Why Is Breakfast So Important?

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What’s your morning routine like? Does it include breakfast? Or, do you talk yourself out of it?

According to Statistics Canada, 10% of Canadians skip breakfast. In the US, the picture is much the same.

A 2011 study conducted by market research firm, NDP Group, revealed that 1 out of 10, or 31 million US consumers, do NOT begin their day with breakfast.

Just for a moment, think of what would happen if you gave breakfast a chance – if you started everyday with a healthy breakfast?

Here are five great reasons to eat a healthy breakfast:

1. Feel More Energized: Eating a breakfast high in fibre and whole-grains can increase your energy throughout the day. Whole grains like oats work to balance your blood sugar levels so that you avoid a late morning drain and rush for something sweet like a muffin or donuts.

2. Improve Your Brain Power: Eating breakfast can help you to think more clearly, make better decisions, and be more productive. It can also improve your mood. That’s because when we eat, we supply our brain with glucose. This is especially critical in the morning, since when we awaken, we break the ‘fast’ during sleep. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition agrees. In a 1998 report entitled Breakfast and Cognition: an Integrative Summary, it noted that ‘blood glucose plays a role in cognitive function’, and concluded that ‘omitting breakfast interferes with cognition and learning’.

3.  Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease: Skipping breakfast has been linked to increased bad cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.  Over a period of many years, you put yourself at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.  

4.  Get More Nutrients: Starting your day with a healthy breakfast ensures that you get more nutrients.  According to experts, one fourth of our daily nutrients should ideally come from the morning meal.  If you skip it, you lose out on essential nutrients, and it’s unlikely that you’ll make them up later in the day.  Continue to skip breakfast and your health is compromised. 

The journal of Nutrition Research and Practice concluded that “eating breakfast regularly enhances diet quality”.  On the other hand, “skipping breakfast can lead to inadequate nutrient intake and imbalanced macronutrient composition”.

5.  Maintain a Healthy Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight rests not on eating less, but on eating more of the right types of foods (whole foods).  Eating a healthy breakfast fires up your metabolism and can help you to both lose weight and maintain your current weight.

The Canadian Cancer Society reminds us that “skipping a meal – especially breakfast – can lead to overeating throughout the day.  And when you’re hungry, it’s hard to make healthy choices”.  It’s overeating, not simply eating, that leads to obesity.

A FEW IDEAS TO GET YOUR DAY GOING

(100%) Whole-grain Cereal

Start with a base (choose one):

Hot: cooked (choose 1 or more and create your own custom blend): steel-cut oats; large rolled flakes of oat, kamut, spelt; or try, millet, buckwheat, or quinoa.

Cold: ready-to-eat: make sure it’s higher quality, minimally processed, with 8g of sugar or less; e.g. try muesli, spelt flakes or sprouted grains, or low sugar granola; look for fruit juice sweetened vs. sugar sweetened.

Add:
Low-fat milk, plain yogurt, or kefir

Top with:
Ground flax, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds; fresh or dried fruit (blueberries or raspberries are divine, so are chopped dates, apricots, or raisins); a sprinkling of cinnamon or raw cacao is nice.

Try this breakfast of quinoa with fruit

Protein Smoothie

Start with a base (choose one):

• Greek Yogurt (low-fat, plain) – sweeten with a natural sweetener like stevia, or raw honey

• Protein Powder (try a high quality Whey or Hemp protein)

Add:
ground flax, chia seeds; fresh or frozen fruit: (e.g. banana, sliced strawberries, unsweetened blueberries, cherries)

Try this Blueberry Smoothie

Twist on Toast

Sprouted, 100% Whole-Grain Base (choose one):

• Biscuit: cut in half and toasted

• Two slices of bread, toasted

Spread w/2Tbsp’s of nut or seed butter (e.g. try almond, peanut, cashew, pumpkin or sunflower), and top with sliced banana, apple, or pear; finish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon.

Custom Yogurt Bowls:

Base:
Mix ¾ cup of plain (low-fat) Greek yogurt with a little stevia, raw honey, or organic agave (if you need a bit of sweetness in your life)

Add: fresh fruit of your choice: e.g. pomegranate seeds, pineapple, or blueberries

Top with (choose one or more): chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, shredded coconut (unsweetened, of course)

Three Ways with Eggs (at Home or On-The-Go)

Flat Omelette (resembles a pancake, but folded in half lengthwise)
Scrambled (perfect for enjoying in a whole-grain tortilla)
Mini Frittatas* (travel well)

Base:
One whole egg + 3-4 egg whites beaten & seasoned with sea salt & ground pepper

Filling: choose 2 or 3 of your favourite fillings: e.g.: lightly sautéed green, red, orange, or yellow pepper, mushrooms, leeks, spinach, 1 oz of fresh cheese (e.g. goat or feta)

Enjoy with a sprouted, 100% whole-grain biscuit or a slice of toast with coconut butter.

* Double or triple egg mixture base and beat well; pour into muffin pans half-way, add desired filling, top off with more egg mixture, and bake at 350 F oven until golden brown.

Let’s not forget traditional Boiled Eggs. They’re so easy to prepare the night before. Just store them in your fridge and grab them when you run out the door.

So, when you get up, don’t forget to ‘eat up.’