Table of contents
- The Benefits of Breakfast
- Healthy and unhealthy breakfast foods
The Benefits of Breakfast
Eating breakfast is important for everyone especially for children and adolescents. Breakfast, as the name suggests, provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast enabling you to kick-start your metabolism at the beginning of your day.
- breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking
- a healthy breakfast should provide calories in the range of 20-35% of your guideline daily allowance (GDA).
Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast can help give you:
- A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fiber
- Improved concentration, memory, mood and performance in studies or work by restoring glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function.
- More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity
- Improve long-term health by reducing cholesterol levels, obesity, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and diabetes
- Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers, whether it's children or adults
One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day. Another theory behind the breakfast-weight control link implies that eating breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes making wise food choices and balancing calories with exercise. For example, consider the successful losers followed by the National Weight Control Registry, all of whom have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off at least one year. Some 80% of the people in the Registry regularly eat breakfast (and also follow a calorie-controlled, low-fat diet).
It's worth noting that most studies linking breakfast to weight control loss looked at a healthy breakfast containing protein and/or whole grains -- not meals loaded with fat and calories. Importance of breakfast in a community By improving food and health habits of people at a community level, you can help your neighborhood become a vibrant, productive and healthy place to live. For example, if you look at an office environment most working professionals neglect the importance of a healthy diet plan, due to the busy schedules they skip breakfast to save time, but this causes poor energy levels, tiredness, moodiness, and fatigue even at the beginning of the day. This does not only lead to lower energy levels but also invite diseases to our body and as age advances people tend to lose enthusiasm towards their work leading to low productivity and poor results. This also applies to school children, as school children who do well academically are better equipped to be productive participants of their communities and according to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination.
Economic factors play a crucial role and could affect nutritional health in people, especially those with low income. Economic decision factors such as food price and income influence people's food choices. Several studies indicate that diet costs are associated with dietary quality and also food safety. Food prices have surged over the past years raising serious concerns about food security around the world creating a barrier for low income-families to healthier food choices as healthy breakfast foods such as fresh fruits, dairy products, whole grain/wheat products, lean proteins usually have higher prices than the cheaper packeted products available in the market. This leads to people taking cheap fast food, snacks or unhealthy food such as cup noodles for breakfast causing nutritionally-related disorders and diseases, from over-nutrition to or with under-nutrition even within the one household. This is likely to increase with growing food insecurity. Presently, economics is not integrated with mainstream nutrition science or practice, other than in "home economics", but it can enable greater understanding of how socioeconomic status may interplay with human nutritional status and health and how these situations might be resolved. Collaborative, cross-disciplinary nutritional economics research should play a greater role in the prevention and management of food crises.
Healthy and unhealthy breakfast foods
Top healthy breakfast choices:
- Eggs - a smart choice of food for people who go for those who believe in consuming fewer carbohydrates to get rid of excess fat. It is loaded with high-quality protein 6.5 g that constitutes to about 13 percent of your daily requirement. They also contain vitamin D that can support the overall health of overweight individuals. Several studies have revealed that people who had an egg every morning for their breakfast lost a good amount of weight. They can help you maintain your energy levels and keep you satisfied for a long time.
- Fresh Fruits - an excellent option to ward off fats and cholesterol from the body therefore beneficial for weight loss It is full of antioxidants, natural sugars, and fiber for instant energy. Many fruits are rich in potassium and low in sodium and are packed with a lot of vitamins and are low in calories. It is better to opt for raw fruits rather than fruit juices since it has got high fiber as well as some important vitamins.
- Oatmeal - serve as a filling and healthy breakfast which has numerous health benefits. It is loaded with fiber and can give you a feeling of fullness since it takes a long time to get digested in the body so it can quickly help you lose weight. The fiber in oatmeal contributes to preventing hunger and promotes satiety for a longer period. Since it has slow release carbohydrates, it does not spike your blood sugar level.
- Cottage Cheese - help to increase satiety or give you a feeling of fullness Cottage cheese is a healthy item for your breakfast since it is high in proteins which help to maintain your lean muscle mass. It has an average of about 14 g proteins and is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat.
- Greek Yogurt - promotes the healthy immune system and digestive system. Greek yogurt is a creamier and thicker version of yogurt that is loaded with high amount of proteins as well as some appreciable amount of sugar and carbohydrates and almost contains twice the protein as that of a regular plain yogurt. It has low sodium content which is ideal for those suffering from high blood pressure and heart problems and is packed with some healthy probiotics that can help promote your immune system and digestive system.
- Energy Bars - healthy option for those deprived of time Energy bars can make a perfect choice for breakfast since they are loaded with nutrition. You can choose energy bars that contain 10 g protein that can satisfy your appetite. They feature delicious seeds and nuts. It is important to choose energy bars that contain whole grains that can give you the desired amount of energy-producing carbohydrates.
- Peanut Butter - healthy in moderation Peanut Butter has a high fiber and protein content and is very filling. It is also packed with healthy fats and potassium as well as antioxidants. The fiber present in it can help in regulating your digestive system. The mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats found in the peanut butter can prevent you from developing heart disease. It can also help you fight cravings, provide energy and stay on your weight loss track.
- Brown Rice - fulfilling and best choice for people with diabetes Brown rice is a healthy option for breakfast since it is full of B vitamins and fiber. It is unrefined, unlike white rice that is refined. The fiber content of brown rice can improve your bowel function. It is low on glycemic index that can help to reduce the insulin spikes. It can help in the stabilization of your blood sugar level and serves to be the best food for those who have diabetes. The manganese present in the brown rice can help your body to synthesize fats. It also contains some naturally occurring oils that are beneficial in normalizing the cholesterol levels.
- Whole- Grain Cereal Eating whole- grain cereal for breakfast is a good idea since they are rich in nutrients, low in fat and high in fiber. It provides a feeling of satiety and helps in weight loss. The vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals found in the whole grain cereals can protect you from free radical damages, cancers and heart diseases. The fiber in whole-grain cereal helps to maintain a good digestive health.
- Tea and Coffee Rich sources of antioxidants and has caffeine and lowers risk of several diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer. It may help you live longer and helps to increase your body’s metabolism and help lose more weight around the middle.
Tea is Most unhealthy food choices:
- Fatty Meats Sausages, hams, and bacon is a common choice for a big breakfast. Even if bacon is high in protein, it is not a healthy option for breakfast since it is loaded with fats. They increase the risk of heart disease, strokes, and HDL cholesterol. They should be completely avoided first thing in the morning.
- Donuts are delicious but one of the worst food items to indulge in for breakfast. They raise your blood sugar and many of them contain trans-fat. They are made from refined white flour which is unhealthy. They can lead to obesity, heart attack and several other serious conditions. There is little or no nutritional value in donuts.
- Fruit Juice Fruit juice can prove to be unhealthy since they come with added sugar which makes them as bad as having soda or other sugary drinks for breakfast. If you need a boost of Vitamin C, then you might just grab a whole fruit that will give you fiber as well.
- Pastries are high in fats and calories. They contain excessive carbohydrates that can make you hungry sooner. The high sugar in them can lead to a greater risk of obesity and diabetes. You can substitute it with a muffin as it is known to lower the risk of diabetes.
- White Bread White bread is one of the worst food that you can have for your breakfast. It had less nutrition value and packed with yeast that can leave you feeling bloated. It is high on GI that can cause insulin spikes. A whole grain bread is a better choice since it is rich in fiber and causes a slow rise in your blood sugar level.
- French Fries French fries contain unhealthy trans fats that can increase your bad cholesterol and increase your chances of heart disease. They can pose several serious health risks since it has saturated and trans fats. Since they are high glycemic, there are rapid fluctuations in your blood sugar levels that can easily increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain. They contain a lot of calories since they are completely soaked in oils.
- Rice Many people consume rice along with dals and curries for breakfast. But rice contains a high amount of starch that can make you sleepy and sluggish in the morning. Rice can get quickly converted into sugar that can easily spike your blood sugar in a matter of few minutes. Since it is tasteless, you are forced to consume extra salt that can cause a problem for people with high blood pressure.
- Instant Noodles It is not good to have instant noodles in the morning for breakfast as it has a high sodium content and filled with empty calories. They are also high in saturated fats that can surely increase your chances of heart diseases. The high sodium content in the noodles can increase the risk of kidney problems. It can also reduce the ability of the body to absorb other nutrients that are obtained from various vegetables and fruits. They do not contain any minerals or vitamins and can cause various physical problems like scurvy and night blindness. They contain preservatives and several other ingredients that can lead to cancer.
- Burgers are extremely fattening food items with little nutrition value. They are a highly processed item and have excessive sodium content that can lead to several serious health issues such as kidney disease and high blood pressure. It is best to go for veggie burgers than hamburgers since they contain less saturated fats.
- French Toast French toast is made with white bread that is loaded with yeast and contains unnecessary calories. It has high saturated fats that might result in clogged arteries. You can minimize the amount of these fats by using nonfat milk rather than using whole milk.