Breakfast – the most important meal of the day?

20626665 - happy man eating cereal for breakfast in kitchen looking at cameraYou’ve heard it many times before: “Don’t skip breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.”

But is it really true? How has breakfast earned its reputation?

A good night’s sleep is important to your health. Your body uses that time to recuperate and restore. But when you wake up, your body also needs to refuel. That fuel comes from the food you eat. So starting your day with a nutritious meal really is important.

Eating breakfast is also important to help you control how you eat throughout the rest of the day. Research has shown that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight. According to the research, even though “people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index.” Why? One reason is because if you skip breakfast, you are more likely to snack on less healthy choices throughout the day.

But how can you get that fuel you need every morning? We all know mornings can sometimes be crazy. Or maybe you just don’t feel like eating when you get up. A little planning can help you make sure you start your day off strong. Setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier will give you just enough time to have a few minutes of quiet while you eat. Not going to happen? Opt for grab-and-go options. If you eat within a couple of hours of waking, you’ll still benefit. Consider these simple, quick and healthy breakfasts:

1. Fruit is always a good choice. Choose fruits that don’t require extra effort. Apples, bananas, pears are obvious choices. How about a bag of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries for something a little more fun? Add cheese for protein and you are good to go.

2. An English muffin topped with peanut butter, cottage cheese or avocado can go with you. If you have a little more time, add a cooked egg, spinach, tomato and cheese; then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. For a special treat, try topping with this Swiss cheese mix topped with blueberries.

3. Yogurt. Plain or with just about any topping you can imagine. Nuts and seeds, granola, fruits and berries, honey, even hot sauce!

Breakfast is important to help you and your body get going. That said, you may actually need to delay eating for a little while in some cases. For example, if you exercise first thing in the morning, then you might want to wait until after your workout. The most important thing to remember is simply to make smart choices. Your body will thank you!

Time to get to sleep

50325497_SThe new year is well underway. In 2017 more Americans planned to make a resolution than have done so in years past. According to a Marist Poll, the number one resolution for this year was “To be a better person.” Traditionally, losing weight has held the top spot. It’s still there, tied at number two with exercising more.

One thing that didn’t make the list is to get more sleep. Interesting, considering that improving health is in the top ten. And getting enough sleep is critical when it comes to your health.

Sleep is one of those things that the body desperately needs to function properly. Unfortunately, it is also one of the things that Americans seem to think they can do without. In fact, over a third don’t get enough sleep. And according to the National Institutes of Health, sleep deficiency has been “linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” If that isn’t bad enough, lack of sleep can have serious negative impacts on your brain and your emotions. Not only does your body recharge while you sleep, but your brain does too. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, then you are likely to have trouble making decisions (not to mention how good those decisions you do make will be). You’ll also have a harder time controlling your emotions.

And then comes the stress. Just as stress can make it difficult to relax and sleep, lack of sleep can cause you to be more stressed, which sets off a vicious cycle. When you sleep, your body and brain are getting the rest necessary to be able to handle the normal stress that comes with daily life.

Get some sleep so that you can be a better you. Some simple steps can help:

  1. Plan to get enough sleep. Set a bed time for yourself and stick to it.
  2. Find ways to relieve stress daily. Regular exercise is a great outlet for stress. A massage can also help relieve anxiety and stress.
  3. Relax before you hop into bed. Don’t exercise or eat right before turning in. Get off the tablet or phone. Have a little quiet time to give your brain and body time to wind down before you turn off the lights.