Each morning, a large number of Australian children are leaving the house without having eaten.
Of more concern is that one-quarter go on to have soft drinks and one in 10 eat chocolate, ice-cream or potato chips as their first meal of the day.
Nutritionally, they are loading up on foods high in salt, sugar and fat, without the goodness of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients obtained from a healthy breakfast.
Here is why eating breakfast, the most important meal of the day, is worth the effort.
Five reasons to eat breakfast:
1. Kick-start your brain: Breakfast literally means to "break the fast" since your last meal. After fasting overnight, eating a healthy breakfast restores the body's glucose levels, the brain's only energy source. Research shows that people who eat a balanced breakfast have better concentration and are more likely to be efficient at work.
2. Get your body pumping: Research shows that breakfast speeds up our metabolism, which helps us to burn food faster. It's the fibre and carbohydrates in a good breakfast that help you feel fuller for longer and prevent snacking.
3. Boost your nutrient intake: Studies around the world consistently show that breakfast eaters have a better overall diet. People who eat breakfast generally have a lower fat intake, more fibre in their diet and significantly higher intakes of almost all the vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, iron and magnesium.
4. Help manage your weight: People who eat breakfast are more likely to be able to maintain a healthy weight. Studies suggest a high-fibre, high-carbohydrate breakfast helps you feel satisfied and fuller for longer, which may lead to less snacking. Plus you're more likely to make healthier choices during the rest of the day.
5. Boost your mood: Breakfast eaters tend to have a more positive mood, are calmer and less stressed.
Breakfast is undeniably a vital part of your day's nutritional intake. Next time you are running out the door on an empty stomach, you should consider grabbing an on-the-go breakfast drink or a piece of fruit and some cereal to eat when you have arrived at school or work.
Alternatively, get up a little earlier and have breakfast first - that way it doesn’t get left out and you don't feel rushed.
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