Breakfast jump-starts energy
What does 'eating smart to stay healthy' mean?
During National Nutrition Month, which is the month of March each year, eating smart to stay healthy means being smart about the foods you eat, knowing what you are eating and making wise food choices.
Healthy eating gives you more energy and the physical well-being to help you and your family stay healthy for today and the rest of your life. One of the best ways to eat smart is to start your day with breakfast. Eating breakfast not only aids in weight management, it fuels the body to help provide energy, better concentration and problem-solving ability throughout the day.
Forty years of breakfast-related studies show that jump-starting the day with breakfast benefits everyone in the family. Breakfast is the first chance the body has to refuel its glucose levels, also known as blood sugar, after eight to 12 hours without a meal or snack. Glucose is essential for the brain and is our main energy source. Blood glucose also helps fuel the muscles we use to be physically active throughout the day.
Breakfast is also very important for weight loss and weight management. It helps curb your hunger and prevents binge eating later in the day.
I learned this lesson early in my working career. Most mornings I slept too late and had to hurry to get to work. I would skip breakfast, thinking I could make it until lunch.
However, most mornings I would find myself eating a candy bar, doughnut or some other high-calorie, low-nutrient food about 10 a.m. I would often feel tired, restless or irritable about midmorning on days that I skipped breakfast. Now I am a regular breakfast eater and feel better all day long.
Since March is National Nutrition Month, this may be a good time to start eating break- fast or eating a more nutritious breakfast. The American Dietetic Association suggests the following ideas to help add breakfast to your daily eating plan:
Ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and a cup of yogurt
A whole-wheat pita stuffed with sliced hard-cooked eggs
Hot cereal topped with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves
Peanut butter on a bagel with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
Lean ham on a toasted English muffin and vegetable juice
Cheese pizza and orange juice
Grilled vegetables (could do the night before) mixed with beans and cilantro topped with cheese
Heated leftover rice with chopped apples, nuts and cinnamon and fruit juice
Happy National Nutrition Month and Happy 'Eating Smart To Stay Healthy.'
Victoria Steinfelt, a Family & Consumer Sciences agent, may be reached at the Yuma County Cooperative Extension, 726-3904.