Back to School on an Empty Stomach
As summer ends and school begins, now is a great time to reinforce healthy habits for the entire family which can start with a simple meal. The first meal of the day, ideally consumed within the first hour of waking, is breakfast, which breaks the fast that has occurred overnight.
Breakfast is an important meal for everyone and is the most commonly skipped meal for reasons such as insufficient time, the early hour, unhealthy options, and dieting. Research indicates that over the past 30 years, children and adolescents in the United States are consuming less breakfast. This lack of morning food fare may have a greater impact on our society beyond tired minds early in the day. There are several benefits to breakfast, including its contribution to cognitive performance by alleviating hunger, and the indication that it may have an impact on memory (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2005).
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several benefits to consuming breakfast each day, including a likelihood that you will consume more vitamins and minerals throughout the remainder of the day, have more strength and endurance, exhibit better concentration and productivity throughout the morning hours, control your weight, have lower cholesterol levels, and even consume less fat. These alone are major reasons why everyone should start the day with a healthy breakfast.
Persons with specific chronic health conditions and disabilities particularly need to pay attention to the timing of their meals. For example, levels of blood glucose are typically lowest in the morning, and a person with Type I diabetes must guard against high or low glucose levels. Therefore, having regular meals and not skipping meals is imperative for this person, although many can benefit from starting their day with a healthy meal and breaking the nocturnal fast.
A healthy breakfast should consist of a variety of foods that include whole grains, fruit, and protein or dairy (low fat sources). An array of food sources will ensure adequate intake of nutrients and fiber. This meal may take planning to allow for a variety of nutritious foods to be available, but a good starting point is high fiber, low sugar fortified "cold" cereals with low fat milk (or fortified orange juice for non-milk drinkers), and fruit.
If breakfast needs to be eaten on the go, it can still be healthy and full of variety. Try drinking a glass of milk before leaving the house or eating a piece of fruit while on the move. For children, check out school food programs, which may offer healthy breakfast choices and can help you achieve your goal of a healthy breakfast.
Breakfast consumption is encouraged for everyone. What better time of year to start a healthy habit? Back to school with breakfast is an important habit for any healthy lifestyle.
Easy Fruit Muffins
- 2 cups low fat Bisquick (or another low fat pancake/muffin mix)
- 2 TBS applesauce
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4¼ cup of sugar
- 2/32/3 cup of skim milk
- 1 to 1 1/2½ cups of fruit (blueberry, raspberries, or diced nectarines)
- Preheat oven 400ºF.
- Combine all the above ingredients (except for the fruit/berries) in mixing bowl; do not over-mix the batter.
- Fold in the fruit.
- Spray muffin tin with a non-fat cooking/baking spray.
- Place 1/4¼ cup of batter in each muffin space.
- Bake about 18 minutes, and poke a knife or toothpick in a muffin to determine if they are done.
Enjoy a muffin each morning and keep the others in an airtight container or freeze for later. This healthy breakfast includes protein, carbohydrates, and fruit. Add a glass of milk, or calcium fortified juice to this low-fat homemade muffin for an easy, healthy breakfast.