Relaxed sit-down breakfasts—fruit juice, eggs, and toast enjoyed at the kitchen table—are becoming a thing of the past. Long commutes, demanding schedules, and other time pressures all contribute to morning routines that don’t include a healthy breakfast. Currently, more than half of American adults skip breakfast—and those who eat it may choose convenience over nutrition.
But, a nutritious breakfast is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that eating breakfast regularly can:
Support performance at work or school
Help maintain a healthy weight
Improve overall health and well-being by elevating the nutritional quality of your diet
Breakfast and performance
Adults who eat breakfast generally perform better at work. That’s because breakfast replenishes blood sugar levels, which helps provide energy and improves concentration. A balanced breakfast can also help children do better in school by supporting memory, focus, alertness, and mood.
Breakfast and weight control
Many people skip breakfast because they believe it will help them lose weight; in fact, it can have the opposite effect. Studies show that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight than those who skip breakfast and are more successful at losing weight and maintaining their weight loss.
Breakfast and overall nutrition
Research shows breakfast-eaters get more of certain nutrients—calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and fiber—than those who skip. These nutrients are a critical part of a healthy diet and living your best life. Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease. Vitamin C and other antioxidants help protect cells from damage.
Because many nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, fruit, eggs, and dairy are eaten at breakfast, skipping this important meal could cause you to fall short of meeting your daily requirements of essential nutrients.
Best breakfast choices
Carefully reading food labels can help us select the best breakfast foods within different breakfast food categories. Look for a cereal that has whole grain listed as the first ingredient and at least four grams of fiber and less than 10 to 12 grams of sugar per serving.
For those of us that don’t have a lot of time and need to eat breakfast in the car, at work, or in a classroom, there are convenient, portable breakfast choices that are also good for you. Consider fruit and a hardboiled egg, whole grain bagels with peanut butter, or Greek yogurt with berries and almonds. If you know what to look for it is possible to get a quick, nutritious breakfast wherever you go. Check out these two super easy, overnight breakfast recipes.
The scoop on breakfast’s “big three”
There have been many contradictory messages about coffee, eggs and even 100% fruit juice, but the bottom line is: in moderation, they can be part of a healthy breakfast.
Coffee: Science shows that the amount of caffeine in two to three eight-ounce cups a day does not pose health problems for most healthy people. If you drink coffee, go easy on sugar and cream.
Eggs: Eggs have been the subject of much debate. Recent updated recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, American Heart Association, and American Diabetes Association no longer limit total cholesterol or egg intake. This is good news because eggs are low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants.
Fruit Juice: 100% fruit juice provides important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
However, it’s also high in natural sugars and lacks the fiber found in whole fruit. Try to limit the amount you drink; offer kids no more than four to six ounces per day and when you do drink juice, always choose 100% fruit juice.
Make time for breakfast!
Eating breakfast regularly may help you perform better at work or school, help control weight, and increase the overall quality of your diet. For peak performance, start every day right with a healthy breakfast — an important part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that’s right for you.