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Toi Degree column: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Wake up, America — let’s make the most of our mornings. Eating a healthy breakfast has never been more important. We’re a nation on the go. The 9 to 5 has become 7 to 6 — or worse. Hours like that require serious nutritional planning. Skipping breakfast might have worked back in your parents’ day, but rushing out the door with a quick gulp of orange juice just doesn’t cut it in 2020. During the month of September, we celebrate “Better Breakfast Month,” a time to reevaluate, rethink, and redo some of your breakfast habits.

I know you’ve heard the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why is that so? Well, there are two reasons why this is true. First,  breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and thus, helps you burn more calories throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. Additionally, breakfast provides energy. Breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fiber. The body needs these essential nutrients and research shows that if these are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day.

Starting your day out right is very important and can have a lot to do with its outcome and how well you are able to make it through. Honestly, we would all love to whip up cheesy eggs, crispy bacon, and sausage at 6:30 in the morning but in the real world, there’s simply no time. So, how do I start my busy day, get out the door on time, and still have breakfast?

The basic formula for breakfast: pair carbs with proteins. Carbs give your body energy to get started and your brain the fuel it needs to take on the day. Protein gives you staying power and helps you feel full until your next meal.

It can be as simple as a combo of:

  • Whole-grain cereals or bread for carbs
  • Low-fat milk, yogurt or cottage cheese for protein
  • Fresh fruit or veggies, again for the carbs
  • Nuts or legumes for even more protein

I would also encourage you to find out what your nutritional needs are based on your age and activity level. You can find information at:  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/dietary-guidelines

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/browse-by-audience/view-all-audiences

You can also find many recipes for each meal of the day on the Choose MyPlate site. Here is a link to some breakfast recipes:  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplatekitchen/recipes?f%5B0%5D=course%3A119

Additional recipes:

https://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/recipes/?occasion=breakfast&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=recipes

https://www.southernliving.com/grains/oats/overnight-oats

https://www.allrecipes.com/article/make-ahead-breakfast-minis/

Now that you know the importance of eating breakfast and have some recipes, go forth, and enjoy breakfast again!

For the most current information on our programs, like and follow us on Facebook at Rowan County Cooperative Extension and you can also visit our website at https://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/.

Toi N. Degree is family and consumer education agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970 or toi_degree@ncsu.edu .

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