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August 15, 2013

Why You Should Eat Breakfast Every Day

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

You've probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but recent reports may have left you wondering about breakfast benefits, especially as kids get ready to back to school.

Breakfast Equals Better Health

In a relatively small study involving 24 normal-weight college students, skipping the morning meal reduced daily calorie consumption for the rest of the day, which may help with weight control in the long run.

However, if you're a middle-aged overweight woman with diabetes, eating breakfast may whittle your waistline. Research published in the Journal of Obesity
found that loading up on calories in the morning worked better for weight loss. More than 1,600 women followed a weight-reduction plan for three months. The group that ate half their allotted daily calories at breakfast lost an average of 12 more pounds than the group that ate half of their calorie "budget" at dinner. 

Weight control isn't the only reason to favor breakfast, however. The morning meal appears to be linked with heart health in men. Harv ard researchers  followed about 27,000 men for 16 years, and found that breakfast skippers were more likely to suffer a heart attack or develop heart disease than men who ate breakfast.

Breakfast Benefits

Children should never start the day with an empty stomach. Hunger pangs are distracting and reduce learning and concentration. A body of scientific research links eating breakfast to better school performance and attendance.

Skipping any meal cuts calories, but so does eating smaller portions, which is a better strategy than missing breakfast. However, if breakfast starts the day off on the wrong foot for you calorie-wise, then skip it.

If you do forgo breakfast, make up for nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber, you miss. A deficiency of certain nutrients may be one of the reasons why breakfast skippers in the Harvard study developed heart disease. 

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

If you're not hungry when you get up, have a glass of milk or juice or a piece of fruit and eat the rest of your meal later.  Here are some more breakfast tips:

• Balance breakfast. Always include protein in the A.M. meal to stay fuller for longer. Protein-packed foods include eggs, yogurt, Hood Milk , and Hood Cottage Cheese .

• Think outside the "breakfast box." If you or your child doesn't like traditional breakfast foods, have any healthy meal, such as a small piece of pizza and a glass of orange juice, or a half a sandwich on whole grain bread and a piece of fruit.

• Sip a smoothie to include produce, protein, calcium and vitamin D. Here's a drink
that packs in one serving each of fruits and vegetables.

• Banana Dogs are fun and portable. Spread a whole grain hot dog roll with peanut butter or sunflower seed butter and place a peeled banana inside. Enjoy with a carton of Greek yogurt or glass of Hood Milk.

• Improve on tried-and true-favorites: Microwave plain instant oatmeal with Hood Milk instead of water to increase the protein content. Top oatmeal with ¼ cup dried fruit and 2 tablespoons chopped almonds for a complete meal in a bowl. 





Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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