Breaking The Fast

Breaking The Fast

March 10th - March is National Nutrition Month sponsored by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). This national program focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year''s theme is "Eat Smart, Stay Healthy."

For tips on making good food choices and including a variety of foods in your diet, nutrition reading materials, recommended books including "Dieting for Dummies" and tons of smart nutrition information go to

Penny Styzek is a Happy & Healthy Products, Inc.™ distributor in Rockford, Illinois. Penny is a registered dietian and has much to offer in healthy eating and nutrition tips. Read on for her most recent newsletter.

Breaking The Fast

By Penny Stryzek, RD. LD
Nutrition Solutions, IL

Another year has gone and a new year brings us a chance to improve our health by: achieving a healthy weight, increasing exercise, decreasing fat intake, and increasing fruit/vegetable intake to name a few. One way to improve our health is by eating a healthy breakfast.

Working in weight management I find many clients (over 50%) tend to skip breakfast.

By skipping breakfast, the metabolic rate may drop 4-5 percent below normal which can result in a weight gain of 1 pound every seven weeks even if calorie intake stays the same. Research shows that people who eat breakfast burn more calories in the morning and throughout the day. Eating breakfast breaks our fast after a night of rest, replenishes our energy stores and provides us with essential nutrients we need to start our day.

Breakfast eaters do more than jump-start their day—they tend to have more nutritious diets overall than skippers. People who eat breakfast are more alert and are more creative and energetic.

Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Breakfast helps regulate hunger and makes it easier for the body to steadily burn calories throughout the day. A morning meal of healthful, slow-burning foods such as whole grains and fruit can control your appetite until midday, making you less likely to overeat. Studies and professional observation shows that people who do not eat breakfast tend to make up for the calories later in the day, often with whatever convenience food is nearby instead of healthier choices. A number of studies from the National Weight Control Registry show that people who successfully maintain a significant weight loss eat breakfast just about every day.

In the British Journal of Nutrition (1997) researchers reviewed past studies and found that:

  1. Breakfast eaters take in significantly less fat over the course of a day than non-breakfast eaters (28% of calories as fat versus 40%) and less cholesterol.
  2. Breakfast eaters tend to have more fiber in their diets than breakfast skippers, a factor that may help curb appetite later in the day, aiding weight-loss efforts.
  3. Those who chose to eat breakfast, especially those who eat fortified cereals, have more nutrient-rich diets.
  4. Breakfast eaters tend to be leaner than those who skip the morning meal. Dieters commonly believe that skipping breakfast is a good way to cut calories and lose weight.

Children are an age group in which breakfast can make a difference. A nutritious breakfast can provide approximately one-fourth of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for key nutrients such as protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. In addition, educators agree that hungry or undernourished children tend to be irritable, apathetic, and lethargic; conditions that interfere with learning. Physical consequences of hunger include stomach pain, headache, muscle fatigue, and sleepiness. Psychosocial complaints such as anxiety, nervousness, anger, fidgety, hostility, indecisiveness, confusion, and unhappiness are also common.

Many people who are used to skipping breakfast have a hundred reasons why they are not able to fit breakfast into their day: I don’t have time; I’m not hungry in the morning; I don’t like breakfast foods; I am on a diet; and if I eat breakfast, I feel hungrier all day.

Individuals who feel too rushed in the morning may consider waking up 10-15 minutes earlier to fit breakfast into the schedule. For those who think getting up earlier is impossible, a breakfast on the go can still be healthy. Good breakfast-to-go choices are:

  • Peanut butter on a bagel with a small banana and reduced-fat milk.
  • A hard cooked egg with whole grain crackers and fruit juice.
  • Pita bread stuffed with sliced turkey, ham, roast beef, etc.
  • A slice of left-over pizza.
  • Low-fat yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and a bagel.
  • Whole grain bread with a slice of cheese.
  • Be Happy & Healthy® Snacks such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, train mix. etc.
  • Be Happy & Healthy® Breads with low fat cream cheese, peanut butter, etc.
  • Blend a drink using your favorite fresh fruit, Fruitfull® bar, low-fat milk, and added powdered milk. This can be made the night before enabling you to drink at home or on the road.

Again, breakfast is a meal that presents a perfect opportunity to get more servings of whole grains, fruits, dairy, and low fat meats/cheese which helps you meet the minimum number of serving of grains, fruit/vegetables, dairy and protein. Depending on your choice, breakfast can boost your intake of fiber, calcium, vitamins, and minerals for the day.

If you would like more information about this article, you can contact Penny at