When you wake up in the morning, do you jump out of bed or do you hit the snooze button for 45 minutes? Once you’re up, do you eat breakfast? You should! March 7-11 is National School Breakfast Week. The School Nutrition Association is busy (year round) promoting this important meal. Why should you eat breakfast? Because!
STARTING YOUR DAY, THE RIGHT WAY
If your breakfast is a pack of mini-donuts and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar, then you could consider skipping breakfast. If, however, you eat a healthy breakfast it can give you: a diet higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, improved concentration and performance, lower cholesterol levels, and more strength and endurance to engage in physical activity.
A study in Great Britain compared overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast compared to overweight women who ate a bagel. The total calories ingested were the same. The women who ate two eggs five times a week for eight weeks as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced their waist circumference by 83%, reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Win win!
BREAKFAST FOR TEENAGERS
Is it hard to get your teen to eat a good breakfast before school? Do they skip breakfast? You may want to let your teen know that breakfast skippers weigh about five pounds more than teens who eat breakfast regularly. Of the teens who eat breakfast 38% choose ready-to-eat cereal which is often high in sugar.
While any breakfast is better than no breakfast, a person’s best bet is a breakfast that has a mix of foods from the food chart categories (grain, protein, health fats, fruit/veggies and dairy). Try these options:
- Hard-boiled egg and a banana
- Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
- Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
- Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
- Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
- Veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
- Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
- Whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
- Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
If you or your teen are pressed for time and are swinging by a fast food restaurant, try these fast food options:
- Apple slices
- Bagel with low-fat cream cheese
- English muffin egg sandwich
- Fruit and yogurt with granola
- Low fat muffin
- Orange juice
No matter what, try to discourage your children from having a cola and doughnut for breakfast. It causes a spike in blood sugar that doesn’t last. When kids eat sugary, high fat foods for breakfast, their blood sugar drops and they’ll feel famished, cranky and light-headed in a short while. Having a healthy breakfast before school can result in:
- Better concentration
- Better mood
- Better problem-solving abilities
- Healthy body weight
- Improved hand-eye coordination
- Less hunger
For more breakfast ideas, visit the School Nutrition Associations website during National School Breakfast Week.