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Appetite for Knowledge

Rise And Dine – Breakfast!

We’ve all heard time and again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet convincing the majority of Americans to make this meal top priority seems like an impossible task. I have heard a lot of excuses regarding why people don’t eat breakfast on most days of the week! The top excuse is that there isn’t time. The next is that they’re just not hungry. If you want to live healthfully, you have to make a commitment and always have some quick and healthy breakfasts on hand.

Benefits of Breakfast

Some experts say rising and dining in the morning can benefit individuals in a multitude of ways:

Metabolism and Weight

Regularly eating breakfast kick starts our metabolism. During the night when we’re sleeping, our metabolic rate runs slowly. Once we’re awake, our bodies need to speed up and break out of its fasting metabolic state. A healthy breakfast will jump-start it for the day.

Healthier Diet

Research shows that people who eat breakfast seem to have healthier diets overall. People who eat breakfast are more likely to incorporate their recommended servings of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients each day in their diet.

Fiber Intake

Dietary fiber intake is improved by eating breakfast, of which many Americans don’t get enough. It is a great time to include high-soluble fiber, to reap the benefits of lowering cholesterol.

Alertness and Concentration

Studies have found that eating breakfast may enhance memory, improve cognitive ability, and help increase attention span. When a person’s blood glucose is low, they’ll feel lethargic, irritable, drowsy, restless, and has difficulty thinking or recalling information. Eating first thing in the morning can prevent these symptoms.

Mood

Eating in the morning after a night’s slumber provides glucose to your starved brain. Having these vital nutrients every morning can help make you more positive. No matter what age you are, eating breakfast every morning will make you feel less irritable.

Children and Youth

According to the USDA, children who eat breakfast perform better in school and on the playground. They have better memory, concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination. Children need specific nutrients in fixed amounts daily to support adequate growth and development. A balanced breakfast also can help kids avoid dips in blood sugar, which can contribute to poor concentration, avoid hyperactivity or irritability due to variable blood sugar levels.

Pregnant Women

Breakfast is crucial for pregnant women, who are supporting the additional calorie needs of a growing fetus. Women who are pregnant require a higher-than-normal calcium intake, since a developing baby leeches calcium from their bones; plus folic acid helps prevent neural tube deformities. Prolonged fasting during pregnancy can result in slow growth and preterm labor. As an added benefit, including a starch at breakfast can reduce bouts of nausea, which is common for many pregnant women.

Older Adults

Because we lose our sense of taste as we age, which often prevents us from getting the adequate nutrition we need. A tasty breakfast can be essential in helping elderly adults meet their vitamin and mineral goals. In addition, eating breakfast can assist older adults in taking the medications they may need in the morning as well as regulating bowels and stimulating taste buds.

Make It Easy on Yourself

Breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate! A tip for a more nutritious breakfast is to incorporate as many of the five food groups as you can.  Try to get at least 3 of the 5 food groups: fruits, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy.

The key is planning so that foods are readily available when needed. Prep the food ahead of time so breakfast items are ready when the morning comes, and the busy day begins.

Breakfast Ideas:

  • Whole-wheat toast with nut butter; fruit; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Pancake muffins with meat; fruit; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Yogurt topped with berries and whole-grain cereal or granola
  • Multigrain waffle or pancake topped with yogurt and fruit; and a hard-cooked egg
  • Bran muffin with nut butter; fruit; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Oatmeal with nuts and berries; and milk
  • Whole-wheat English muffin; cottage cheese; and ¼ of a cantaloupe
  • Sliced deli meat and low-fat cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla; and pineapple slices
  • Overnight oatmeal or slow cooker oatmeal with fruit; meat; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Apple slices with nut butter and granola; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Baked tomato egg cups; 100% multigrain bread; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Yogurt parfait with berries, high-fiber cereal, and nuts
  • Breakfast bars or cookies; fruit; meat; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Strawberry, cream cheese, and granola wrap; and meat slices
  • Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich; and veggie strips
  • Egg muffin cups with ham and vegetables; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Yogurt fruit smoothie; granola bar; and hard-cooked egg
  • Pancake or waffle with nut butter and sliced bananas; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Fruit; hard-cooked egg whole wheat English muffin; and cheese, yogurt, or milk
  • Tortilla with mashed avocado or beans, shredded cheese, and veggies; and yogurt, or milk
  • Homemade veggie pizza; and fruit

To help fit breakfast into the chaos of daily life, use these strategies and breakfast ideas to make it easier for you to prepare and eat this essential morning meal!

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Family gathered around table eating breakfast

Contact Our Experts

Email: nfs@uwyo.edu

Extension Educators:
Shelley Balls – (307) 885-3132
Denise Smith – (307) 334-3534
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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