Start the Day off Right

Today begins National Nutrition Month, designated by the American Dietetic Association. The entire month of March is dedicated to promoting healthier eating and educating people about what to eat and how to make it taste good.

Why Eat Breakfast?

The best way to start of the month is to talk about the best way to start of your day, nutritionally speaking of course. We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but do we really know why? Here are some good reasons:

  • Breakfast gives your body fuel for the day.
  • Breakfast boosts your metabolism by getting it started early.
  • Starting with a healthy breakfast sets the trend for the day and helps you to make better choices at lunch and dinner.
  • Starting the day with breakfast can improve concentration at work and/or school.

Make Time

Many of us skip breakfast on a daily basis and are passing the trend on to the next generation. According to the American Dietetic Association, 42% of Hispanic and Caucasian children and 59% of African American children forgo their morning meals. It is understandable that the morning time crunch makes it seem difficult to eat something healthy to start your day, but this is entirely untrue. You need to plan for breakfast just like you plan on what you will wear. Save some time with these tips:

  • Prepare pancake batter or waffle mix, hard-boil eggs, or do anything else time consuming the night before. Keep these in the refrigerator, so they’ll be ready to go in the morning.
  • Eat something basic but filling instead of a long, drawn-out brunch before work. Think a whole-grain bagel or quick scrambled eggs with fresh fruit.
  • Pack something basic and eat on the go. Granola bars, apples, and grapes are all great examples of breakfast foods that travel well.

What You Should Eat

  • Whole grains: It seems like a recurring theme, but whole grains are an important part of your diet. They are packed with fiber (which helps keep you full until lunch) and provide you carbohydrates for your day. Whole grains can be anything from cereal to a whole-grain pita or toast.
  • Protein: Choose a low-fat form of protein like low-fat peanut butter or egg whites. Protein is a necessary nutrient that helps your body function all day long.
  • Dairy: Choosing a low-fat dairy option in the morning gives you calcium, vitamin D and some extra protein. It does not matter if it is an 8-ounce glass of milk or some low-fat yogurt.
  • Fruit: Vegetables make this category also, but for many people breakfast and fruit go together very well. Fruit provides a variety of vitamins and nutrients, depending upon what you select. So long as it is fresh, you are safe with apples, bananas oranges or whatever is your favorite fruit.

Remember not to go overboard when it comes to portions. Breakfast should be filling–but not so much food that you feel bogged down by the digestion process. A whole-wheat pita with some scrambled eggs whites and low-fat cheese served with a banana is not only delicious, it is plenty of food to start your day.

A nutritious diet is the cornerstone of good health. For more serious health matters, you may need to consult with a doctor. Here at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson we offer a full array of medical services for the entire Nature Coast. For free physician referrals and health information, call Consult-A-Nurse® at 727) 869-5498.

Sources:

American Dietetic Association

Livestrong.com

CNN

Related Posts:

Food for Thought and Nutrition

Staying on Track in 2011

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