Alyssa Simon, Nutrition Columnist
Many students are aware of the importance of breakfast. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a phrase that numerous students have heard before and will likely hear again. However, just because students know breakfast is a vital meal doesn’t mean they will eat it; in fact, several don’t.
When it comes to not eating breakfast, there is quite an array of excuses. Some students may feel that they don’t have time, some can’t stomach the idea of food first thing in the morning, some students simply don’t like breakfast foods and others are afraid that it will cause weight gain.
The reason that breakfast is so important is because overnight, your body is in a fasting state. Even when you are asleep your body is still using energy and when you awake in the morning, your glycogen stores have been depleted and your body is (likely) running on very little fuel. Eating a well balanced breakfast within one hour of waking up will allow your body to return to its normal state and functions and will help to boost your energy, as well as your focus and concentration.
For those who feel they don’t have time for breakfast in the morning, there are countless ways to overcome this. Many companies are producing convenient, grab-and-go breakfast foods just for busy people! These include granola bars, yogurt, cereal, pre-made smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, muffins and bagels. If you don’t feel like spending money on already prepared foods, you can make them for yourself the night before, store them in the fridge, and grab them the next morning.
If the thought of eating food first thing in the morning makes you feel ill, you’re not alone. So what can you do about it? Try something small—a piece of whole wheat toast spread with some jam, or a glass of 100 percent fruit juice and a banana. When you are ready to eat again, have another small meal like yogurt with granola or eggs with fruit.
Typical American breakfast foods often include cereal, bagels, pancakes, eggs and pastries, to name a few. If you don’t like traditional breakfast foods, don’t eat them! A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread is a healthy choice, as well as fruit salad with low-fat cheese, or even soup or salad if you prefer. Eating some breakfast is better than eating no breakfast. However, that is not an excuse to have pizza and ice cream for your morning meal.
If you are afraid that eating breakfast will result in weight gain, think again. Studies have shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast tend to weigh less than those who don’t. Choosing a healthy breakfast may result in you choosing healthier foods throughout the day, and overall eating less than you would have if you skipped breakfast.
If you’re not a breakfast eater now, start with a small breakfast tomorrow, and continue daily until breakfast becomes a habit. Soon enough you’ll wonder why you never ate breakfast before!