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Friday’s Flavor: The importance of breakfast

Do you eat breakfast in the morning?  If not, why don’t you?  Do you not have time; are you not hungry; is there another reason?  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It gives you energy, helps you focus, and has been shown to help in weight management.  

When you split up the word “breakfast,” you get “break” and “fast.”  Eating breakfast “breaks the fast” from the previous night.  Breakfast gives you the first opportunity in the day to eat, which you may not have done in the past eight or more hours.  It gives you the chance to refill your energy stores of glucose.  Your brain and muscles need glucose as fuel in order to properly function throughout the day. 
Studies have shown that those who skip breakfast have increased occurrences of headaches, stomach pain, muscle fatigue, and irritability.  Why would you want to experience these symptoms?  Eating breakfast aids in concentration and problem solving as well as a positive attitude and endurance, which can help students stay focused throughout the day.    
Eating breakfast also curbs your appetite.  If you eat something in the morning, you will be less hungry throughout the day.  This will prevent you from overeating.  If you are less hungry, you may be less likely to eat that candy bar from the vending machine.  Therefore, breakfast can prevent unnecessary snacking, thus aiding in weight management.  

Sometimes you may wake up and realize you only have 10 minutes to get to class, or maybe you are just not very hungry.  There are some small, quick items you can grab on your way out the door.  Nature Valley granola bars are a great option.  They provide an excellent source of whole grains and protein, and they come in a variety of flavors.  Yogurt is another delicious alternative with many flavors.  Fruit-variety yogurts provide a source of dairy, protein, and fruit.  Topping it with granola will add a source of healthy grains as well.  Grab a yogurt, spoon, granola bar, and banana and you are out the door with a quick balanced breakfast.  If you have more time on your hands, try a veggie and ham omelet, whole wheat toast, piece of fruit and a glass of milk to give you a completely balanced breakfast.  
Breakfast can determine the rest of your day.  What and how much you eat may be influenced by whether or not you ate breakfast.  The next time you decide you want to be energized and focused, and make healthy decisions, think about eating breakfast.  
Here are some other tasty selections:
Oatmeal with dried cherries and sliced almonds 
Whole grain toast with peanut butter and cottage cheese topped with peaches.  
Fruit smoothie
Honey nut Cheerios® or other cereal topped with berries 
Carnation® Instant Breakfast
Whole grain bagel with peanut butter topped with sliced bananas and a glass of milk
Ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on an English muffin
Even cold pizza and orange juice!
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