Before you rush out the door another morning without breakfast, consider all the benefits served in this morning meal. Perhaps you’ll think twice as you grab that caffeine with a side of sugar. Here, we’ve eliminated typical excuses people feed themselves as to why they can’t eat breakfast.
I Don’t Have Time for Breakfast
The quickest time of day seems to occur between the alarm clock’s sounding and arrival at the day’s first destination. And, countless marathons have taken place by one too many hits on the snooze button. Despite the rush, and because of it, is all the more reason to eat a healthy breakfast.
You demand a lot of yourself throughout the day. Feed your body well from the start. Those who eat breakfast are proven to:
- be more productive and alert,
- have better concentration and problem-solving skills,
- be more creative.
You can’t afford to miss out on these perks, which help you stay charged throughout the day– especially on mornings that go off with a bang.
Solution: Fill a small container with dry cereal, fruit, or cheese and crackers. Munch on these as you get yourself and the household moving. If dilemmas prevail (missing shoes, homework assignments, or pets), grab these to eat during your morning commute or, if you must, at your desk. Keep some ready-to-go bags or containers easily accessible. The bus waits for no one.
I’m Trying to Cut Calories
Skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of weight gain and obesity.
Translated, breakfast means to “break your fast,” which occurs presumably after a night spent sleeping. Prolonged fasting occurs when you skip breakfast. This can increase your body’s insulin response, which increases fat storage and weight gain.
Eventually, hunger will hit, followed by a snack-attack for anything within reach. Even picked over pastries in the employee lounge or vending machine fare will seem palatable. This binge on junk will spike your calorie count, and with all the wrong ingredients.
By feeding yourself breakfast, you also seem to digest the mindset of healthier habits throughout the day. Studies show those who eat a good breakfast tend to eat more fruits and veggies, and consume an overall healthier diet. Fueled by nutrition, energy levels increase, which allows more physical activity during the day. Skipping breakfast can be associated with low blood sugar levels, less physical activity, and potentially more cravings for sweets. Which cycle do you want to participate in?
Solution: A healthy lifestyle includes fitness and proper nutrition. Eat a nutritious breakfast so you can reduce hunger, and cut calories, later in the day. The stamina provided also allows you to accomplish a more effective workout. Heck, you might even squeeze in an extra visit to the Center for a quick class or extended cycling time.
I’m Not Hungry in the Morning
This excuse often accompanies, “I don’t like breakfast foods.”
Redefine “breakfast of champions.” If changing your morning meal means treating yourself to hot cereal instead of cold, it’s time to expand your choices. Don’t be afraid to indulge in non-traditional breakfast foods. The surprise toy occasionally packaged in cereal doesn’t satisfy your hunger for excitement.
When choosing breakfast foods, consider any items that contain these essentials: whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy, and fruits/vegetables.
Solution: Try this sample breakfast!
Whole-grain bagel or crackers topped with lean slices of meat (toss on some leftovers from dinner) and low-fat cheddar cheese. Option: Toast or heat in microwave.
Glass of 100 percent orange juice
A combination of complex carbs, fiber, protein, and minimal fat will jumpstart your day and keep you satisfied for hours.
Here are some other ideas. Kids often get charged up just thinking about having these for breakfast. Make it fun!
- A mug of low-sodium soup
- Grilled low-fat cheese on whole wheat
- Whole wheat pasta, drizzled with olive oil or healthy spread, topped with chopped broccoli and shredded cheese (Again, leftovers popped in the microwave)
- Plain yogurt topped with fruit; add wheat germ for a little crunch
- A microwaved potato topped with broccoli and sprinkled cheese
- Veggies with mild salsa wrapped in a tortilla
- A whole wheat pita stuffed with hardboiled eggs
Hopefully, these inspire a new morning menu. Enjoy them as a side to cereal or in their own combination.
Cereal: Tried & True
It’s quick, can be eaten dry on the run, and even occasionally substitutes as lunch or dinner on those overloaded days. Make sure your bowl is full of what counts!
Reading food labels is important. However, you need to know how to interpret what you read. Suggestions on what makes a healthy cereal serving of about one cup:
- At least 3 to 5 grams of fiber
- No more than 13 grams of sugar
- Less than 120 calories per serving, especially for those attempting weight loss
Recommended vitamin and mineral count varies based on supplement intake. If you or your child do not take a daily vitamin supplement, choose cereal that compensates for any deficit.
Enjoy with reduced-fat milk and fruit to balance the meal. Nutrient density considers the entire spoonful, not just specifics like calories or sugar per bite. Higher fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals make a more nutrient dense food. Sugars dilute this density.
If your kids or spouse refuse to abandon their sugary favorites, try mixing them with a smarter choice. Like most things in life, cereals often come in both smart and junk versions. For example, mix some plain shredded wheat with frosted ones. Something is better than nothing.
Cereal bars are also an option. However, be sure they have the same nutritional value required from dry cereal. Granola may sound wholesome, but it’s often coated with sugar or honey, and packed with fat and calories. Use this as a condiment rather than by the bowlful or bar.
A note about costs: The supermarket dedicates an entire aisle to cereal. Gimmicks and coupons can make them appealing to kids and adults. Consider trying generic versions. They don’t have the same shelf appeal (brightly colored packaging with cartoon heroes) that entices kids to grab sweet versions. Plus, they can pack the same nutritional value. If you want to splurge, go for organic fruit to top it off.
With the approach of a new season, we fall into a routine again. Summer’s laidback approach is replaced with a faster pace. Schedule time for a breakfast worthy of all you expect from your body. It’s the healthy start of days that makes up a healthy lifestyle.
“Breakfast: Why Is It So Important to Weight Control?” by Katherine Zeratsky at mayoclinic.com.
“Choosing Kids Breakfast Cereals,” by Beth W. Orenstein at everydayhealth.com.
“Healthy Breakfast: Quick, Flexible Options to Grab at Home,” at mayoclinic.com.
“Watch the Sugar Content in Cereals,” by Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky at mayoclinic.com.
Cereal and fruit (introduction photo): www.flickr.com/photos/ralphandjenny/4436764804/
Desk breakfast: www.flickr.com/photos/chris_radcliff/3795784934/
Icelandic breakfast buffet.
Colorful cereal: www.flickr.com/photos/touchinglight/4733010272/