Is Your Breakfast Making or Breaking Your Health?
We’ve all got memories of our grandma reminding us that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” when we tried eating ice cream first thing in the morning or skipping the meal altogether. But now that you’re older, you’ve got breakfast under control, right?
September, aside from being the beginning of the seasonal segue from summer to fall, also happens to be national Better Breakfast Month. While you probably haven’t heard of this month-long holiday before, it’s recognized by many school districts to highlight the importance of a good breakfast for students and the negative impact that not getting one has on academic performance.
Better Breakfast Month is also meant to shed light on the history of the all-important morning meal and teach us about the different foods that are traditional in various parts of the world.
Breakfast got its name because you’re quite literally breaking the fast that began after dinner the night before by eating the first meal of the day when you awaken. Which is why, obviously, breakfast should be treated as a celebration every day, not just during National Breakfast Month. Because it’s the tastiest and prettiest meal of the day (if you’re doing it right).
No matter how much you might love breakfast, some people just can’t manage to work a full-course, five-star meal into their morning schedule. Which then results in you getting hangry (what happens when no breakfast meets morning alarms), and nobody wants that.
The fun part about breakfast though, is that you don’t have to wake up an hour in advance to put together a meal that’s fit for a king. It’s so much simpler than you ever imagined to make your mornings better and brighter with an awesome breakfast.
The Scoop on Better Breakfast Month
While it isn’t known who or when the holiday month was created, the why is crystal clear, and the occasion has been celebrated for years by many people. September isn’t the only breakfast oriented holiday though, it turns out there are at least 15 others, which include February as Hot Breakfast Month.
Although there are no known presidential proclamations referring to it, Better Breakfast Month is celebrated as a national holiday, as are all other known food holidays, and it’s known for drawing awareness to the importance and effectiveness of a well-balanced morning meal.
The occasion is a perfect opportunity to educate yourself on foods from different cultures, and improve your cooking and baking skills. After all, it’s more for fun than anything else.
Don’t Get Half-Baked with Breakfast
Recently, a study conducted by Kellogg surveyed 14,000 people and found that a third of them claimed to have time to fit breakfast into their regular morning routines. This is actually completely understandable, seeing as we all have busy schedules to juggle, especially with the start of the new school year. But busy or not, breakfast is pretty much non-negotiable if you want to be able to function at your best throughout your day.
The fact of the matter though, is that no matter how quick your morning meal may be, something is always better than nothing. And there are countless super easy, super yummy, on-the-go breakfasts that will have you thanking your lucky stars when you start slaying morning meals like never before. Here are a few to check out…
12 Quick and Easy Breakfast Treats
- Apple Sandwiches with Almond Butter and Granola
- English Muffin with Apple and Cheddar
- Overnight Oats in a Near-Empty Jar
- Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Baked Breakfast Cookie
- Peanut Butter, Strawberry, and Banana Quesadillas
- Grab-and-go Cranberry Granola Bars
- Love Toast
- Yogurt on a Stick
- Egg Muffins
- Skinny Omelet Burritos
- Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake
- Easy Egg-White Omelet
While it may seem like a lot of work to have to take time to prepare any kind of breakfast, especially if you’ve got a family to cook for as well, there’s no doubt that once you start to do it, you’ll refuse to go back to your former breakfast-free ways.
You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
Your breakfast habits have a bigger effect on you than you might realize. Multiple studies have come to the unanimous conclusion that those who eat breakfast are bound to be healthier than those who skip it. The people who take the time to chow down in the morning are actually less likely than those who go without breakfast to become overweight or obese.
The diets of 4,218 adults were examined by The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), and results showed that the breakfast eaters from the group (particularly women) most commonly had a BMI below 25. The same study also showed that having a hearty meal in the morning cuts down on hunger throughout the day, thus eliminating unnecessary grazing.
Physical activity also went up in those who ate breakfast, due to the energy that is given to them by a meal in their morning routine. In addition to this energetic boost, there also tends to be a metabolic one as well. Which would be why those who sprung for breakfast tended to have a lower BMI than those who skipped it.
When you’re sleeping, your metabolism slows and your brain’s glucose supply depletes. So getting the fiber, protein and beneficial sugars that you need in your breakfast gives your whole body a “good morning” kick-start.
Pig in a Blanket
Believe it or not, the food you eat when you wake up can greatly affect how well you sleep at night. And chances are you’re willing to do just about anything to improve your current sleep habits and cycles, or keep them just the way they are.
Sleep therapist, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan suggests a simple handful of almonds and dates in the morning is the perfect breakfast snack for getting better sleep. Ramlakhan says that this combo contains the ideal amount of carbs, protein, and fat to fire up your groggy morning metabolism.
Your brain picks up on more than you might think. If you skip breakfast, your brain thinks that it’s living in famine and you are unable to eat. It then produces stress hormones, which are anything but productive when you’re trying to rest. The calories in the handful of nuts and fruit can help your body produce melatonin (the hormone that promotes sleep) later on at night.
The restful sleep that you crave and deserve doesn’t come easily in most cases, and will often need a push. And what better push is there than a healthy, tasty breakfast? But your wholesome, sleep-granting breakfasts don’t have to be all nuts every day.
Foods like cherries, rice, hummus, and fish have all been shown to have positive effects on sleep. But the list doesn’t stop there. Some more foods that are good for your sleep (and for a bunch of other healthful reasons, too) include:
- Sweet Potatoes: Contain potassium, which can relax your muscles, as well as complex carbohydrates, which are known to support restful sleep.
- Bananas: Rich in vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium.
- Turkey: Ever wondered why you feel so tired after Thanksgiving bingeing? That’s thanks to tryptophan, and turkey is chock full of the stuff.
- Walnuts: Packed with melatonin, serotonin, and tryptophan, as well as magnesium.
- Pineapple: Few foods are as full of sleep-promoting melatonin as the pineapple, and even fewer are as tasty.
- Lettuce: This leafy green has been used for years as a natural treatment for insomnia because it’s loaded with lactucarium.
- Honey: Contains raw sugar, and allows tryptophan to travel freely through the brain.
While these foods can help you sleep, you shouldn’t eat anything right before turning in for the night. Instead, try one of these sleep-promoting foods as an after-dinner snack, making sure to imbibe at least an hour before lights out.
Eating to Lose
What you eat for breakfast can have great effects on multiple aspects of your life. Knowing what to eat for your morning meal is an insanely valuable thing to learn. You can even change your breakfast plan to get a head start on losing a few pounds.
The first and foremost fact when it comes to detailing your morning meal to promote weight loss is to focus on kick-starting your metabolism. Since your metabolism slows down while you sleep, it takes a little push to get moving for the day. You can do this by making sure that your breakfast is rich in protein and fiber.
By putting together a meal that’s both healthy and crave-worthy, you’re also assisting yourself in avoiding the dreaded mid-morning binge, which can be the difference between gaining and losing.
Your protein and fiber-rich breakfast is going to keep you fuller for longer than one that’s full of empty calories and sugars. Or even worse, not eating a morning meal at all. And even though you’ve got a health-conscious meal put together now, portion size is still key. Your new, healthy take on breakfast would be much more than the size you’d go by for say, coffee and a donut.
Which brings us to avoiding breakfast foods which are high in sugar and low in those important things like fiber and protein (like most cereals).
Keeping all of these things in mind, you should be able to use your breakfast knowledge for just about anything!