There are hundreds (we counted, hundreds!) of phrases connecting food and mental health. You are what you eat, as well as various breakfast cereal slogans and statements about the importance of breakfast, and the pre-eminent threat of “every day you don’t eat breakfast is one day off your life!” have been driving Americans to consume breakfast for the past half-century.
Despite all this peer pressure, only 44% of Americans eat breakfast daily! The USDA counts some incredible statistics about breakfast and daily living. September is better breakfast month, so we’re going to take some time to dive into this odd national month and discover why!
|Americans who eat breakfast every day||44 %|
|Breakfast skippers who are obese||22 %|
|Americans who believe breakfast is the most important meal||93 %|
|Breakfast meals that include eggs||12 %|
|Children who eat sweetened cereal for 1 or more breakfasts a week||73 %|
|Parents who eat breakfast with their children||79 %|
|School children who eat breakfast regularly||80 %|
|of those, Percent who ate breakfast at home||59 %|
|of those, Percent who ate breakfast at school||31 %|
|of those, Percent who ate food from a local store||18 %|
|Percent of fast food sales that are breakfast meals||21 %|
Despite the obvious correlations of parenting with likelihood of eating breakfast, there are many benefits to getting in that first meal of the day. One of the most overlooked in modern thought is the relationship between mental health, stress, and breakfast. In the last decade, the National Institute of Health has made several studies on the correlation between stress and breakfast – specifically to the amount of cortisol, or stress hormone, that is released in the human body when a morning meal has been consumed.
Not only did the NIH discover that people are less stressed when they consume breakfast, but also affected likelihood of smoking, alcohol consumption, and likelihood of having a healthier diet.
It’s been clearly established that just eating breakfast is a must-do for any well-functioning adult, but what about the “better” part? Simply put, sugary cereals are not the answer to your dietary needs. Pre-making a breakfast that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals is the best way to start the day. What does that mean? Ditching the carb-filled, nutrition-less cereal and bagels and replacing with a real meal.
Protein: Eggs or egg whites, chicken or steak, protein shakes.
Vitamins and Minerals: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, flax seed, nuts.
Eating well usually means eating simply. Don’t go crazy with fad diets or extreme methods of eating. For more information on great methods of getting the right nutrition, check out our blog on the Mediterranean Diet>>