That first meal of the day is commonly known as breakfast. If you divide this compound word into two parts, you’ll see it’s made up of “break” and “fast.” To fast means to go without food, so “breakfast” means to break the fast you’ve been observing since you went to sleep the night before!
From the time we were very young, we have been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it true?
Although research on the short-term effects and long-term effects of eating breakfast are mixed, we do know that our bodies respond positively from eating something in the mornings.
There are two groups of people for whom breakfast is key: athletes who need to boost their exercise performance and individuals facing demanding cognitive tasks, such as an exam like the ACT and SAT. I want to focus on the latter.
BREAKFAST AND EXAMS
For children, particularly those younger than 18, studies have shown that eating a meal first thing in the morning has a positive influence on cognitive performance in school, especially on task-oriented behaviors.
One study found that school children perform better on tests when they’ve eaten breakfast. Ultimately, eating breakfast gives your body another chance to get the nutrients it needs. The study’s author says, “If you spread out your nutrients, it gives your body the best cycle for metabolism.”
TWO FUN FACTS ABOUT BREAKFAST
Fiber and protein are the most important nutrients to consume for breakfast. To maximize the minerals and vitamins you get first thing in the morning, you should eat a breakfast made of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Consider foods like oatmeal, eggs, peanut or almond butter, fresh fruit, yogurt, and smoothies without added sugar. Remember that an ideal breakfast will energize you for the whole day.
You can have something sweet for breakfast (sometimes). If you’re aiming for sustained energy, then a sugary treat first thing in the morning is not the best choice. If you’re focused more on weight management, then you should note a 2012 study found that people consuming healthy diets who periodically had something sweet in the morning reported fewer cravings throughout the day. Now, that doesn’t mean you should have a chocolate croissant for breakfast every morning, but it does mean that the occasional breakfast treat isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Just make sure you know the right foods to eat for breakfast on test day.
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