Hey Everyone! Earlier today I was reading an article about the biggest health stories of 2012, and it made me sit down and think. What I found interesting – and this makes me a little smug – is that 6 out the top 15 stories concern, at least in some way, nutrition. That means that 40% of the top health and wellness stories focused on by the media in 2012 focused on nutrition-related topics. Further, the top news story of the year discussed the first revisions to the national school lunch program in 15 years, which included greater access to fruits and veggies, every day, skim milk, more whole grains, less fat and sodium, and portions tailored to a child’s age. All of this coverage on improving nutrition, especially in our school lunch program, has me thinking – wouldn’t it be best if we all revamped our daily meals?
In the midst of growing up, somewhere along the way, you start to feed yourself and make your own choices. Sometimes, I think it was a lot easier when mom was in control of what foods I ate. There would be dinner everyday at 5:30, and there was only so much to choose from to pack your lunch, or to eat for breakfast. Usually (and hopefully) moms try to provide well rounded meals and healthy food for their kids. Luckily, mine did (thanks mom!). Then, suddenly, one day you have all the responsibility and free will to eat what you want and when you want, and even further down the road, you eventually have other mouths to feed as well.
It took the whole of 2012 to revamp the meal program for the nation’s youth. So, in 2013 take a look at improving your own meals, remembering that change is a journey and doesn’t happen overnight. If you aren’t a breakfast eater – become one. If you eat breakfast – improve it. I will give you my brother as an example: In college he ate Pop-Tarts on the way out the door, sometimes he’d even wash them down with a coke, IF he at breakfast at all. Recently, he has bragged to me that he has made the switch to Cliff bars. And guess what? He recently got married as well, so maybe he doesn’t have total control over his food choices anymore. Nonetheless, that is a change in the right direction. With more whole grains, and less simple sugar, I am sure he feels full for a longer period after eating, as well. At breakfast, strive to include lean protein, whole grains, and fruit, like low-fat greek yogurt with ½ cup of your favorite whole grain cereal and some berries.
I can tell you it is important, or even really encourage you to make changes, but I also want to give you my inside knowledge as to why health professionals tell you to eat breakfast, and also why protein is important at breakfast. Some of this you will have probably already heard, such as eating breakfast improves standardized test scores in school children. However, for adults, breakfast is more important in that it starts up your metabolism for the day. We homo sapiens have been doomed by our heritage to survive. What this means is that in order to survive through cold winters, droughts, and famines, our bodies evolved a complex metabolic process that adjusts based upon a number of factors, primarily, how long it has been since we last ate a meal. However, here in the United States, where food is plentiful, nature does not affect the foods supply as it would our ancestors. This means our bodies are programmed to be efficient and to store energy to survive, but we happen to be living in an environment of plentiful food where such programming can easily cause issues with weight gain. If you don’t eat breakfast and are not hungry, that means your body is going to continue to expend as little calories as possible. When the time between meals becomes too great, your body’s evolutionary programming kicks in to store as many calories as it can, because it thinks you are starving. The solution to this dilemma? Eat breakfast, and give you metabolism a boost!
The next improvement to breakfast is I want you to try and eat lean protein at breakfast. After sleeping, and the accompanying long fast overnight, your body needs protein. Protein provides the building blocks for your muscles and aids in the processes of healing and immunity. As you sleep, your body is busy repairing the wear and tear to your muscles from movement and exercise, and your immune system is up and running fighting the bad guys. By the morning, the amino acid pool (protein is digested into amino acids in your body) is depleted and must be refilled. There are 20 amino acids that our bodies need, and your body can produce 12 of them on it’s own. However, there are 8 which are essential amino acids – meaning they come from the diet only. We need to give our body these essential amino acids to replenish the pool to continue important bodily functions throughout the day, and night. Therefore I am calling for protein at breakfast, please!
Today we have discussed some ways to revamp breakfast, and hopefully I have gotten you thinking. Check back for the next post on lunches as we continue with revamping meals for 2013!
If you want to read more about the top health stories read more here: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/12/07/biggest-health-stories-2012/