The breakfast club

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, experts – and parents – tell us every morning as we rush out the door. But most students struggle to juggle hectic class schedules, exams, sports and extracurricular activities. Something must go and breakfast is easy to skip.

A recent poll in a Lincoln health class, taught by Dr. Timm Ross Goldhammer, found the majority of students claimed they averaged better on exams when they ate breakfast, but only 15 of the 26 students polled ate breakfast every day.

A second poll indicated that five of the 15 students who ate breakfast consumed primarily empty carbohydrates with little to no nutritional value.

Those five said that a breakfast of low-nutrients and carbs seemed better than skipping it altogether.

“Eating an unhealthy breakfast on a regular basis is slightly better than eating nothing at all,” said sophomore Lukas Weinbach, a health student. You might not have much energy, “but at least you wouldn’t feel hungry and indulge in more food than normal during lunch and dinner.”

While it might seem true that eating a bag of chips or a donut is better than nothing at all, a breakfast of empty calories does little to fuel the body or the brain, research shows.

Students notice it. They may feel energized at first, but eating low-nutrition carbohydrates often in the form of high-sugar juices, pastries or sugary cereal will leave a student sluggish as the day progresses, according to Goldhammer. This is similar to someone who ate no breakfast at all.

“At first I feel energized,” Jamie Grovom, a senior, says about a breakfast of foods with few nutrients. “But I quickly come to realize that the food I ate made me feel nauseated and drained of all energy, feeling weighed down.” When she hits that wall, she eats healthy fruits and vegetables to regain energy.

With all the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast, why don’t more teenagers start their day with a  nutritious meal? Many students in Goldhammer’s health class say they simply do not have enough time, and many choose sleep over breakfast, believing sleep would be more beneficial.

But Goldhammer says breakfast is equally important. Breakfast ensures the proper intake of nutrients needed throughout the day.

“Those who consume breakfast on a daily basis have consistently higher intakes of many micronutrients that gives your body a jump start at reaching its daily nutrient needs,” he says.

Missing breakfast can lead to opposite results and an overall lesser intake of micronutrients. This can lead to fatigue and drowsiness throughout the day.

Breakfast also impacts attendance and academic performance.

“Students who skip breakfast are tardy and absent from school more often than children who eat breakfast on a regular basis,” Goldhammer says.

Some students believe that they do not have enough time to make what is considered a healthy breakfast; however, a healthy breakfast does not have to be complicated, Goldhammer says.

Giving your body the nutrients it needs in the morning doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as buying a nutritious snack from Westside, the corner store frequented by LHS students.

“Preparing a good breakfast can be as quick and easy as splashing some milk over a healthy cereal, making oatmeal or a healthy smoothie,” Goldhammer says.

 

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