The Breakfast Club

You’ve heard it time and time again: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Most of the time, this statement goes in one ear and out the other. Really now, how important can one measly meal be? Well, it’s time to set the record straight. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Whoever you are, or whatever your health goals are, it’s vital that you get a good, balanced meal at the beginning of the day to start your day off right. Eating breakfast boosts your metabolism. After resting all night, your body has used up almost 80% of its stored energy. So even if you think you’re not hungry in the morning, try eating a little bit first and you’ll start to feel hungrier. A higher metabolism will also kickstart your body into giving you more energy for the rest of the day. That energy will keep you awake during class, give you better concentration to take those exams, and help you focus your attention on your teacher’s lectures.

Choosing the right foods for your morning meal will also optimize the benefits of breakfast. Foods that digest slowly like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help keep you full until lunchtime. This means that you will be less likely to snack on unhealthy foods when those hunger pangs strike. You’ll also be less likely to overeat for the rest of the day.

Check out the chart below and choose one item from each list to put together a delicious breakfast that fits your style so you can gear up for that long day of school ahead!

Whole Grains Protein/Dairy Fruits and Vegetables
Whole grain English muffin 1 tbsp peanut butter 1 whole fruit – try an apple, banana, pear, peach, or orange
1 slice whole wheat toast 1 egg 1/4 cup dried fruit
1 cup whole grain cereal or oatmeal 1 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese or 1 slice reduced fat cheese 1/3 cup of berries
½ whole wheat bagel 1 cup milk 1 cup 100% fruit or low-sodium vegetable juice

HELPFUL HINTS:

  • No time? Make your breakfast the night before. Heat up some of last night’s leftovers as breakfast. Build a breakfast around foods that are ready to eat or take little prep time.
  • Take it to go… Try foods that are easily portable like breads, bagels, English muffins, dry cereal with dried fruit or a piece of whole fruit, and a hard-boiled egg to eat on your way to school.
  • Perk up cereals… Top cereals with fruit like a handful of blueberries, sliced strawberries, or sliced bananas or stir in chopped nuts such as peanuts, pecans and walnuts into cooked cereals and oatmeal.
  • Not hungry yet? Drink juice. Something is better than nothing. Bring half of a peanut butter sandwich or some fruit and dry cereal in a plastic baggie to eat later in the morning.

(adapted from USDA's Human Nutrition Information Service)