Why is breakfast important?

By: Carrie Bishop, University of Maryland Health Center, Dietetic Intern

Are you one of those people who hit the snooze button one too many times in the morning and don’t have time for breakfast?

My favorite breakfast - whole wheat toast with peanut butter, granny smith apple, and a cheese stick

My favorite breakfast
Whole wheat toast with peanut butter, granny smith apple, and a cheese stick

Research shows that 18% of Americans 2 years of age and older habitually skip breakfast. But, eating breakfast is critically important.

Why is Breakfast Important?

Eating a well-balanced breakfast gives your body the energy it needs after fasting for several hours while you slept. Your brain needs glucose as its primary energy source, but if you don’t eat anything you are putting yourself at a mental disadvantage.

People who eat breakfast are able to concentrate better, work more efficiently, and have better moods compared to those who don’t.

Another important benefit of eating breakfast is healthy weight management. I know if I don’t make time for breakfast, I’ll feel hungry the rest of the day and end up snacking instead of eating balanced meals.

Breakfast prevents you from being hungry later in the day and overeating.

Often when you are tired or overly hungry, you are more likely to make poor food choices. When you deprive your body of breakfast, you decrease your satiety signals meaning that you won’t be able to tell when you are full when you eat.

Eating breakfast helps regulate your hunger throughout the day and you won’t consume as many calories from unhealthy food sources.

Finally, if you eat breakfast shortly after you wake up, it’s essentially jumpstarting your metabolism for the day which helps you to start burning calories sooner.

How to Build a Healthy Breakfast

When you’re choosing your breakfast, aim for one that has a good source of fiber as well as protein. It’s also important to have a balance between carbohydrates (preferably whole grain or fruits) and a healthy source of fat (unsaturated fats).

Healthy and balanced breakfast ideas:

  • Piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter and an apple or banana
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
  • Oatmeal with dried fruit/chopped nuts and a piece of cheese
  • Omelette with low-fat cheese and vegetables along with a piece of whole grain toast
  • Yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and nuts along with an English muffin

It’s easy to find these foods in campus dining halls and shops. In fact, the diners have delicious breakfast options offered such as scrambled eggs and toast from 7:30-10:30am every week day.

Here are a few more healthy breakfast ideas and recipes from College Fed and WebMD.

For more information on eating breakfast or for recipe ideas sign up for a FREE diet analysis!

Share with us! What are your tips for making sure you have time for breakfast? What are some of your favorite healthy breakfast options?

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