With mounting evidence in favor of consuming breakfast, it is becoming clearer that breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day.
Studies examining eating habits suggest that the regular consumption of breakfast can:
- Reduce risk of obesity and high cholesterol.
- Decrease insulin resistance (a condition that increases risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
- Improve performance on memory-related tasks.
- Minimize impulsive snacking and overeating at other meals.
- Increase intake of essential nutrients that are rarely replenished by other meals of the day.
- Enhance school performance in children and young adults.
Think of breakfast as the perfect opportunity to start accumulating the minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables and three servings of whole grains recommended for optimal health.
The National Academy of Sciences recommends adults consume 21 to 38 grams of fiber a day. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are the best sources of dietary fiber. High-fiber foods have the added benefit of warding off mid-morning snack attacks by creating a feeling of fullness. Likewise, adding some protein – such as seafood, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, egg or egg substitute – can also aid in suppressing hunger.
A lack of appetite in the morning may be the result of a large meal or snack consumed the night before. Perk up your morning appetite by eating lighter – and earlier – in the evenings. Try blending a mixture of either low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt or soy milk with fruit, 100 percent fruit juice and your favorite spices or flavor extract. Oat bran, wheat germ or ground flax seed can be added for extra fiber.
So start your day the healthy way by fueling up with a nutritious breakfast!
By Harvard Health Publications, August 2006