Wake up to the benefits of breakfast

Ninety-three percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet less than half (44 percent) are eating breakfast every day. Here are a few ways breakfast helps to improve your day.

Many Americans, including children, fall far short of consuming the recommended amounts of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ “food groups to encourage” -- whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables. Research shows that breakfast eaters are more likely to consume better-quality diets than breakfast skippers, and breakfast can help people meet the recommendations.

Regular breakfast eaters consume higher intakes of fiber, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc and iron as well as fewer calories, and less dietary fat and cholesterol. Those who skip breakfast are also less likely to make up for missed nutrients at other meals during the day.

Making sure kids have breakfast can help them through their day, as well as setting them up for healtheir weights over a lifetime.

Studies suggest that adults, children and adolescents who regularly eat a breakfast that includes high-fiber foods such as cereals, calcium and low-fat milk products have a healthier body weight and/or body mass index.

According to findings from The National Weight Control Registry, almost eight in 10 adults who maintain a 30-plus-pound weight loss for at least a year eat breakfast every day. Breakfasts that are high protein, higher in fiber, higher in fat yet also low energy density may have a greater satiating effect (state of feeling full) and may improve the healthfulness of your overall diet by reducing the amount of food eaten over the rest of the day.

Eating breakfast may provide other potential health benefits including promoting heart, digestive and bone health; reducing risk of metabolic syndrome; increasing physical energy; and helping children do better in school by improving memory, alertness, concentration, problem-solving ability, test scores, school attendance and mood.

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