To eat or not to eat breakfast

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.
            However, 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

1)      On 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)

2)      When 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.

3)      When 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.