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LAMAR – Eating breakfast benefits your body just like adding gas benefits your car according to Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
“After several hours of not eating while we sleep, our bodies need a new supply of glucose or blood sugar,” said Roberts.
The brain needs a new supply because it has no stored reserves. We also need to eat to supply blood glucose for muscles for all of our activities throughout the day.
“Research shows that people who eat breakfast have better attitudes toward work or school and higher productivity in the late morning. They also have an ability to handle tasks that require memory better than non breakfast eaters,” said Roberts.
Breakfast can also help children be good students.
In fact, research shows that children who regularly eat a morning meal tend to perform better in school and often score higher on tests.
“A hungry child has less ability to concentrate, decreased problem-solving ability and decreased muscle coordination,” said Roberts.
According to Roberts, one of the best ways to get children to eat a good, healthy breakfast is to model that healthy habit yourself.
“If you are really not hungry in the early morning, start with something light like toast or juice. Then carry a healthy snack such as fruit, yogurt, boiled eggs or a peanut butter sandwich with you to finish your breakfast later in the morning,” said Roberts.
Roberts admits that mornings can be hectic and that may make you feel like you don’t have time for breakfast.
“You can save time by setting the cereal and bowls out the night before. Add a sliced banana and milk the next morning and you have served a healthy breakfast,” said Roberts.
It is also okay to have non-traditional foods for breakfast like cheese slices, whole grain crackers and fruit.
“Research also shows that breakfast eaters tend to eat less fat throughout the day. People who don’t eat breakfast tend to have higher cholesterol levels. These things indicate breakfast can contribute to weight control and reduced risk for heart disease,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact one of the nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Tammy Roberts, (417) 682-3579; Christeena Haynes, (417) 345-7551; or Dr. Pam Duitsman, (417) 886-2059.