Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

July 12, 2011
  • Choosing a hearty breakfast, such a this peach baked oatmeal, can help you throughout the day. See Joe Fleischman's recipe below.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Special to The Herald-Mail

Your mother always told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day.  

As usual, Mom was right.

There are many physical and mental benefits to eating breakfast every day. Many documented studies have shown that people who choose to eat breakfast on a regular basis have healthier weights, lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and also have shown improved concentration and performance, whether it be in the classroom or in the office.  

Interestingly enough, dieters often choose to skip breakfast, hoping that it will cut down on total caloric intake and promote weight loss, when nothing could be further from the truth.  

The term breakfast comes from an English term meaning "breaking the fast." But skipping breakfast and waiting until lunch time to eat can mean that the fast can easily be 15 hours or more.

If you choose to go this long without eating, hunger will get the best of you. People who skip breakfast tend to eat more at lunch and throughout the day than breakfast eaters, thus making up for the calorie deficit obtained by skipping breakfast.  

People who eat breakfast also tend to make healthier food choices throughout the remainder of the day. In general, people that eat breakfast also consume higher amounts of dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc and iron as well as lower fat, cholesterol and total caloric intake.  

Breakfast, like other meals, should contain protein, carbohydrate in the form of whole grains, and a small amount of fat.  

Adding a lean source of protein to your breakfast will help keep you feeling satisfied until lunchtime, thus eliminating mid-morning snacking.  

Eggs are probably the most well-known breakfast food and provide the highest, biological-value protein. Try incorporating whole grains to boost the dietary fiber intake by choosing cereals that contain 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving or more.  

Fresh fruit is a great way to boost intake of dietary fiber as well as vitamins, minerals and healthy antioxidants. Low-fat milk and yogurt provide a good source of protein as well.  

You can even throw some vegetables into your breakfast by making vegetable-filled omelets. Be sure to check sugar content when choosing cold cereals and breakfast bars. If sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup are in the top five ingredients, keep searching for a healthier option.  

One of the biggest reasons for skipping breakfast is usually linked to not enough time. You might need to make it a priority and wake up 15 minutes earlier to have a sit-down breakfast. Make things easier on yourself by placing nonperishable items out on the table the night before.   

Try some of the following options if you choose to eat on the run:


  • Whole-wheat English muffin with a scrambled egg, low-fat cheese and tomato.
  • Veggie omelet with a slice of whole-wheat toast.
  • Yogurt smoothie made with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt.
  • Hard-boiled egg with a piece of fresh fruit.
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat or skim milk.
  • Low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit and whole-grain cereal.

Melissa Tewes is the clinical nutrition manager at Meritus Medical Center. She has 16 years of experience as a registered dietitian and is also a certified personal trainer.

By Joe Fleischman

Special to The Herald-Mail

You have always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Now, it can also be the tastiest.  
This simple adaptation of the classic breakfast dish will have you jumping out of bed even on the coldest winter mornings.  
While peaches are used in this recipe, don’t discount blueberries, raspberries or any other fruit you enjoy. This dish will work with any of them.
For a morning timesaver, try making the oatmeal in the evening, refrigerate overnight and pop in the oven when you wake up.  

Joe Fleischman is executive chef at Meritus Medical Center. He has 20 years of experience as a professional chef, culinary instructor and speaker.

Peach baked oatmeal

2 tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup clover honey
1 1/2 cups, soy milk
2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups quick oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup skim milk (optional)  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Melt margarine, pour into 9-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Place sliced peaches in dish and sprinkle with cinnamon and honey, reserve.   
In a medium mixing bowl, combine soy milk, eggs and vanilla. In a large mixing bowl combine oats, baking powder and salt.  
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Pour oatmeal mixture over peaches and shake dish to settle. Place dish in oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and peaches have softened. Serve oatmeal in shallow bowl topped with milk.  
Serves 4 to 6.

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