Food for Thought - Don't be a Breakfast Skipper

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Don't Skip Breakfast

Don't be a Breakfast Skipper

by Kim Paolino

No matter how busy life gets, we all need to make time
every morning to sit down and eat a healthful meal. Our hectic lives which revolve around family, work, and school, force us to skip the most important meal of the day -- breakfast.

Our bodies are like automobiles in that they require adequate fuel to function properly. Could you imagine driving with no gas? Your car wouldn't run, and without the right fuel, neither will your brain and muscles. This ever-important first meal of the day replenishes blood glucose (sugar) levels, which happens to be the brain's main energy source.

Studies show that eating habits developed early on can last a lifetime. These studies also reveal that starting off the day with a healthy meal is not only a natural mood booster; it improves energy and endurance throughout the early part of the day. Skipping breakfast may lead to overeating later in the day with a greater intake fat and calories, in a kind of rebound effect.

Just like everyone else, I'm usually pressed for time in the morning --hitting the snooze button a couple extra times, letting the hot shower water cascade down upon my tired body for a few too many minutes, and then, at least for us girls, standing in front of a closet for what seems like an eternity deciding what will be the fashion statement of the day. Then it dawns on you -- you're already quite late, and still haven't satisfied the empty feeling inside your belly. What to do.. What to do?

You need something healthy and fast that can be taken with you as you run out the door.

Energy bars are a healthy option. They're low in fat and contain many of the essential vitamins and nutrients you need to start the day, and there's absolutely no preparation needed. Individually wrapped bars mean they're great for sticking in your pocket, handbag, or briefcase, and are always ready to eat on the go.

My personal favorite is Nature Valley 100% Natural Crunchy Granola Bars in peanut butter. A serving size is two bars, at 180 calories and only 6 grams of fat. They also make a scrumptious Chewy Trail Mix Bar containing 4 grams of fat and only 140 calories. Read labels, be open-minded and sample a few brands and flavors you think you might like.

Let's face it, a lot of us enjoy a traditional bacon and eggs with a piece or two of buttered toast breakfast, but fatty foods deplete some energy from the body in order to store it. Leave the fat out of breakfast, instead, make breakfast a light, healthy meal.

For example, have a hard boiled egg and a half of cinnamon raisin bagel instead. It may sound boring and untasty, but it's actually quite delicious. You can prepare a couple of eggs in advance and have them ready to go in the morning, and because of the great cinnamon taste and moist texture of the raisins, you can leave off the butter or cream cheese.

The more you go without butter or cream cheese, the more you'll realize you don't need it, or even miss it. Also try a little jelly on that morning English muffin, another great substitute for the fattier spreads. To break up the monotony experiment with a few different flavors.

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Save the fattier, high calorie meals such as fried eggs and sausage, pancakes with butter and syrup, or fresh bakery buns for those special Sunday morning meals with the family. Don't deprive, just moderate.

As tough as it may be, stay away from those always convenient-to-get Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kremes. No desserts for breakfast! These finger-licking treats are loaded, and I mean loaded with trans fats. For example, one plain cruller has a whopping 15 grams of fat and 240 calories, while one jelly donut has a high calorie count of 310, and 13 grams of fat. Unfortunately, Pop-Tarts, and Entenmann's and Hosstess cakes, cookie, and doughnuts, also lead us to fall prey to a breakfast full of sugar and unwanted calories as well.

Although juice is a great source of carbohydrates and contains some essential vitamins, there are a lot of hidden calories here, especially when juice is add to the rest of the meal. Eat a piece of fruit instead. You'll feel more satisfied to actually eat your food rather than drink it, while at the same time gaining the nutritional and low fat benefits of the entire fruit.

Having breakfast "your way" at that favorite fast food restaurant can actually be the wrong way. The Burger King Croissan'wich with sausage, egg and cheese has a high fat content of 36 grams, and the McDonald's Egg McMuffin, although less, still has a high 12 grams of fat. Add sausage to that one and consume 28 grams of fat with 440 calories.

Cereal, the breakfast standard, is quick and easy, and the selection is vast. An important suggestion, read the nutritional value on the box. Stay clear of the sugary, artificially colored and flavored kinds. There are a lot of very tasty, healthy, low fat cereals that will fill you up and provide the energy you need to make it to work on time. If using milk, try skim milk, or even better, Skim Plus (100% fat free). It has the same creamy taste as whole milk, but contains 37% more protein and 34% more calcium than regular milk.

Coffee, the jump-start of the day. This caffeine-ridden luxury, although considered to be unhealthy and addictive, in moderation, (one to two cups a day) gives us a little boost and a sharpened mental capacity. Spread it out, one cup in the morning to get you moving, and one after lunch (when we all need that siesta) to help gain some energy back. After all, who can live without the robust taste of earth's natural stimulant?

Some other healthful alternatives for breakfast:

  • Fresh fruit salad - can be prepared the night before
  • Low-fat yogurt - all you need is the spoon
  • Oatmeal - low-fat, cooks quickly, and so soothing to that empty morning stomach
  • Thin sliced toast with jelly - for those who want to keep it light in the morning
  • Cereal (dry) - put a cup of cereal in a plastic bag and eat it on the way
  • Reduced fat peanut butter on a half of a bagel - filling, and a good source of protein & complex carbohydrate (reduced fat peanut butter tastes just as good as regular peanut butter, I promise!)

It's all pretty simple, in the morning you can eat healthy foods that take you the same amount of time to prepare as it does to warm up the shower water or make the bed. Eating right the first meal of the day is the foundation to eating right ALL day.

What ever it takes, eat breakfast.

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COMPLETE SYSTEM on how to get fit and burn fat
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