How to Break the Fast Right

May 22, 2012

Breakfast is hugely important; retailers get on the bandwagon and make eating a nutritious breakfast easier for your shoppers.

Breakfast is hugely important. Studies show that eating breakfast can improve students' test scores, attendance and behavior. USDA research has found that children who eat school breakfast consume more fruit and milk than those who don’t eat breakfast at school. The Eatery app, by Massive Health found that eating a good breakfast helped people make better food decisions for the entire day--even late into the night. The app tracks users' meals through images and analysis and found that skipping breakfast lead to a 6.3 percent increase in caloric intake in one day.

Starting off the day with a nutritious protein packed breakfast will help keep kids and adults focused, ensures they wont reach for sugary snacks before lunch time, and helps build or maintain strong bones.

A big help to many parents is the School Breakfast Program, which helps approximately 12 million students start their day right with a nutritious breakfast. To reach more students with these healthy breakfasts, many schools are launching breakfast in the classroom programs, grab-n-go kiosks at the school doors, and breakfast-in-a-bag choices.

Retailers can help families whose kids may not have access to school breakfast programs by creating family friendly breakfast end caps. Keep in mind that contrary to what many of us think, Americans generally don't eat enough protein for breakfast. The average breakfast is usually rich in carbohydrates and includes a bagel, muffin or cereal, which on average weighs in at about 10 grams of protein. Protein is critical for maintaining muscle mass, among other things, as proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. They are constantly being broken down, and thus we must replace them through the foods we eat. Protein also helps keep us feeling satisfied longer and our blood sugar more stable – so that we’re not hungry soon after breakfast with no ability to concentrate.

Some great protein-rich ways to break the fast are yogurt with granola or cereal, eggs or a vegetable omelet with whole grain toast, a yogurt-based fresh or frozen fruit smoothie along side cereal, oatmeal, toast or a bagel. Melting cheese atop a whole grain bagel, English muffin, or toast is also a protein rich option. Seed and nut butters like almond, peanut, and sunflower are not only protein rich but also rich in essential minerals as well; serve with sliced banana or strawberries for a serving of fruit. Nut and seed butters are extremely versatile and can even be mixed in with oatmeal to increase the nutrition content of this already nutritious breakfast choice.