A recent study linked lack of adequate sleep to the growing problem of obesity, and other research has shown the importance of eating a good breakfast for weight management.
It isnt surprising we gain an average of 3 to 5 pounds during the holiday season (stress, irregular hours, not enough sleep, etc.).
The logic of how breakfast can start your day off better is quite simple your brain needs fuel after a 12-hour fast. Trying to steal calories from other parts of the body is time-consuming and inefficient (as anyone knows who has tried to lose weight).
Do you choose sleep over breakfast? Shirley Perryman, dietician at Colorado State University, said breakfast skippers tend to make up for those calories later in the day by overeating at meals, consuming high-calorie beverages or snacking more often throughout the day. Whether youre a parent of young kids, a college student, in the work force or in your retirement years, breakfast is still the most important meal of your day.
Whatever your lifestyle, adequate rest and a healthy breakfast are necessary to look and feel your best. If you dont have time in the morning for a sit-down breakfast, consider:
b Ready-to-eat cereal, granola or protein bars with the least amount of added sugar (or corn syrup solids) and the most fiber (more than 5 grams per serving). Visualize that 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar.
b Fresh fruit has more fiber than juice. If you choose juice, be certain its 100 percent fruit juice and not a fruit-flavored, added-sugar beverage in a pouch.
b Trail mix made of dried fruit, nuts and bite-size whole grain cereal. Skip the chips, raisins or other added sugar tidbits.
If you have time to pop something in the toaster or microwave or get out the blender, try:
b Instant oatmeal with the least amount of added sugar. Better yet, basic oatmeal can be cooked in a microwave and be done in the same amount of time as the instant oatmeal without all the sugars, expense and cleanup.
b Whole grain waffles, toast or mini-bagels topped with nut butter rather than high-sugar, low-fiber toaster pastries.
b French toast or pancakes from the freezer wrapped around fresh or frozen fruit.
b Fresh or frozen fruit smoothies made with low-fat plain yogurt.
If not a traditional breakfast fan, try:
b Whole wheat bread with nut butter or grilled cheese.
b Pre-cooked rice (brown) or quinoa with dried fruit, nuts and low-fat milk.
b Low-fat string cheese and whole-grain crackers.
b Scrambled eggs topped with salsa wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla.
b Cottage cheese and fresh fruit or fruit canned in juice.
If these healthy ideas are not your cup of tea and youre a breakfast skipper, resolve just to eat something. Focus first on establishing the good habit of eating breakfast and then make healthier choices a priority to get your body and brain off to the best start every day.
email@example.com or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.