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The Importance of Eating a Healthy Breakfast

author image Erica Wickham, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.
Erica Wickham covers health, exercise and lifestyle topics for various websites. She completed an internship in dietetics and earned a Master of Science in dietetics from D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. Wickham now serves as a registered dietitian.
The Importance of Eating a Healthy Breakfast
Whole grain pancakes on a plate with banana slices and a spoonful of peanut butter. Photo Credit A_Lein/iStock/Getty Images

Breakfast is a nutritious way to start out your day. Eating breakfast refuels your body, enhances your mood, improves your concentration, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and is the foundation of a healthy diet. Eating a healthy breakfast can be quick and easy, and provide you with benefits that last the entire day.

Increased Energy

Typically, there is a period of 8 to 12 hours between dinner and your morning meal. Therefore, when you eat breakfast, you are breaking a fast from the night before. Breakfast is a chance to give your body the food it needs to replenish your blood glucose levels. Glucose is your main energy source; it fuels your brain and your body. Eating breakfast will provide your body with the glucose it needs to function properly and fight fatigue.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Eating a healthy breakfast is a great opportunity to eat nutritious foods, which provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are needed by your body for proper growth and maintenance, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, bone strength, and a healthy immune system. People who regularly consume a healthy breakfast are more likely to meet their daily nutrient requirements, eat less fat and have a lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Improved Concentration

A well-balanced breakfast can help keep you alert and productive throughout the morning. Breakfast improves concentration, problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, creativity and attention span. Eating breakfast will also give you energy, help you be more physically active, and miss fewer days of school or work due to illness.

A Healthy Weight

Many people have the misconception that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight. However, doing this may actually cause you to snack throughout the day, eat more at your next meal, and negatively impact your mood. Breakfast boosts your metabolism first thing in the morning. It curbs your hunger, prevents binge eating later in the day, and stabilizes your blood sugar. In addition, eating a fiber-rich breakfast helps you fill up and keeps you full for longer so that you do consume extra calories throughout the day.

Foundation of a Healthy Diet

People who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to consume a healthier diet overall. By skipping breakfast, you may have a difficult time consuming essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Breakfast foods typically consist of milk, whole grains, fruit and even vegetables, which are significant sources of vitamins C and D, calcium, iron and fiber. If you do not eat breakfast, you may not meet your daily nutrient recommendations. Most importantly, eating breakfast leads to healthier food choices at other meals.

A Healthy Breakfast

Eating breakfast does not mean downing a cup of coffee and a doughnut. The core of a healthy breakfast consist of whole grains, such as hot or cold cereals; a bran muffin; whole-wheat rolls or bagels; low-fat protein, such as peanut butter, lean meat, poultry, fish or hard boiled eggs; low-fat dairy, including skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses; and fruit and vegetables, such as 100 percent juices, parfaits, smoothies and fresh or frozen fruit. Less healthy options such as sweet buns, fried eggs, sausage, deep fried cakes and soft drinks do not provide you with the lasting benefits of a healthy breakfast.

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