Breakfast Makes Champions

Health, Home & Family
on September 1, 2002

You wouldnt think of trying to drive your car on an empty tank, and you shouldnt start out the day on one either. Breakfast benefits young and old alike, reveal studies done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Dietetic Association. Yet most people skip breakfast.

Between a quarter and a third of Americans skip breakfast, says Sharron Coplin, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Extension Service.

Those who eat breakfast benefit from the following advantages, Coplin says. They:

  • Have more energy and higher work or activity levels throughout the morning.
  • Have better concentration, problem-solving ability, and muscle strength and coordination.
  • Get more dietary fiber and other nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Tend to have lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Tend to be thinner, because they are not prone to overeat at lunch or dinner.

The healthiest breakfast is a balanced meal that provides a sustained release of energy to the brain and body, Coplin says. It should be rich in complex carbohydratesstarches, grains, and fruits that have a lot of fibermoderate in protein, and low in fat, she says.

That old breakfast standby, cereal and milk topped with fruit, or a breakfast bar and carton of yogurt, washed down with a glass of vitamin C-rich juice, covers all the breakfast bases.

Those who dont eat breakfast cite lack of time, but, a healthy breakfast can be eaten quickly or even on the run, Coplin says.

Try variations on breakfast, focusing on what you can take with you. Make breakfast sandwiches, which are peanut butter and sliced fruit on whole grain waffles, bagels, or bread; a pita pocket stuffed with shredded cheese and sliced or dried fruit; or a tortilla roll-up of peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese, raisins, and apple slices.

Smoothies, made of milk or yogurt, fruit or fruit juice, wheat germ or oat bran, and ice cubes blended into an energy-rich breakfast beverage, provide good nutrition in a flash.

Blender breakfasts have it all, Coplin says. They are fast to make. They have good mouth appeal. They have lots of fiber. And they are very portable.