by Emily Pollard
Alright, I get it, the snooze button was too easy to press this morning and now you find yourself rushing out the door. But wait!! Did you remember to eat breakfast? Chances are you’ve heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but are we really making time for it? The International Food Information Council’s Food & Health Survey revealed that 93% of American adults agreed breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet less than half (44%) reported eating breakfast every day.1
Breakfast, as simple as it sounds, literally means ‘break your fast’. Overnight, our body’s metabolic rate slows down to conserve energy for the 8-10 hour fast – breakfast is able to kick-start the body’s metabolism and start burning calories for fuel. Skipping this important meal may leave you starving by mid morning, making you more likely to reach for low nutrient-dense foods and possibly more calories.
Many students may not realize how important breakfast is at controlling your appetite. An article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found breakfasts high in protein led to decreased appetite and increased satiety throughout the morning compared to skipping breakfast.2 Breakfast eaters feel fuller throughout the morning, have reduced temptations of snacking, and tend to eat fewer calories during lunch. The unhealthy dietary habit of skipping breakfast can actually lead to increased weight gain and poor eating habits later on in the day.
Breakfast brings many benefits other than curbing your appetite and boosting your metabolism. Eating breakfast regularly can help install healthy eating habits and provide a higher daily intake of vitamins and minerals compared to skipping breakfast. Daily breakfast consumers have higher intakes of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium.3 These vitamins keep your body functioning properly and reduce the risk of illness and disease.
Not only can breakfast increase the intake of key nutrients, but it can also increase cognitive performance, visual perception, and short-term memory.3 There has also been evidence that breakfast can help improve concentration and focus in the morning.3 Setting aside a couple extra minutes to eat can make a difference in your productivity and performance!
Here are some suggestions to help you make healthy breakfast choices:
- Aim for at least 3 food groups such as whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.
- Aim around 300-500 calories to provide 15-25% of your total daily energy requirements
- If you aim for a protein rich breakfast, compliment with nutrient dense carbohydrates, fruits, or vegetables.2
- If you are short on time, keep it simple and convenient for you such as a high fiber breakfast bar and a fresh piece of fruit
Let’s take a look at what students and faculty enjoy to eat in the morning!
- Lisa Conticello
Senior, Dietetics Major
One fried egg on a whole wheat bagel thin with avocado and ketchup
- Ali Karwoski
Senior, Marketing Major, Division I Athlete
Breakfast smoothie: Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, medium banana, with a splash of orange juice
- Lizzie Duffey
Senior, Health Behavior Science Major, Division I Athlete
Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana slices
- Sandra Baker, EdD, RD, LDN
Assistant Chair, Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition
Plain oatmeal with milk and cinnamon sprinkled on top and a fresh apple
- O’Neil CE, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Hayes D, Jana L, Klinger SE, Stephenson-Martin S. The role of breakfast in health: Definition and criteria for a quality breakfast. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2014; 114:S8-S26.
- Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013; 97:677-688.
- Benefits of Breakfast: Academics. Breakfast First Website. http://breakfastfirst.org/benefits-of-breakfast-health-and-academics/. Published June 24, 2014. Accessed November 7, 2015.