Regardless of the specific dietary plan, a wide variety of nutritionists agree on one thing: the importance of breakfast. It’s the meal that many choose to skip, but research points to its benefits if consumed daily. Of course, the contents of the meal make a difference, but timing is also vital.
In this post, we’ll examine why a nutritious breakfast is so critical to optimal health and suggest easy ways to incorporate it into your routine.
Why Breakfast is So Important
Eating breakfast ‘breaks the fast’ you’ve put your body through during sleep, allowing your glucose supply to replenish and your energy to boost. It will also give your metabolism the jump start it needs to burn calories throughout the day. Plus, you’ll be likely to consume less fat throughout the day.
Research shows that breakfast eaters have a better memory and focus and are less likely to become overweight. The American Heart Association also supports the importance of breakfast in relation to health.
It seems like a no-brainer that everyone would make a point of eating breakfast, but sadly that’s not the case.
Why So Many Skip Breakfast
There are many reasons why both children and adults skip breakfast.
First, many people would simply rather get an extra 30 minutes to an hour of additional sleep. Hitting the snooze button is sometimes more powerful than the discipline to get out of bed to prepare and eat a meal.
Next, with energy low when we first wake, it’s sometimes tough to find the motivation to fix a meal. The thought of cooking may seem daunting as the sun comes up, especially if time is a concern. Many people sacrifice breakfast to allow more time to get ready for school or work.
Finally, many people miss the importance of eating breakfast. They don’t understand the health benefits that come with starting their day with a meal or how detrimental it can be to skip it.
Ways to incorporate breakfast into your morning
Don’t need to be convinced to make changes to your routine, but don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone, and the good news is that there are simple ways to start your day with a healthy breakfast.
- Prepare a make-ahead meal the night before. From slicing and bagging up fresh fruit for a low-fat yogurt parfait or loading a slow-cooker with your favorite oatmeal recipe to simmer overnight, there are a variety of options available that make for low-maintenance mornings. Search for recipes and ideas online or check out cookbooks that focus on good nutrition from your local library.
- Build breakfast into your schedule. Just as you would make an appointment to get your hair cut, make one with yourself to sit and eat a healthy meal. Sometimes the psychological formality of adding an activity to a calendar makes it much more doable.
- Reduce common barriers. If it’s hard to get the kids ready for school in the morning when you should be cooking, lay their clothes out the night before and develop a morning agenda for showers, teeth-brushing, getting backpacks filled, etc. If you’re the one with the barriers preventing you from cooking and eating, wake 30 minutes earlier to be sure to accomplish everything.
- Pack a “to-go” breakfast. If you’re genuinely low on time as you head out the door to start your day, take a healthy meal with you. Portable foods like bran muffins, which are packed with fiber, and egg-filled breakfast burritos that boast a good dose of protein, make excellent options.
- Avoid the temptation of fast food. At times it may seem easier to visit a drive thru en route to work than prepare a meal at home, but really you’re better off not going at all. Fast food breakfasts are typically high in sugar, calories and fat, and lack the dietary value your body needs. If you must stop for something fast, choose an oatmeal or yogurt option.
Consult with a Professional
For some, the transition to eating a nutritious daily breakfast isn’t easy. To get assistance with implementing a healthy breakfast routine into your life, schedule time with a medical professional at our Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice, or for general health inquiries, submit your question on this page.