Most of us have all heard about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. A nourishing breakfast provides the energy and nutrients we need to tackle the day. To my surprise, many of my clients often tell me they skip breakfast. Common reasons I hear include “I don’t like breakfast food,” “I don’t have time for it” and “I’m just not hungry.”
I started my private nutrition practice 7 years ago before I had children. Back then I was not as empathetic as I am now regarding the early morning rush-to-get-out-of-the house hours. Fast forward three young kids later and I understand that just getting your kids to eat their breakfast is a challenge. It is important to eat a healthy breakfast not only for your own health, but also to set a good example for your children.
Research indicates that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less, have a better attention span and more abundant energy. Longer-term, breakfast eaters also have a decreased rate of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. For example, according to a research of 3,000 people conducted by Harvard Medical School, obesity and rates of insulin resistance (which leads to diabetes) were as much as 50% lower in breakfast eaters than non-breakfast eaters. This makes sense since breakfast skippers often became too ravenous when it is finally to eat at lunchtime and make poor food choices. And, less meals means less chance of fitting in the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
When you break it down, breakfast literally means “breaking the fast.” We haven’t eaten since the night before, which is often dinner 10-12 hours earlier. It is vital to jump start our metabolism so it does not go into “fight” mode and slow down to conserve energy which may also lead to weight gain. A healthy metabolism leads to good digestion, breathing, and blood circulation.
Breakfast foods can be any foods you enjoy: sautéed vegetables, lean meats/seafood, whole grains such as barley or quinoa, and raw vegetables with hummus or bean dip all make great breakfast choices.