Read on for information about the importance of breakfast, and recipes for a more productive and energy-filled day.
Is breakfast really that important?
- Research by the No Kid Hungry Initiative reports that students who eat breakfast on a regular basis average 18% better on math scores, have better attendance records, and are 20% more likely to graduate high school.
- Evidence from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shows that the cereals we often eat for breakfast provide us with more fiber, iron, folic acid, and zinc, and less fat, sodium, sugar, and cholesterol than the nutrients we get in other foods.
- Research shows that when you eat breakfast, you are less likely to be overweight. Another study found that people who regularly skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be overweight. Scientists believe that this is because breakfast helps regulate your appetite, and positively influences calorie burn rates.
- The Journal of Adolescent Health reports that adolescents who eat breakfast are as much as five times more likely to get the right amount of nutrients than adolescents who skip breakfast.
What a better breakfast looks like
Make sure that your breakfast includes healthy sources of protein and carbohydrates to improve concentration and alertness throughout the day. Include foods with fiber, especially fresh fruit or vegetables (many of which also have phytonutrients and health-preserving antioxidants).
While some ideas for fast and easy breakfasts are included below, be aware that not all fast breakfasts are good for your family. The high sugar content of many sweet breakfasts, such as breakfast pastries, muffins, donuts, breakfast cereal bars, and many boxed cereals have enough sweeteners in them to interfere with your blood sugar levels. This can result in a short burst of energy followed by a blood sugar drop, leaving you lethargic, irritable and fuzzy-brained.
Recipes for a better breakfast
- A whole grain toaster waffle with peanut butter
- Plain yogurt with fruit
- A fruit smoothie with yogurt, with a spoonful of flaxseed flour, wheat germ, or chia seeds for fiber
- A meat and cheese sandwich with lettuce or sliced cucumber
- A bowl of cereal that has less than five grams of sugar and three or more grams of fiber per serving (check the label on the cereal box, or use this list of healthier boxed cereals)
If you have an easy-to-prepare healthy breakfast recipe, use the comments field below to share. And don't forget that when you save money on prescriptions by using your free FamilyWize card at the pharmacy, you'll have more to spend at the grocery store!