Eggs, cereal and pancakes are at the top of the list of breakfast essentials. Breakfast foods contain a variety of important minerals and nutrients, making it a great way to start the day. Breakfast also kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day and  gives you the energy you need to get things done. 

By eating breakfast, you’re essentially breaking a fast. The time between your last pre-bed meal and waking up is the typically the longest stretch of time your body goes without food. Eating within two hours of waking up can impact how levels of blood sugar and insulin are regulated for the remainder of the day. 

Nearly 25 percent of Americans skip breakfast every day as they feel they don’t have enough time or are just too busy to eat. The truth is, your body needs food long before lunchtime. Skipping breakfast causes your body and brain to run on empty. A mix of carbs, protein, fiber and healthy fats is your best mix to get you through to that next meal.

Carbs will give you energy right away. Protein will give you energy later on. Fiber keeps you feeling full. Besides, the longer you put off eating breakfast, the hungrier you’ll be when you actually sit down to eat. Filling yourself up with unhealthy snacks in an attempt to satisfy your hunger will cause your glucose to rise and fall, creating unsteady energy levels and the potential for more overeating.

Eating breakfast also helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Those who tend to skip breakfast are at risk for overeating which related to unintended weight gain. Weight gain can lead to high cholesterol and blood pressure issues. Studies have shown that those that eat their a.m. bowl of oats have lower incidences of heart disease than those that skip. Also, a bowl of oatmeal helps improve memorization and the ability to absorb information. That’s a win-win.  

A February 2020 study by Cleveland Clinic showed teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 who ate breakfast before school got better grades than students who skipped breakfast. Young kids and teenagers benefit from eating breakfast for the same reasons as adults; increased energy, improved concentration and better grades.

Though it may take extra time and/or planning, eating a nutritious breakfast today can help build healthy eating habits to last a lifetime. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Sandy Youngquist, CDM, CFPP, is Culinary Services Supervisor, Benedictine Living Community of Wahpeton. For more information about Benedictine Home Health (in-home care), call her at 701-642-6667.

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