Ellingson: Breakfast is important

Caitlin Ellingson

The phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” is really not a myth.

If you’re anything like the millions of other college students in the world, you know how our schedules can be frustratingly busy and because of that, we usually have very little time (if any) to eat breakfast in the morning. When we’re in a rush we don’t think about what’s healthy and what’s actually terrible for our bodies. However, there are plenty of alternatives out there that are healthier than eating a sugar-filled pop tart, or nothing at all.

Many of us are awake and starting our days early in the morning and our desire to sleep as late as possible wins over trivial things like food. It can get to the point where you don’t even think about eating before class or work because it’s no longer part of your daily routine, and your body might not recognize that it should be recharging in the morning and could feel a “crash” later. But there are many reasons why people should make time to eat in the morning.

One reason people tend to skip breakfast is that they think by not eating a meal, it will shave off calories from their daily intake and over time they will shed unwanted pounds. That logic seems simple enough, but the opposite has proven to be true. There is a better correlation with eating breakfast and weight loss than there is by skipping it entirely.

People who skip breakfast often tend to eat higher calorie snacks later on in the day or eat too much at the next meal. Research also shows that people accumulate more body fat if they eat fewer, larger meals compared to eating smaller meals more frequently — even if they consume the same amount of calories. So if the reason you decline breakfast is based on wanting to lose weight, you might want to rethink that motive because eating something earlier in the day will actually help you maintain or lose weight in the long run.

Another added bonus to breakfast is that it’ll give you needed energy to get through your day, especially in the mornings when you’re probably starving as you’re stuck in class. Otherwise, you might feel physically drained by the afternoon and unable to focus or pay attention, as well as feeling lethargic and fatigued overall. If you thought your classes were bad enough as they are, it would be significantly worse if you have to sit through that lecture as your body is revolts against your poor nutritional choices.

But there never seems to be enough time in the day, especially in the morning, to make room for something as “inconsequential” as breakfast. Well, in reality it is very easy to allot an extra five extra minutes to pour some milk onto cereal or eat an apple as you get ready for the day. The bigger issue is that people oftentimes don’t even think about it until they actually are out of time or already in class.

So what kinds of things can you eat quickly in the mornings that would still be healthy? For starters, fruit is always an excellent choice. Things like bananas, apples, grapes, oranges and many others can be found virtually anywhere, and if eaten at appropriate portions can be very beneficial to your body. The same goes for foods like vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, eggs, toast, oatmeal, and cereal — as long as they aren’t covered in sugar. Many of these options are easily prepared and take only a few minutes to eat. For those that are running late and don’t have time to take a break in your morning, try keeping some granola bars or fruit bars on hand that you can take with you.

These options are also convenient for those of you who are relying on meal plans on campus, because if you make time to go to the dining halls and ignore the more fattening options that are served, there are plenty of these healthy alternatives to choose from.

So start your day off right and allow yourself the extra time for breakfast in the morning. It can make a huge difference in how you feel about your day and your body.

Caitlin Ellingson is a senior in journalism and mass communication and environmental studies from Milo, Iowa.