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Breakfast myths debunked by a dietitian

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to school means back to routine for many families. It’s easy to let set mealtimes slide during the lazy days of summer, but nothing brings us back to a schedule like the arrival of the school bus!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – that’s no myth. Now is the time to fuel the brain and get rich nutrients in our bodies that power us through busy mornings. Many people think there are rules to follow to “make breakfast count” that aren’t necessarily healthy for you in the long run.

Here are four breakfast-related myths I’ve found that just aren’t true :

Myth 1: You’ll lose weight if you skip breakfast.
Most people who skip breakfast make up those calories throughout the day in a negative way. Often the foods they choose later on in the day aren’t as nutritious as many typical breakfast foods are, like whole grain cereal, milk, eggs, yogurt, whole grain toast or peanut butter. The hungrier you become, the easier it is to grab the quick food that probably isn’t the best for you. Planning what you’re going to eat each day is really beneficial to your health.

My favorite healthy grab-and-go items:

  • Kind bars
  • Almonds or other nuts
  • Fresh fruit 
  • Milk or almond milk in a water bottle
  • String cheese
  • Dried fruit (i.e. a 100 calorie boxes of raisins)
  • Individual servings of cottage cheese
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Bag of cereal

Myth 2: You can only eat “breakfast foods” for breakfast.
It’s important to also include protein and carbohydrates at breakfast and there are many foods to choose from. Examples of foods with carbs are breads, tortillas, or leftover whole grain rice or pasta. Fruit is considered a breakfast food, but did you know whole fruits also provide carbs? Fresh, frozen without sugar and canned fruits without added sugar are all great options.

Protein at breakfast can really help carry you through the morning. Eggs, Canadian bacon, deli meat, low-fat milk, cheese, low-fat yogurt, a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese, a handful of nuts or meat left from dinner all supply protein.

Myth 3: If I’m not hungry at breakfast, my body is telling me I don’t need to eat.
It’s important to fuel your brain in the morning after an all-night-long fast. If you’re not hungry in the morning, stop late-night snacking! Close the kitchen after dinner and see how much hungrier you are in the morning.

Tips:

  • Get your breakfast ready the night before. Put out the whole grain cereals and set the table – you’ll save precious sleep time.
  • If you don’t usually eat breakfast, start small as you get used to eating in the morning until it becomes a habit. Have a whole grain English muffin with peanut butter, yogurt with granola and berries, or an energy bar that’s rich in protein and low in sugar with a glass of milk.

Myth 4: I need to eat right away or it doesn’t count.
It’s important to “break the fast,” but sometimes we can’t eat right away. Work with your situation and eat as soon as you can – it counts. Your body is waiting for the fuel it needs to power you up!

Last but not least, a tip for parents: eat with your kids! They look at what you do and follow your behavior. If taking the time to eat together in the morning is important to you, it will be to them, too, and will likely become a lifelong habit.

Tags: breakfastback to school

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