Breakfast is the first meal taken after rising from a night’s sleep, most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day’s work. Among English speakers, “breakfast” can be used to refer to this meal or to refer to a meal composed of traditional breakfast foods (such as eggs, oatmeal and sausage) served at any time of day. The word literally refers to breaking the fasting period of the prior night.
Breakfast foods vary widely from place to place, but often include a carbohydrate such as grains or cereals, fruit and/or vegetables, a protein food such as eggs, meat or fish, and a beverage such as tea, coffee, milk or fruit juice. Coffee, milk, tea, juice, breakfast cereals, pancakes, sausages, French toast, bacon, sweet breads, fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, muffins, crumpets and toast with butter or margarine and/or jam or marmalade are common examples of breakfast foods, though a large range of preparations and ingredients are associated with breakfast globally
Some nutritional experts have long referred to breakfast as the most important meal of the day, citing studies that find that people who skip breakfast are disproportionately likely to have problems with concentration, metabolism, weight, and cardiac health. A nutritionist, Monica Reinagel has argued the metabolic benefits have been exaggerated, noting the improvement in cognition has been found among children, but is much less significant among adults. Reinagel also explains that the link between skipping breakfast and increased weight is likely behavioral—compensating with snacks and/or eating more later—and therefore not inevitable.
Kids Need Their Morning Meal
While adults need to eat breakfast each day to perform their best, kids need it even more. Their growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for long periods of time without food and this period of semi starvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual, and behavioral problems for them.
A Good Investment
If you and your kids regularly skip breakfast in the interest of saving time, calories, or getting a few more minutes of sleep, remember that eating a wholesome, nutritious morning meal will probably save you time in the long run. By recharging the brain and body, you’ll be more efficient in just about everything you do. Interestingly, studies show that kids who skip breakfast are tardy and absent from school more often than children who eat breakfast on a regular basis. Preparing a good breakfast can be as quick and easy as splashing some milk over cereal. Time invested in breakfast is much more valuable than the few extra minutes of sleep you might get by bypassing the morning meal. If you and your kids seem unable to make time for breakfast, consider enrolling your children in a school breakfast program, if possible, or pack a breakfast brown-bag or smoothie the night before that can be eaten on the way to school and work.
Break the Fast to Shed the Pounds
Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but the practice is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss. Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. Studies show that overweight and obese children, adolescents, and adults are less likely to break the fast each morning than their thinner counterparts.
According to research, skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger. Several studies suggest that people tend to accumulate more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals. To teens, especially teenage girls, skipping breakfast may seem like a perfectly logical way to cut down on calories and lose weight. It’s important for moms to educate their kids about the importance of the morning meal and the role it plays in maintaining good health and preventing obesity.
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