The Importance of Breakfast
by Nancy Schmieder
It often amazes me how
people take better care of their cars than their bodies. I have yet
to meet a person who said, “God has a plan as to when my car should
‘die’ and I do not need to worry about it. I don’t need to check or
change the oil, or perform any routine maintenance. And I don’t need
to worry about the type of gasoline I use.” We recognize the
necessity of proper care to get the longest life and best
performance out of our automobiles. When will we realize that proper
care also gives our bodies the longest life and best performance?
Today, a wealth of scientific research has confirmed that most of
the leading causes of death and chronic diseases are preventable. We
have been talking about the lifestyle factors that will help us
improve our health. Adding breakfast to your eating pattern is a
major step to improving your lifestyle. Well, why bother with
breakfast? Food is fuel. Many studies have emphasized the importance
of breakfast. If you want to make the most of your day, fuel your
body early with the right stuff.
ONE STEP AT A TIME: WHAT TO DO
THE IMPORTANCE OF BREAKFAST
Other studies have even linked healthy breakfasts with less chronic
disease, increased longevity and better health. Starting your day
with a good breakfast boosts your energy, increases your attention
span, and heightens your sense of well-being. You’ll be in better
control of your emotions. A good breakfast is one that provides at
least one third of the day’s calories.
Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. A
common reason is that they are not hungry in the morning, which is a
result of eating a full meal late in the evening or late snacking.
When they go to bed, the body is still busy digesting all that food.
Digestion then goes into a slower gear during the hours of sleep and
there is still food in the stomach in the morning. The stomach needs
a rest too. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting a big
breakfast. When you get up in the morning, your glucose or blood
sugar level is at its lowest point in the day. Glucose is the basic
fuel for the brain and central nervous system. A good breakfast will
keep you from being tired and irritable by mid-morning.
The effects of a skipped breakfast are short attention span, lack of
alertness, longer reaction time, low blood sugar, decreased work
productivity. Surely, breakfast is the most important meal of the
day. Take time to eat a large, balanced breakfast. It’s a good
investment of your time. Once you get into the habit of eating
breakfast, you may feel hungry in the morning.
APPLICATION: HOW TO DO IT
Breakfast is a great way to get more fiber into your diet. Plan
wisely for a healthy breakfast. Many prepared cereals have added
refined sugar, often hidden. Read labels carefully to select cereals
prepared without excessive sugar, salt, fat, and additives.
What’s your excuse for not eating breakfast?
• “No time?” How
much time does it take to eat a bowl of cereal? Make toast and
eat it on your way to work. Make your breakfast the night
before. Making time for breakfast is making time to be healthy.
• “Not hungry?” To get started, don’t eat anything after an
early supper. Finish supper by 6:30 p.m.
• “Might gain weight?” Eating breakfast will actually help you
reach and maintain your healthy weight. Your appetite will be
satisfied longer. You’ll be eating food when you can best burn
the calories. You’ll feel great. Eat breakfast.
• You “don’t like breakfast foods?” You don’t have to eat
traditional breakfast foods. You can eat leftovers, or a
sandwich. Any healthy food is fine. Caffeine may mask hunger.
• You “don’t like eating breakfast?” It is in your best interest
to eat breakfast. Take the step. Do the right thing. Eat
Simple, easy ways to
• Start Small. If
your not a breakfast eater, begin with whole wheat toast and/or
a piece of fruit. In a few days, add more food.
• Choose Fruit for Breakfast. Fruit gives you fiber. Fresh fruit
is the best choice. There are many to choose from: oranges,
grapefruits, apples, bananas, grapes, kiwis, mangos, melons,
berries. Eat two servings of fruit every morning. Canned fruit
packed in juice is also a good choice. Add dried fruit to your
• Eat High Fiber Hot Cereal. Hot cereal is the best choice, but
there are several brands of cold cereal on the market that are
high in fiber and low in sugar. Oatmeal is a favorite hot
cereal. Try a seven grain cereal and experiment with different
grains such as millet, brown rice, quinoa, corn grits for a
variety. Try cooking grains in a crock pot overnight and it’s
already the next morning. Or cook up a large batch and re-heat
the next day. Make your own granola. Add a high fiber cereal to
your favorite low fiber cereal. Gradually increase the amount of
the high fiber cereal and decrease the amount of the low fiber
cereal. For example, if you like cornflakes, add Wheat Chex to
the cornflakes. Each morning add a little more Wheat Chex and a
little less Cornflakes.
• Choose Whole Grain Bread. Eat two slices of toast in the
morning or a whole grain bagel. Spread with fruit spread or
applesauce or your favorite nut butter.
• Make Healthy Pancakes or Waffles. Have you ever considered
topping your pancakes or waffles with fruit?
• Instead of scramble eggs try scrambled tofu. You’re in for a
• The sky’s the limit. The only limitation is your imagination.
Make it a priority. Eat breakfast.
High fiber, ready to eat cereals and whole grain breads.
--Choose a cereal
with at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.
that have 5 grams or less of sugar per serving. Remember 4 grams
of sugar=1 teaspoon.
with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per slice.
YOUR CHALLENGE: YOU
CAN DO IT!!
Try this simple experiment. Eat one or two servings of fresh fruit
every morning for the next three weeks. Eat as many different kinds
as you can find.
And remember, Health is by Choice - not by chance! The choice is
yours. You don’t have to be a statistic. By adopting a better diet
and wiser lifestyle habits, you can live longer, feel better, and
enjoy a healthier, more productive life.
Nancy Schmieder works with the Better Living Ministries in Wayland,
NY as a Certified Lifestyle Consultant and Specialist. The Better
Living Ministries is a Community Resource for Lifestyle Education
and Support. Health by Choice is a practical, simple journey on how
to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle. Nancy is a Mother
of five and she lives with her family in Springwater , NY. Her
e-mail address is
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