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Don’t Bypass Breakfast

October 2005
Don’t Bypass Breakfast

Our family does not eat breakfast. We may grab some ganthias or chevdo and a cup of tea. We are also vegetarian. Can you comment on the importance of eating a healthy breakfast?

Breakfast is the first meal of the day and it really matters what you do about it. Realize that repeated studies done independently have shown that children who eat breakfast have a positive attitude towards school and perform better in all tests. Less likely to be tardy, they are more alert and active as participants in class. In addition, kids who eat breakfast are more likely to get the nutrients their bodies need. A Louisiana study found that those who skipped breakfast did not get almost 60 percent of the necessary nutrients.

Breakfast eaters are generally at ideal body weight and perhaps more slender than their cohorts who skip breakfast. The early morning calories rouse the body's machinery and get the systems going. These same children, because of maintaining ideal weight, are less likely to become diabetic and have heart disease as adults. Observations in a study tracking 2900 Americans showed that by the end of the day they had consumed fewer fat and saturated calories than their non-breakfast-eating friends. Having breakfast allowed one's metabolic rate to increase by 25 percent. These observations can be extrapolated to adults because they make a lot of sense and lead to our next question: What are the good choices for the first meal of the day, since it is an energy booster that sets the pace for the rest of the day?

The best choices, given time constraints of today's society, are whole grain cereal with skimmed or low fat milk and orange juice or grapefruit juice. Items of refined "kid" cereals (considered more of the junk food quality due to the very high calorie content), white bread, bagels and anything that's high on carbohydrates may be less desirable. Fruits like bananas, apples and oranges are also good choices. It may be a good idea to have granola, power and breakfast bars handy at home. Low fat yogurt is also a good choice. On some days fix yourself an omelet with lots of fresh tomatoes, green and hot peppers, mushrooms and low fat cheese. Many recipes call for low calorie pancakes with sugar substitute syrups that can be made ahead and frozen. Certainly, desi chevdo or ganthia may sometimes satisfy an urge for something spicy. But it's less than an ideal choice for your first meal, especially with a cup of tea, since it will more than likely trigger the biggest reflux event of the day. For non-diabetics, some authorities even suggest a small spoon of honey with breakfast.

The one advantage of eating breakfast, even when rushed, is to be able to spend a few minutes with the family before departing for work or school. This routine allows for better time management and also lets one postpone lunch and stretch the morning shift to get more done.

A healthy breakfast is definitely food for thought!

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