer a quick energy fix (sugar high), the boost doesn’t last long and leaves you in the same slump shortly thereafter. Also, they are usually loaded with sugar, fat and calories, and very little else. Eating breakfast instead means high energy but not a lot of extra-empty calories—both of which are important if you want to lose a few pounds or even if you’re just interested in eating healthfully and feeling your best.

Make breakfast a routine

People have countless excuses for why they don’t eat breakfast. Considering the health impact of a good breakfast, these excuses are weak at best. Here are some arguments against them:

Excuse #1: “I’m not hungry in the morning.”

Chances are you’ve skipped breakfast for so long that you don’t even recognize your body’s hunger signs. Try eating something small—like some yogurt or a piece of fruit—anything just to get something in your stomach. Once you get used to eating a little bit, you’ll probably discover you have a morning appetite after all. When you’ve learned to eat this small amount, build on your simple meal by combining fruit and yogurt, or add a bowl of cereal or some whole wheat toast.

Excuse #2: “I don’t have time for breakfast.”

Try setting your alarm 5 to 10 minutes earlier. Come on, isn’t being healthier and slimmer worth a few extra minutes? In addition, prepare as much as you can the night before. Set out your bowl, a glass, your cereal, whatever you need. It may sound silly, but those few minutes you can shave off prep time means more snooze time. You can also consider eating breakfast once you get to work if that’s an option. Keep instant oatmeal packets and small boxes of raisins in your desk—all you need is some milk and a microwave and you’ve got a fiber-filled meal that’ll take you right through to lunch.

Excuse #3: “I don’t like breakfast foods.”

No problem. I think a good breakfast includes a food from at least 4 of the 5 food groups, so that means you have countless possibilities. What about a ham and cheese sandwich and an orange? Or, a slice of leftover cheese pizza with some fresh fruit salad on the side.

If you skip breakfast, think about your excuses. Then, get creative and make it a priority to eliminate your bad habit so that you can start obtaining its benefits!

For further information on why it's important to eat breakfast see the following article from TheDietChannel: The Importance of Breakfast.

For further information kids and the importance of eating breakfast see the following article from TheDietChannel: 5 Important Reasons Your Child Should Eat Breakfast.