The Benefits of Breakfast

For many people, skipping meals (especially breakfast) is part of a normal routine. Some people say they just don’t like eating breakfast or they don’t have time. While others may think that by skipping breakfast, they are cutting calories and cutting calories leads to weight loss… right?
Well, sort of. While cutting back on your calories will help to lose weight, skipping an entire meal is not exactly the best way to go about it. A more effective way to cut out additional calories would be to reduce your caloric intake by 100-200 calories per meal. That way, you are still eating on a regular basis, just fewer calories per meal.
Breakfast is just that… breaking the fast. When you have not eaten anything for an extended period of time, like when you are sleeping, your body goes into a fasting state where your metabolism slows down. Breakfast provides your body with much needed energy after this fasting period and will give your metabolism a little kick-start to the day.
Not just any breakfast will provide this beneficial effect. If you consume a breakfast too high in simple carbohydrates or sugars (white bread products, sugary cereals, excess juice, etc.) your body will get a brief spurt of energy but then you are very likely to feel a mid morning crash a couple hours later. You will become hungry too soon, and potentially consume more calories at the next meal or snack than you would have had you eaten a well-balanced breakfast.
A few examples of a well-balanced breakfast include:
Option 1
• ¾ cup high fiber dry cereal (shredded wheat, bran flakes, etc.) topped with ½ cup berries or ½ banana
• 8 ounces low-fat milk
Option 2
• Hard-boiled egg
• 1 cup cooked oatmeal with 1 tablespoon of raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon
Option 3
• 2 tablespoons peanut butter on 2 slices 100% whole-wheat toast or whole wheat English muffin
• Medium apple
Option 4
• 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt topped with 1 tablespoon walnuts and 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen fruit
Option 5
• 1 “fried egg” (use cooking spray) sandwich using whole grain English muffin and 1 slice of cheese
• ½ cup fruit or 6 ounces of 100% fruit juice

I truly feel that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Be sure to start your day off right with a well balanced breakfast and if you have kids, be sure that they start their day off right as well! School is right around the corner, and studies clearly show that children who eat breakfast perform better in school than those who don’t.
If you would like to schedule a counseling session with a registered dietitian at Noble Hospital, please call 413-568-2811 ex: 5671 for more information.

Allison Walker RD,LDN, is the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Noble Hospital

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