For a Healthy Breakfast, Think Outside the Cereal Box
You’ve heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But in many households, mornings are a mad rush to get everyone out the door to school and work on time. Studies show that as many as eight to 12 percent of all school-aged kids skip breakfast. Teens are even worse — as many as 20 to 30 percent of them have completely given up the morning meal. As for adults, how many of us grab a cup of coffee and call that breakfast?
How skipping breakfast can hurt you
Skipping breakfast may save you a few minutes in the morning, but it hurts you in the long run. Without fueling their bodies with healthy food first thing, kids’ school performance can suffer, since their concentration and energy take a hit. And while teens and adults may skip the morning meal to cut calories, it can actually have the opposite affect — causing weight gain.
Studies have found that adolescents who eat breakfast daily have a lower body mass index than teens that never or rarely eat breakfast. Not eating in the a.m. sets you up for failure later in the day, when you may binge on high-calorie foods as hunger catches up with you. Skipping breakfast may even have a negative impact on heart health in men, according to one study.
But what about those of us who are too rushed or simply not hungry for breakfast? Sleep may be the key. Many of us — kids and adults alike — are not getting enough sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. We’d rather hit the snooze button than get up 15 minutes earlier to eat. Going to bed at an appropriate and consistent time each night can make a difference.
Better breakfast ideas
While any breakfast is better than no breakfast, sugary cereals and toaster pastries aren’t the best choice. Not only are they nutritionally deficient, but they won’t keep you feeling full for very long. Nutritionists say a better option is to aim for a variety of fruits, grains, and protein. Here are some ideas for quick, healthy breakfasts you can eat on the go:
- A breakfast burrito with a whole wheat tortilla, egg whites, low-fat cheese, and salsa
- A breakfast sandwich with egg and turkey bacon on a whole-grain English muffin
- Whole-grain toast or bagel topped with peanut butter or cheese
- A banana dipped in almond butter
- A warm apple sauce and granola parfait
- Oatmeal topped with fresh berries
- A smoothie, like this Apple Cinnamon Smoothie
- Awesome Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
What’s your family’s favorite healthy breakfast? Let us know on Facebook.