Breakfast: The First and Best Meal of the Day

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Eating breakfast everyday is one of the top diet tips recommended by scientists and nutritionists. Eating a balanced meal every day, within the first hour of getting out of bed poses a huge challenge to many Americans. Unfortunately, the nation’s failure to attend to the importance of breakfast has led to the overwhelming amount of obese people, heart attack patients, and diabetics. By putting a spotlight on breakfast as the most important meal of the day, we may one day see a more healthy, youthful, and energized population. There are three tips that are predominantly important when considering how to start your day off right. Buying healthy and easy foods, consuming nutrient-packed foods, and keeping this pattern consistent every day will energize you throughout your day and will help you to achieve your long-term health goals.

The first step towards enhancing the most important meal of the day is to buy healthy foods that will contribute towards the consumption of even healthier and more delicious meals. By selecting foods at the grocery store that are easy and quick to prepare, you will soon be looking forward to cooking and eating your breakfast (California Department of Public Health). When walking down the bread aisle, choose 100% whole wheat English Muffins or fiber bread over white bread or sugar coated donuts. Seek out cereals that truly are low-calorie, low-sugar, and high-fiber on the side of the box instead of cereals that claim to be all of these things on the front of the box (Women’s Health Magazine). To compliment your cereal, choose low-fat or non-fat milks rather than whole milks that have unnecessary fats and calories (Healthier Generation). To make mornings even simpler and quicker, put all your ingredients on the same shelf in the refrigerator the night before so you have less to think or worry about when you’re rushing to work.

However, purchasing and preparing food is only the first step. It is how and what we prepare that is the bulk of the issue. It is important to consume a breakfast meal that is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber (Gordon). Eating lean protein, whole-grains, and produce every day for breakfast will kick start your day, your metabolism, and your energy level. “A great breakfast provides a number of food groups, especially those that most Americans fall short on if they don’t include them in the first meal of the day,” says Christen Cupples Cooper, MS, a registered dietitian. Including fiber-rich foods will keep you longer into the day and will prevent you from snacking on unhealthy and processed foods you may find in school or work vending machines (FitSugar). Sugary snacks will make you hungry, faster, and will make you sluggish rather than protein and produce which will leave you feeling full and productive.

Combining these two factors equates to the third and most valuable tip: be consistent in your habits. Eating a healthy breakfast everyday for a week and then returning to old habits will not elicit any long-term results. In addition, buying healthy foods and preparing them in an unhealthy way, such as lathering them in butter or oil, is just as harmful as not eating breakfast at all. Maintaining consistent eating patterns in terms of content and consistency is key to reaping short-term and long-term health benefits. Eating a healthy balanced breakfast everyday will help you to maintain a healthy weight and stay focused, while preventing overeating, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (Shape Magazine). The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that breakfast helps with brain function, attention span, concentration, and memory as well as contributing to the reduction of irritability and tiredness.

Purchasing, consuming, and maintaining a healthy habit of eating a balanced breakfast every morning may seem like a daunting task. Nonetheless, once you try it and are amazed with how energized and full you feel throughout the day, you will be surprised you ever knew anything else. The benefits that come from the healthy habit of starting your day off the right way are endless. Whether you choose to eat egg whites, English muffins, homemade flax-banana muffins, Greek yogurt with berries, healthy cereal with non-fat milk, whole-wheat frozen waffles, fruits and vegetables, or a smoothie, you will be amazed at the effects that a balanced, delicious, and healthy first meal can have on the rest of your day and life.

Sources:
California Department of Public Health: Nutrition Tips- Start the Day Off Right With Breakfast

Women’s Health Magazine: Healthy Breakfast Tips – Loren Chidoni

Alliance for a Healthier Generation: A Healthy Start to the Day

Shape Magazine: 13 Healthy Breakfast Ideas – Jessica Smith

FitSugar: 4 Don’ts for Your Next Breakfast – Leta Shy

Elaine Gordon- Tips to Starting the Day off Right – The Washington Post/ Ottumwa Courrier

Alex Loria

Alex Loria is a graduating senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a Psychology major and is minoring in Professional Writing. In her free time she enjoys doing yoga, kickboxing, boxing, and running. She keeps a yoga and food blog to inspire people to live fun, healthy lives. She also works for lululemon athletica Santa Barbara. She is traveling this summer and hopes to pursue a career in the marketing or entertainment industries.

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