It might sound too good to be true, but starting the day by eating breakfast can boost energy levels, increase brainpower and promote a healthy weight.
The catch is that a breakfast that lacks protein and is high in sugar and carbs, like a bowl of cereal, won’t do the trick. In fact, it will just make you feel hungrier.
Eating a wholesome breakfast at the start of each day can curb hunger and help you to eat less throughout the day, all the while giving you valuable mental and physical energy during your morning classes and activities.
Foods like whole grains, lean protein, non-fat dairy and fruits and vegetables can all be part of a healthy breakfast. These foods are powerful sources of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and can help you meet your daily nutritional guidelines.
Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains such as rolled or steel-cut oats (not instant) and whole wheat toast take longer to digest than sugary cereals. Eating things like sugary cereals can cause your blood sugar levels to go up and then come crashing down, making you feel hungry all over again. Protein is essential because it provides lasting energy. Powerful sources of protein include eggs, turkey bacon, chicken sausage, Greek yogurt and nuts or nut butters.
For a quick breakfast, try whole grain granola (the less sugar the better) and berries stirred into Greek yogurt. You can also make a smoothie from low-fat milk (or a non-dairy alternative) blended with frozen berries and a banana. If you’re in a rush, a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts is a much better option than having nothing at all.
Studies have shown that people who skip breakfast tend to eat larger meals and higher calorie foods later in the day. In contrast, studies find that people who do eat breakfast are better able to control their hunger throughout the day.
Breakfast can also help fight morning fatigue and fuel your brain. Research shows that students who eat breakfast are more likely to remember lecture material than students who do not.
As you settle in to your new schedule this semester, try making breakfast a habit. It can be all too easy to underestimate the power of the most important meal of the day, but with a little effort you’ll soon realize the truth to the saying.
Breakfast, not dessert
If a Pop-Tart, a bowl of cereal or Starbucks is your go-to breakfast, consider these statistics:
One cup of Honey Nut Cheerios contains 12 grams of sugar, which is more than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.
One serving of Lucky Charms cereal is made up of 37 percent sugar.
1 package of Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts contains 400 calories and 38 grams of sugar – more than a Hershey’s chocolate bar.
A blueberry muffin from Starbucks contains 29 grams of sugar. According to American Heart Association guidelines, that’s five grams over the total daily limit for women and only seven grams short of the daily limit for men.
A tall Caramel Frappuccino has 45 grams of sugar. That’s more than twice the amount of sugar in TWO servings of Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream!
For a healthier bowl of cereal, look for sugar values below 10 grams. Original Cheerios or KIND granola are two low-sugar, whole grain choices.
Information from foodpolitics.com.
Resources on campus
Eating breakfast at Umphrey Lee before or in between morning classes can be a convenient solution for on-campus residents. Order a spinach omelette, grab a bowl of oatmeal, or top yogurt with fresh fruit and granola at the salad bar for a healthy breakfast right on campus.
SMU registered dietitian Karin Hosenfeld offers free nutrition counseling for all undergraduate students at the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.
Mon. 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Tues. 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Wed. 8 am – noon, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Thurs. 8 a.m. – noon
By appointment only.
Call 214-768-2277 to schedule an appointment.
Visit smu.edu/recsports/nutrition for more information.
Recipe: Blueberry Oatmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup water/milk/milk substitute
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Place liquid, oats and a pinch of salt in a pot and bring to a low boil on medium-high heat. Once it is bubbling, reduce heat slightly and stir frequently for an even texture.
When the liquid has started to absorb but the oats still look runny, add the blueberries, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Continue stirring until the blueberries start to burst and your desired consistency is reached.Remove from heat, add vanilla, serve.