Tag Archives: cereal

Gotta Have Breakfast

Everyone has heard the rumor that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, it’s true.  Not only are breakfast foods delicious, making the right breakfast choices can get your day going with a healthy and happy start, but the benefits don’t end there.  Eating within half an hour of waking up can increase resting metabolic rate, improve short-term memory and help control weight.

Skipping breakfast means your body hasn’t been fed in up to 15 hours and isn’t producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat.  If you wait for lunchtime to eat, your body doesn’t start working, and burning calories, until you’re five hours into your day.  By eating breakfast you give your system something to work on all morning, causing it to produce those enzymes and use more energy from stored fat.  In fact, eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to increase resting metabolism by up to 10% for the remainder of your day.

Breakfast will also give you a burst of energy, increasing your ability to concentrate and your strength.  Numerous studies of kids who eat breakfast have shown that they perform better in school than those who don’t eat a morning meal, and a study of teens in the Journal of Adolescent Health found high-energy foods for breakfast improved short-term memory, proving that kids need healthy morning foods just as much as adults.

Missing breakfast doesn’t slow down your metabolism, but does delay turning it on.  The biggest issue with people who skip breakfast, and tend to weigh more than those who don’t, is that missing breakfast often leads to overeating later in the day.  Overcompensating for a missed meal by grabbing whatever is handy can lead to high calorie food intake, overeating and bad choices.  Another downside to this kind of eating is that lots of easy to eat foods contain fast burning refined carbs and sugars, the reason for those tired feelings after lunch.

The most important part of your morning meal is its content.  Doughnuts, sugary cereals or highly processed toaster snacks will negate most of breakfast’s benefits.  Be sure to pick healthy foods like whole grain cereal and bread products, eggs without yolks, fresh fruits, low-fat yogurt and other lean proteins.  High energy foods, like bagels, have lots of calories and they add up quickly.  Fiber rich foods like oatmeal, berries and walnuts allow you to eat more without all the calories.

For help planning your breakfast menu or to schedule your Kitchen Makeover, email Info@FitNicePT.com today.

A Balanced Diet Part II: Grains

At the base of the Food Pyramid is Grains, also known as the starch group.  The first, and largest, of the five major food groups contains any food made from wheat, oats, rice, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain.  Grain based foods such as pasta, bread, and cereal, are divided into two types: whole grains and refined grains.

Whole grains are made with the entire grain seed, which contains the bran, germ and endosperm.  Examples of whole grains are whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and brown rice.  These foods contain plenty of dietary fiber, helping to manage weight and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.  Whole grains are also rich in complex carbohydrates that take your body time to digest, providing long term energy and preventing the blood sugar spike often associated with eating refined grain products.

Refined grains, unlike whole grains, are milled to remove the bran and the germ.  This results in a loss of B vitamins, iron and dietary fiber.  Some types of refined grains are white flour, white bread, and white rice.  ‘Enriched’ products have B vitamins, folate (folic acid aids in preventing cancer and birth defects), and iron replaced after the milling process, but still contain little dietary fiber.  Because they contain little dietary fiber and lack nutrients, refined grains, or simple carbohydrates, are less filling and easy to overeat.  Your body also turns simple carbohydrates quickly into sugars, leading to a rapid increase in blood sugar and a subsequent crash when consumed.

Roughly half of daily caloric intake should come from the grain group, so six to eleven servings per day are recommended based on activity level and age.  A serving of grain is considered equivalent to one slice of bread.  This can also be half an English muffin, half cup cooked pasta, three cups of popcorn, or one cup of ready to eat cereal.  The key to making successful grain choices is reading labels and finding a way to work whole grain products into your eating schedule.  When reading labels, select products that list at least one type of whole grain as the first ingredient.

For more information on the Grain group, check out http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains.html and get ready for the next segment, A Balanced Diet Part III: Vegetables.