Breakfast, or “break the fast” is considered to be the most important meal of the day. The average time between supper and breakfast the next morning is 12-14 hours. This is a long time for the body to go without fuel. Imagine spending 12-14 hours during the day not eating!
Food is the body’s fuel, just like gas for a car. Without gas, the car will not run! We need breakfast to jump- start our day. Not eating breakfast results in lowered metabolism and low blood sugar levels, causing fatigue, dizziness, headaches, mood swings or tremors. This is because we have run out of energy that needed to be replenished at breakfast!
Children who do not eat breakfast are not fully able to benefit from their education. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast do better in school than children who do not. Children who skip breakfast are not able to focus, and are irritable and moody due to a lack of energy. In order to work properly their brains need a well-balanced morning meal.
Breakfast is essential because it provides about one quarter to one third of the nutrients that children and adults need in a day. If children miss breakfast on a regular basis, poor growth can result. Both kids and adults can become malnourished due to regular breakfast skipping, and experience health problems such as frequent colds and infections.
Studies have shown that not eating breakfast can lead to weight gain. Skipping breakfast actually lowers metabolism, which is the rate that your body’s heart, lungs and other organs run. In other words, it takes less calories or energy for our bodies to function, resulting in the extra calories being stored as fat. Eating breakfast increases our metabolisms by revving up our bodies to burn more calories all day long. People who do not eat breakfast tend to eat more at night, when they are not burning energy as quickly. This eating style is more likely to cause weight gain.
The best breakfast starts with foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals, breads, bagels or lower fat muffins. These foods make the glucose necessary for the brain to work. Add at least two of the other three food groups fromCanada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. A peanut butter and banana sandwich with a glass of milk, a grilled-cheese sandwich with an apple, or leftovers such as pasta or pizza are good alternatives if traditional breakfast foods are not appealing.
Give your children an edge in school – be sure to give them a “breakfast for learning”, and remember to be a good role model for them. Start your day off right and see the difference eating breakfast can make!
WRITTEN BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITIONISTS OF SASKATCHEWAN
Originator: Marika Strader, Intern, and Heather McAvoy, Prince Albert Parkland Health Region
“Breakfast for Learning” Kit.
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.