Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal?

January is a time when we reevaluate our lives and make resolutions for the coming year — a fresh start. So why not take a look at making a fresh start to each day?

In the early to mid-20th century, Adelle Davis, known as the “First Lady of nutrition,” coined the phrase “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” Although rich, high calorie, high fat breakfasts do not align with the nutrition wisdom of today, breakfast is a valuable meal.

In recent years, the importance of breakfast has been called into question. There has been conflicting research published as to whether or not we should be eating breakfast. However, several of the studies suggesting we should not eat breakfast have been animal studies.

Although there is no evidence that these benefits will hold true for all individuals, there is a correlation between eating a healthy breakfast and reduction in appetite, a decrease in overall caloric consumption, decreased body weight, increased academic performance and concentration, improved endurance and productivity, and possibly improved blood glucose control.

Another potential benefit of eating breakfast each day includes improving your chances of consuming more of your recommended vitamin and mineral requirements. Although fruits should be consumed at every meal and are an important part of a healthy eating pattern, most people eat the majority of their fruits at breakfast.

The most important fact to consider is this: if you do eat breakfast, it should be healthy! Choose lean meats, such as Canadian bacon or turkey sausage, eggs and whole wheat bread products. Try just half a whole wheat bagel with low fat cream cheese, homemade breakfast sandwiches or overnight oats and fruit, along with low calorie coffee or tea beverages, as healthier options. For more ideas, check out some healthy breakfast recipes.

Registered dietitian Barb Walsh is the community nutrition educator in the Tevis Center for Wellness.

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