JEFF TIEDEMAN: Breakfast at its bestStart your day off with a nutritious meal.
Breakfast always has been a big part of my life, with the exception of a few years in the mid- to late-1980s and early 1990s, when I forsake a healthy lifestyle, which eventually caught up with me.
Without getting into too many details, I got back on the straight and narrow, which included starting my day with a good breakfast.
Some of my first childhood memories are of breakfasts that I used to share with my Grandpa and Grandma Menard one winter when we lived with them.
Just 3 years old at the time, I still can remember waking up to the sound of Grandpa’s electric razor and following him down to the kitchen for some toast and homemade tomato juice.
After we moved to our own house — and until going away to college — I would have an egg, two pieces of toast and tomato juice, if Dad fixed breakfast, or oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Malt-O-Meal or CoCo Wheats if Mom made it.
These days, I just about always have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
Most important meal
No matter how you look at it, a healthy breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast refuels your body, jump-starts your day and lays the foundation for lifelong health benefits.
Breakfast is especially important for children and young adults, according to the American Dietetic Association. The ADA says that children who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to meet daily nutrient requirements, concentrate better, have better problem-solving skills, have better hand-eye coordination, be more alert and more creative, miss fewer days of school and be more physically active.
But that doesn’t mean just any old breakfast. According to an Environmental Working Group study, if you’re feeding the kids Honey Smacks, Apple Jacks or the like for breakfast, you might as well just give them a chocolate chip cookie or Twinkie. They are among a large number of cereals that contain as much or more sugar than many desserts.
The Environmental Working Group recommends nutritional breakfast alternatives, such as eggs, fruit smoothies or oatmeal.
For adults, the benefits are numerous, too. When you eat a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to eat more vitamins and minerals, eat less fat and cholesterol, have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning and have lower cholesterol, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
So, what are the basics of a healthy breakfast? According to health professionals at the Mayo Clinic, here’s what forms the core of a healthy breakfast:
— Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers or Melba toast.
— Low-fat protein. Examples include peanut butter, lean meat, poultry or fish or hard-boiled eggs.
— Low-fat dairy. Examples include skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.
— Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice beverages without added sugar or fruit and vegetable smoothies. (Choose low-sodium versions of beverages, though.)
Eating a healthy breakfast also is a good way to control your weight. According to a recent article in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, eating breakfast — but not high-fat bacon and eggs — helps curb hunger and prevent overeating later.
And this time of the year, I’m sure a lot of people are looking to do just that.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.