Hooray For Some Good News
By Lynn Difley
Well, it’s about time we heard some good news and I can’t wait to pass it on. Yes, you and your mother and your grandmother were right, it is good idea to start the day by eating breakfast. There may be a change in menu selection, the bacon, eggs and hash browns have gone the way of the fourteen hour manual labor on the farm day, but the practice of beginning your day with nourishment has now been recommended by all the nutrition and health experts. I’m astounded that we are finally told to go ahead and eat, after so many admonitions about what not to eat.
The reasons we need to gather around the dinette before taking off are numerous. Our body requires a steady supply of energy to function well. The brain especially needs nutrients to function well, since it has no storage units (such as spare tires, love handles, etc) to draw from. If you do not have an ongoing supply of food supplies, the body interprets the lack as a famine and sets the metabolism dial on a fasting mode. This enables you to survive should there be no food sources, but in our day of abundant supply, it means our body conserves every available calorie as a savings supply, and that we don’t want. The first meal of the day helps keep the metabolism switch on burn mode, which means the calories we consume will be used for body functions and not hoarded in unsightly storage units. Studies show that one of the common factors in successful weight loss is eating breakfast. Hooray for breakfast!
What is the perfect morning meal? We know that for optimal nutritional value whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, dairy and healthier sources of fat are the best choices. You may not want to go for fish, beans and veggies first thing in the morning, but you can concentrate on the complex carbohydrates, fiber, fruits and low fat dairy.
Our tradition of cereals (thank you Dr Kellogg) serves us well, but it can be loaded with dangerous pitfalls.
The rows of cereals to choose from are overwhelming and can be confusing. How’s a poor consumer to choose from the brightly colored boxes and oversized print claiming ultimate health benefits? Just as you would with other food choices, read the label. Never mind what the cereal box shouts out, check the small print on the back, the nutritional facts. Look for a cereal that provides at least 6 grams of fiber per portion. The more the better, but this is the minimum amount of fiber you want to spend your hard earned money on. While you have out the magnifying glass, how much fat is in the cereal? There should be little or none, and if there is some, it should be from seeds and nuts, not added oils. I don’t even need to mention avoiding trans fat, do I ? What about sugar? This can be a challenge, finding one with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. The sweetener to avoid is high fructose corn syrup, others are not much better, but try to find one that has the least amount of added sweetener. You won’t need sodium or iron. Your daily multivitamin should supply all your needs, don’t depend on cereal for that.
Use fresh fruit as your sweetener, as well as source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This time of year there are plenty of fresh choices, look in the farm stands and farmers markets to get fresh fruit that has the most bang for the buck.
Naturally you want to pour on milk, but can you cut the fat without feeling deprived? If you’re used to full fat, drop it down to 2 % then down to 1% and then nonfat, by then you’ll have learned to love the flavor without the fat.
So here you are with your recommended high-energy fuel source for the day. Rejoice in the fact that for once we are told to indulge, slice a few more berries into the bowl and eat up, it’s good for you.