A nutritionally sound breakfast is still the most important meal

Find how how breakfast can change the way you eat during the day
Eating in the morning is important for everyone, but evidence supports the importance of it even more for children than it does for adults.

A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1998) resulted in less attention among those children who did not eat breakfast vs. those who did. Kids who consume breakfast have better test scores and lower tardiness and absenteeism than those who skip breakfast.

With adults, the results are unclear. Depending on the type of tests given to the subjects, improvement in cognitive ability or reaction time may or may not be seen.

However, since being overweight is such a problem in this country and our society thrives on diet after diet, eating breakfast could circumvent an otherwise caloric disaster.

Eating breakfast can ward off that starving feeling by lunchtime, which will result in less overeating. The likelihood of consuming sweets is also lessened when eating regular meals and snacks.

Hunger is a powerful drive; more powerful than the discipline and willpower we may have to resist temptation. That hunger is satiated with fat or sugar not the low fat meal that you had planned so reaching for the cookies, cake, doughnuts or chips is much more likely when you have deprived yourself of a good breakfast.

Other studies have shown that those who consume breakfast have better strength and endurance in the later part of the morning, and an improved attitude toward school or work, compared to those who skip breakfast. Not all studies show these results, but the different methodologies for testing and different subjects may account for this variability.

A workout and breakfast

If you exercise first thing in the morning, eating a large breakfast may impede your workout since the digestion of that food requires blood flow to the gastrointestinal system. But your contracting muscles require blood flow as well.

Eating a large breakfast can cause a feeling of nausea as your blood flow is diverted away from the gastrointestinal system to the contracting muscles. However, eating nothing is not a good idea either. Having a small snack such as half a bagel, a slice of toast, a piece of fruit or a glass of juice can boost your blood sugar a bit, allowing more endurance, stamina and motivation for the workout. After your workout, replacing the carbohydrates that were used in the workout is most important within the first couple of hours, as that is the time that the muscles are most receptive to this carbohydrate replacement.

If, when you finish your workout, youre just not hungry and the thought of eating solid food does not interest you at all, liquids will work. A couple of glasses of juice or milk, or a sports drink that contains a high level of carbs and some protein, can replace the glycogen as well as any solid food.

Making good choices

Cereal is a great way to start out your day on the right, nutritious note. But not just any cereal. Some contain more than one-third sugar with most of the ingredients listed including some type of refined flour that have vitamin or mineral additions. A serving of whole grain cereal contains calcium (if consumed with milk), several B vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. The recommended daily amount of fiber is 25-35 grams. Cereal that provides 4-5 grams of fiber per serving is a good source.

Breakfast on the run

Of the approximate 83 percent of Americans who do consume breakfast, one-third eats at fast food restaurants. There's a lot more to these breakfast delights than meets the eye.

Muffins are not what they used to be! Theyve grown in size considerably! This means the sugar, fat and calories have also substantially increased. Their caloric content may be in the 300-600 calorie range while a whopping 10-25 grams of fat and 5-10 teaspoons of sugar may be present in the muffin. This amount of fat may be someones entire daily recommended intake! No doughnuts are a really good choice. If you must have one of these deep fried delights, glazed or sugar-raised yeast doughnuts are far better than cake doughnuts.

Bagels have a healthy appeal, and they are far better than things like doughnuts, sausage biscuits or chicken and gravy biscuits. However, unless they are multi-grain bagels, you are basically consuming three to five slices of one-ounce white bread.

Breakfast sandwiches have surged with popularity because you're getting everything in one, inexpensive, hand-held breakfast. However, that everything sometimes includes not just one poor food choice, but a combination of many pastry, egg and sausage, for example. Often, the fat and calories in some of these breakfast sandwiches exceeds that of what is in a cheeseburger and fries.

Cinnamon rolls, like muffins, have gained popularity. The store-bought, break-the-can kind of cinnamon rolls are lighter than the ones available fast food restaurants. Fast food cinnamon rolls can cost you in the neighborhood of 530 calories and 22 grams of fat.

When French toast is made at home, it can be very nutritious, low fat and great tasting. Unfortunately, the fast food version usually has more sugar-coating and close to half of a daily allotment of saturated fat.

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