by Virginia B. Hargrove
The alarm clock blared and I hit the snooze button.
By the time it went off again, I had time to toss on clothes, brush my teeth and dash out the door with barely enough time to catch the bus.
"Sit down and eat your breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day," my mom would encourage me in that special tone only moms have...morning after morning.
Back then I thought she was nagging. It turns out that mom really did know best.
Eating breakfast can improve your day and your life long-term. Research consistently reminds us of the benefits of a good meal every morning.
- Breakfast improves your mood: Are you a bit snippy in the morning? Eating breakfast can lift your spirits. Studies show that people who don't eat breakfast are more tired and irritable.
- Breakfast gets your brain going: A good breakfast gives your child an advantage at school. Students who ate breakfast have been found to be significantly more attentive in the classroom, earn higher grades in math, and have significantly fewer behavioral and emotional problems.
- Breakfast helps keeps you thin: Do you skip breakfast to shed pounds? Research links skipping breakfast with developing obesity. Studies show that overweight adults and teens are less likely to eat in the morning than their thinner peers.
- Breakfast gives you energy: A healthy breakfast refuels you so you can attack the day. The new glycogen stored in your liver supplies your muscles for immediate energy. In studies, skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.
- Breakfast improves your diet -- all day: When you eat breakfast, you tend to eat a healthier diet overall. Folks who skip this meal are more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, as well. Studies show that kids and teens who skip breakfast don't make up for the lost nutrients at other meals.
If you're not convinced yet, give the above tips a try. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You and your family shouldn't skip it.
We all have those mornings where nothing seems to work or cooperate. When these challenging moments arise, it doesn't seem like you can squeeze a meal in and get out the door in time. We asked our Pregnancy.org members what they do to keep breakfast a priority. Here's how they busted five "no time for breakfast" excuses.
"The Kid-Rush Makes It Impossible"
A sit-down breakfast tends to take second place to getting a few more minutes of sleep or dealing with last minute emergencies. You can still have a nutritious meal. Pack a sack breakfast the night before or consider enrolling your children in a school breakfast program. How do our members solve the crazy morning breakfast challenge?
Mandy says, "Wow! We're really bad sometimes. We live quite a distance from school and some mornings it's just a nightmare getting my husband and kids out of bed. It's not unusual for us all to have a zip-lock bag containing a cheese sandwich, an apple and a banana to eat in the car on the way. I think it's healthier than sugar packed cereal. The cheese is good for protein to keep them full until morning tea."
"I'm Not a Morning Person"
Some of us firmly believe mornings would be much more pleasant if they just happened later in the day. Do you find yourself in a murky daze from the time the alarm clock goes off until you stumble out the door...without breakfast? What do other Pregnancy.org members do to get the day off to a healthy start?
TMarie says, "I'm not a mother yet, so I don't have to worry about getting the kids ready and fed, but I am NOT a morning person, so lately I started making instant oatmeal for breakfast. I buy one of the low sugar/high fiber instant oatmeal in individual packets -- add some water or milk, zap in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, add cinnamon and whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. So simple, easy and keeps me full until lunch!"
"I'm Running Late...Again"
Even when that important meal is a priority, things can happen that derail even the best laid plans -- the power goes out, the baby's shoe that was on his foot three minutes ago has disappeared into a mysterious void, or your child just remembered a school project due today. When emergencies spring up, our members hurried up breakfast.
Samantha says, "My kids love shakes. Milk, yogurt, any fruit, ice and even spinach, mix it all up in two minutes in a blender and there's a yummy healthy breakfast!"
You might be running so late that two minutes is too long! Our members relied on these take-along breakfasts as they're rushing out the door.
- Bonita likes toast with peanut butter on it or dry cereal in a baggy.
- Ashley brings along an apple, banana, and some granola in a bag to eat in the car.
- Dawn likes a protein bar and maybe a piece of fruit.
"I'm Trying to Lose Weight"
Skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity studies show. An early morning meal helps you lose weight by reducing hunger, encouraging healthier food choices all day long and increasing activity. Our members agree.
Katherine says, "I used to skip breakfast to keep from eating as many calories. I'd usually have a donut or hit the vending machine mid-morning. Now I have yogurt and fruit before I leave home and find I'm dropping pounds and eating less junk in the mornings, but also I'm not as starving at lunch and dinner."
"Breakfast Just Makes Me Hungrier"
You eat breakfast and you're starving at 10 a.m. Our fitness expert, Alexandra Allred says this is a good thing. It means your metabolism has kicked in. She also suggests that to battle morning hunger that your breakfast contain a complex carbohydrate like whole grains or fruit and a protein like yogurt or an egg.
Rachel says, "Most mornings I eat yogurt, buttered toast with honey and a cup of coffee. This provides protein for my brain to survive until lunch. One cup of coffee per day typically is enough to jump-start my day and keep my brain alert when combined with food."
How do you make a healthy breakfast part of your family's daily routine? Share your tips!