Breakfast—Is it that important?
After a good night’s sleep of approximately 8 to 12 hours, the body and brain need to be refuelled. Our bodies need food to provide the needed energy for the day. That is why the most important meal of the day is Breakfast!

This month of March will be celebrated as Nutrition month, where we will be embracing the importance of good nutrition in our lives and how we can cultivate good and healthy nutritional habits that can allow us to live prosperous lives.

Today we will be looking at the importance of Breakfast and how it makes a difference. It is said that when you eat breakfast, you are telling your body that there are plenty calories to be had for the day. On the other hand if you skip breakfast the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.

Eating breakfast helps improve mental alertness and physical performance to complete our daily activities. Nutrients missed at breakfast are not recovered in later meals. Eating breakfast is positively associated with improvements in short-term memory. For children, having a healthy balanced breakfast improves their performance at school, their memory and attention span, their grades, and also their psycho-social function and mood.

A study of 467 U.S children published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found:

  • Those who ate breakfast had higher intakes of Vitamins A and E, iron and the B complex vitamins.
  • Higher percentage of breakfast skippers (16% of participants) were less likely to achieve even 2/3 of their recommended daily intake for vitamins and minerals.

Breakfast should provide approximately 20% of your daily energy intake and nutrient needs. A study of 195 children published in the International Journal of Food Science showed that when children consumed 20% of their daily calories at breakfast their physical endurance and performance on a creativity test were much better than when they consumed less than 10% of their recommended calories at breakfast.

Skipping Breakfast has lasting effects

Skipping breakfast is associated with higher body fat and higher BMI’s (which is a method of estimating your body fat levels based on your weight and height) in children and adolescents.

Persons who skip breakfast are less likely to meet their daily recommendations for food groups such as vegetables and fruits. Also persons who skip breakfast have the tendency of making unhealthy food choices by choosing calorie dense foods with are either high in saturated fats, sugar or are processed, which do not offer the body any nutritional value. This is why skipping breakfast can be linked to overweight, obesity and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

 

Eat Breakfast like a King!

The portions and variety of our breakfast should be wholesome and totally satisfying. The quantity should be sufficient enough to provide the body with enough energy to fulfil the task for the day, as we are at our peak in strength and alertness in the morning.

It’s easy sometimes to go for a sugary bowl of cereal or a cup of coffee, but our breakfast should consist of at least one item from each food group.

Breakfast suggestions
  • Johnny cakes/ fry jack with refried beans, fried tomatoes and eggs
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk and fruit
  • A bowl of whole grain cereal like oatmeal with either fresh or dried fruit and a boiled egg
  • Leftover dinner like rice and beans, tossed salad and chicken or pasta with vegetables and fish
How to ensure that we always have breakfast?

Most of us might have the resources to have a satisfying breakfast, however our worst enemy is TIME. Sometimes the morning hours just vanish away and there are so many obligations that we place before our own health and as a result we neglect this meal to our own demise.

Here are a few suggestions to beat the morning rush hour:

  1. Pre pack the meal.
    Breakfast does not have to be structured, we could change it up with what we have available and what is seasonal. Leftovers from the dinner time can be used, and they can even be pre packed from the night before. Sandwiches also can be made ahead of time and stored for a quick pick up.
  2. Plan ahead.
    During the weekend when it is not as hectic as throughout the week, you can prepare or prep your meal or items for the week. This helps to save time and makes it easier in the mornings.
  3. Go to bed early.
    Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Going to bed gives you the opportunity to start your day early without the hustle and bustle, giving you enough time to get breakfast.
  4. Prioritize.
    Even though the mornings can be crazy, prioritize the important things, making breakfast one of them, taking into considerations its endless benefits.

You can also come to the hospital and give me a visit so we can even customize a plan to get yourself back on track and on the road to better health. With small consistent changes, you will be surprised with the exceptional results you can reap with your health. So, until next time, this is your friendly nutritionist, wishing you a great rest of week and reminding you that we only have one body, so let’s take the best care of it as we possibly can. Remember that prevention is better than cure.