While April Fools’ Day is often filled with memorable pranks, there is one topic that is no laughing matter – your health. Health professionals have a responsibility to advise clients/patients on healthy lifestyle choices, including the importance of a nutritious breakfast. People need to understand that the quality of breakfast is important and that the morning meal should be both healthy and satisfyingto promote tangible health and wellness benefits – benefits that in themselves often encourage clients/patients to continue the breakfast habit.
Unfortunately, many of the typical breakfast options in today’s marketplace contain added sugars and may be lower in the nutrients needed for optimal functioning, such as protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. This April Fools’ Day, don’t allow your patients/clients to be fooled by a subpar breakfast. Educate them on the importance of building a better breakfast. For instance, unlike breakfast pastries and high-sugar breakfast cereals, egg breakfasts are protein-rich and have been associated with a variety of health benefits (1-4). One large egg also contains only 70 calories, varying amounts of 14 essential vitamins and minerals and 6 grams of high-quality protein, making it a great breakfast option that stands out among the crowd.
Studies have indicated that consuming high-quality protein, like the protein in eggs, for breakfast may help individuals feel more satisfied, helping them to consume fewer calories throughout the day, and may also play a role in weight management (1,2). Moreover, another study showed that the protein in eggs provides steady and sustained energy because it does not cause a surge in blood sugar or insulin levels, which can lead to a rebound effect or energy “crash” as blood sugar levels drop (5).
While tricks abound today, don’t allow the readily available and less nutritious breakfast options to mislead your clients/patients into making less than optimal breakfast decisions. Instead, encourage them to choose an option like eggs as part of a balanced breakfast and to pair it with vegetables, whole grain toast, fruit or low-fat dairy. This can help them feel satisfied longer while giving them the boost they need to conquer the day ahead – all with a sense of humor!
- Leidy HJ, et al. Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: a pilot fMRI study. Obesity, published online May 5, 2011.
- Leidy HJ, et al. Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. BJN, published online September 2, 2008.
- Rampersaud G, et al. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. JADA 2005; 105:743-760.
- Pollitt E, et al. Fasting and cognition in well- and undernourished school children: a review of three experimental studies. AJCN 1998; 67:779S-784S.
- Layman DK. Protein quantity and quality at levels above RDA improves adult weight loss. J Am Coll Nutr 2004; 23(6):631S-636S.