Breakfast – A Matter of Habit
Starting the Day Energized
Breakfast is an essential meal and we shouldn’t give it up altogether. In case you were wondering why – it helps raise the concentration level and reduces hunger at later hours. Breakfast is usually a light meal eaten in the morning and plays an important part in maintaining body weight, as it causes lower consumption of carbohydrates and fats throughout the day.
Breakfast is an important source of dietary fiber, and eating cereals contributes further to fiber intake. Many studies show a significant increase in calcium intake among children and adolescents who make a point of having breakfast, as well as a significantly high intake of essential vitamins and minerals among breakfast eaters (vitamins A and C, zinc and iron). It is, therefore, recommended to include dairy products and cereals at breakfast.
So What Do we Eat?
A sensible breakfast includes milk with cereals or yogurt with granola without any added sugar and artificial colorings, or two slices of whole wheat bread with 5% fat cheese and a glass of milk. This is a satisfying meal to start the day with.
You don’t want to eat cakes or sweets in the morning, as they will only make you feel tired during the day. Later on in the day, you are well advised to have a light 10am meal just to keep you going until lunch. The 10am meal may include a fruit or yogurt with fruit.
People always ask me about the recommended caloric value of an average breakfast, a value which varies according to demographic and economic parameters in different parts of the world. In general, the recommendation is to eat between 5-6 meals a day, when lunch including the highest amount of calories. Accordingly, breakfast should not include more than 300-400 calories.
When opting to spread the calories throughout the day, we make a smart choice: Beyond maintaining a set caloric framework and preventing a sense of hunger, it has also been found that a person who eats many meals a day and includes breakfast in the daily menu, will typically diversify and enrich this menu to a large extent.
It has been established that people who eat a nutritious breakfast, will later on in the day eat more vegetables, proteins and grains, thereby providing their body with more calcium, minerals, vitamins and fiber than people who have skip this important meal and need an immediate recharge of batteries in the form of sweet, fatty snacks later in the day.
Helps to Improve Memory and Learning Capabilities.
Studies show that students who have breakfast improve academic achievements: They improve their short-term memory, reading ability and arithmetic calculation. Other studies showed improvement in a wide range of concentration and learning abilities, including problem-solving skills and creativity.
I believe that these findings apply to adults as well. The improvement in learning and memory functions after eating breakfast may well be connected to blood glucose level available to the central nervous system. Confirmation of this assumption lies in studies showing that the decrease in learning and memory ability in the morning is slower when breakfast includes cereals with low glycemic index and a complete protein that provide a more regular glucose level of in the blood.
Making Breakfast a Habit
It is important to point out that people who can’t eat breakfast (and I hear this a lot), should try harder to make the breakfast habit. In the end, everything is a matter of practice, and even the first week proves a bit difficult, I’m sure that after a while it will become a routine.
Allow yourself to indulge every once in a while – it is definitely important, but remember to store this information in a pull-out drawer..