We’ve all heard the age-old adage “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Well, research proves this to be true indeed.
The word breakfast literally means “breaking-the-fast,” allowing your body to refuel after being without food throughout the night, often up to 12 hours. This fuel will allow our bodies to replenish missing nutrients and provide the kick start we need to power up for our day.
One of the finest benefits of breakfast is the amount of energy it provides; energy that sustains us into the late morning. Breakfast also provides energy throughout the day needed for better concentration and problem solving skills. It can also provide help with memory as well as endurance and strength.
This energy helps children and adults with their performance at school and work.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, up to 12 percent of children regularly skip breakfast before school for either financial reasons or a lack of time in the morning. Research shows students who eat breakfast before school have better school scores and improved attention. Students also tend to be on their best behavior and are more alert after a balanced breakfast.
The same can be said about working adults. Breakfast provides the benefit of being less distracted and more productive. It also contributes to a longer attention span.
Breakfast not only supplies you with energy for the day, it replenishes blood sugar. Therefore, the foods we choose for breakfast are the first things that refuel our brain and body, so choose wisely. It is important to include carbohydrates, protein and fiber daily in your breakfast choices.
Breakfast also reduces the risk of health-related diseases since adequate nutrition decreases the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Breakfast eaters tend to indulge in less fat than those who skip breakfast, contributing to heart disease.
For parents to maintain healthy breakfast habits and pass them onto their children, allow kids to plan the morning meal and use this time connect and engage with them during the preparation process.
To encourage kids to eat breakfast, consider using phrases such as “Eating breakfast will help you have the energy to play outside today” or “Breakfast will help you grow strong.”
Allow children to choose toppings for cereals such as fruit, granola, nuts or raisins. Visit the website extenstion.uga.edu for fun combinations of toppings and other delicious breakfast ideas.
With summer approaching, plan a few “breakfast picnics” for the kids. This could be at the park, lake, beach or in your living room. Allow kids to plan and pack the breakfast items and use that as an opportunity to teach them about healthy foods.
Establishing healthy breakfast eating patterns proves to be beneficial for a lifetime.
Editor’s note: The University of Georgia and Clemson University Extension offices contributed.
Carin Booth is the family and consumer sciences agent at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office in Hall County. She can be reached at 770-535-8293 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column runs on a monthly basis.