Please see the drop-down menu under Food Topics in the top navigation bar for links to pages on other food topics.
Know how. Know now.
From border to border in Nebraska, UNL Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of our state — its youth, its families, its farms and ranches, its communities, its economy. Please check these websites for more "know how, know now" information.
By choosing to complete this mail lesson, you have taken the first step in learning more about the importance of nutrition and its relationship to good health. Breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to start the day.
To complete this lesson:
- Carefully read this lesson. It should take about 15-20 minutes to complete.
- Answer the questions at the end of the lesson.
- When you are finished, place the questions in the prepaid envelope and place the envelope in the mail.
“Starting your day without breakfast is like trying to drive a car without fuel.”
We have all been told “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Why do you think it is important for adults and children to have breakfast everyday? This mail lesson will discuss:
- Why is breakfast important?
- Where to start?
- Good breakfast tips
- Make time for breakfast
- What makes a healthy breakfast?
- Traditional healthy breakfast options
- Non-traditional breakfast options
- Breakfast on the runRead the label when shopping
Why is breakfast important?
By the time you wake up in the morning, it has been 8-12 hours since you have last eaten. When you are told, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” take note! By morning, your energy levels are low. Breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to start the day.
- Breakfast helps you stay alert and can improve your mood and ability to pay attention.
- Eating breakfast improves your overall health and well-being. You will be less tired and sleepy in the mid-morning hours.
- Children that eat breakfast are more creative, do better in class, perform better on tests, and have fewer behavior problems.
- Adults who eat breakfast tend to do better at work, snack less, and get more nutrients each day than adults who do not eat breakfast.
- Research shows skipping breakfast does not help you lose weight. In fact, people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight.
Where to start!
Start your day with a healthy meal. When it comes to choices, nothing beats a bowl of cereal. People who start their day with cereal eat less fat during the day, eat more fiber, and get more nutrients than people who do not eat cereal. Cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It provides nutrients that may be missed at other meals. Drink the milk in the bottom of your cereal bowl to get even more vitamins and minerals! Choose cereals that are low in sugar, like bran flakes or oatmeal. If you like sugar coated cereals, try to eat them less often or mix them with healthier choices.
Good Breakfast Tips
- Try to include foods from at least 3 food groups for breakfast. Example: 1 cup low-fat yogurt (milk group), 1 medium orange (fruit group), and 1 slice of whole-wheat toast (grain group).
- Plan ahead to have food on hand so you do not have to skip breakfast.
- Choose cereals low in sugar.
- Save money by preparing breakfast at home instead of eating at a fast-food restaurant.
Let’s compare the difference!
Eating out: $2.35 for English Muffin, egg, cheese sandwich from fast food restaurant.
Eating in: $0.79 for English Muffin, egg, cheese sandwich prepared at home.
By eating the same breakfast at home, you could save $1.56 each day. Multiply that for the whole month – that’s a savings of $46.80.
Make time for breakfast. Breakfast does not have to take a lot of time. The main thing is to make it a part of your morning routine.
- Plan an easy breakfast, like peanut butter and jelly toast.
- Set out breakfast items like bowls, spoons, and cereal boxes before going to bed.
- Put homework, book bags, and lunchboxes in the same place every day.
- Make a “to-go” breakfast the night before. For example: peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana.
- Get up 10 minutes earlier.
- Stock your kitchen with quick-to-fix breakfast foods.
What Makes a Healthy Breakfast?
- Try to eat a breakfast that includes foods from at least 3 of the 5 food groups.
- Limit breakfast foods that are high in sugar or fat, like sugar coated cereals, doughnuts, pastries, and fried foods.
- Choose foods with less sugar and fat, like unsweetened whole-grain cereals,pancakes, or waffles with fruit, and fat-free or low-fat milk.
If you do not like traditional breakfast foods, do not worry! Eat any nutritious foods you like for breakfast. There is no rule that says breakfast has to be eggs or cereal; just make sure it is healthy.
Traditional Healthy Breakfast Options
- Bowl of cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk and fruit
- Peanut butter toast
- Pancakes or waffles with fruit
- Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
- French toast
- Hot cereal
- Eggs or a veggie omelet
Non-Traditional Healthy Options
- Slice of pizza
- Fruit smoothies
- Tortilla with cheese and salsa
- Cottage cheese and fruit
Breakfast on the Run
- Grab some fruit and go
- Make your own trail mix: cereal, nuts and dried fruit (raisins)
- Glass of milk or breakfast shake
- Hard boiled eggs
- Apples and cheese crackers
- Whole grain muffins
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- Bagel with peanut butter and raisins
Read the Label when Shopping
- Check the ingredients list. Many ready-to-eat cereals list sugar first. Look for cereals that list whole grain ingredients first, such as whole wheat.
- Look at the Nutrition Facts label. Choose cereals with less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.
- Look at the serving size listed on the Nutrition Facts label. What most people think is a serving, is often different than the serving size listed on the label. Be aware that you may be eating more than one serving.
- Buy store brands or no-name brands. They are usually cheaper then name brands and taste just as good.
After completing this lesson, you now know why “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”