When my alarm goes off at 8:00am every morning
I have a decision to make: should I get up and make myself go to breakfast or
hit the snooze button? Although, there
are some days when I am very tempted to take the extra 20 minutes of snooze
time, I usually force myself out of bed and go to breakfast. Why?
Because if I don’t I know that by 10:00 am my French teacher’s lecture
will be drowned out by the thundering sound coming from my stomach.
I am also aware that with the hectic nature of college life sometimes breakfast
seems more like a luxury than a reality.
As one of my friends told me today, “I only treat myself to breakfast on
the weekends.” Though many nutritionists
claim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, many college
students I know are highly functioning without eating breakfast.
According to Monica Reinagel,
host of the health podcast
“Nutrition Diva” “the evidence for the improved cognitive function with young
adults[from eating breakfast] is not as dramatic [as it for younger children]”
However, other evidence
suggests that skipping breakfast does affect a student’s ability to focus
during classes. In a study of the
breakfast-benefits for college students,conducted by Gregory W. Phillips, a professor
in the Division of Natural Sciences, college students who ate breakfast tended to
have higher exam scores on the grades of General Biology Exams. This may be due to the fact that while we
sleep, the glucose levels in our body are depleted. "Without glucose," explains Terrill
Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, our brain simply doesn't
operate as well.”
Breakfast may also may
have an impact our body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. Have you ever noticed that when you skip
breakfast you’re more likely to snack on fatty and sugary foods throughout the
day? A study of 19,000 Americans called NHANES III
found that non-breakfast eaters are more likely to overcompensate for the loss
of important vitamins and minerals at breakfast by eating more “fat-rich, high-energy
foods later in the day.”
Research also suggests
that skipping breakfast may cause our metabolism to slow down. Elisabetta
Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke University Medical School, Diet
& Fitness Center, explains that "When you don't eat breakfast, you're
actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you're not producing the enzymes needed
to metabolize fat to lose weight."
In addition to having an active
knowledge of the impacts eating breakfast has on our health, it is equally
important to have an understanding of what types of foods we should be eating
at breakfast. Monica Reinagel, host of “Nutrition Diva” podcast,
suggests that we follow the rule of 5 at breakfast, by eating foods with at
least 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and less than five grams of sugar.
Here are three of my favorite breakfasts
days when I have more time in the morning I ask for 3 scrambled egg whites with
Fetta cheese, spinach, and tomatoes (high protein, low fat) and have a piece of
whole wheat toast (high fiber)
I don’t feel like waiting for eggs, I usually heat up some almond milk (high in
protein) in the microwave and mix it with two packs of plain Quaker oats
oatmeal (low sugar). On top of the oat
meal, I mix yogurt, nuts, and fruit (high in vitamins) for additional flavor.
I am in a rush in the morning I grab a banana (high in potassium) and mix it with
some plain Greek yogurt (high in protein) and honey for an extra energy boost
before my classes begin .
So the next
time you have the option between pressing the snooze button or grabbing a bite
to eat before classes, consider the health benefits that come along with eating
breakfast. If you’re like me, you may
end up feeling more energized.