National School Breakfast Week was last week. I had this post scheduled, but somehow it slipped my mind. Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit. But even though NSBW is over, breakfast eating goes on! I can take some comfort in that.
The word on the street is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also the most likely to be skipped. Is eating that morning meal–literally breaking the fast–really necessary?
Here’s the lowdown:
- Children The research is clear that kids who eat breakfast do better in school, have better concentration and more energy. And children who eat breakfast are healthier overall. Breakfast is a great time to get in more fiber by way of cereals and whole grain breads. A 2008 study in the journal Pediatrics found that adolescents who ate breakfast daily had a lower body mass index than teens who never ate breakfast or only on occasion.
- Adults The big issue for grown-ups is weight management. Breakfast skippers are more likely to eat larger amounts at the next meal or snack on high calorie convenience foods. As with children, breakfast is a great way to get in all the fiber, vitamins and minerals we need in a day. And while studies show adults don’t suffer dramatically from decreased concentration and focus the way kids do, short-term memory doesn’t hold up well.
What if you’re just not hungry in the morning? Maybe a cup of coffee and you’re good to go. Is it really necessary to choke down something to eat simply because you’re supposed to? I wondered about this because, honestly, sometimes a latte is all I want.
After consulting the Nutrition Diva, however, I learned that while breakfast is an important meal for most people, skipping (adults only) isn’t much of an issue as long as you observe these two rules:
1. Eat good food. Uh, no stopping at the donut drive-through. And that grande mocha frappuccino? That won’t work either. If you’re eating out, look for healthier options like fruit or a sandwich. I keep nuts in my car for “hunger emergencies”. That way I don’t end up answering the siren call of a passing candy bar.
2. Don’t wait too long. If you’re at all like me, then you might actually reach the point of no return. The all-consuming hunger that isn’t satisfied with a banana. Rethink your morning food plan and recharge sooner rather than later.
Breakfast is personal. Make the choice that works for you, but make sure your children are eating—and eating healthy foods that will support their brain function. Perhaps my memory mishaps are part of the biology of aging—or maybe I should just eat up in the a.m. It certainly couldn’t hurt.