Prairie Fare: Skipping breakfast affects rest of day

"Mom, I don't eat breakfast anymore," my teenage daughter told me one day. "Is that right?" I responded. Actually, I was not overly concerned at this summertime reply considering that she has been getting up at 10 a.m. or later.

"Mom, I don't eat breakfast anymore," my teenage daughter told me one day.

"Is that right?" I responded.

Actually, I was not overly concerned at this summertime reply considering that she has been getting up at 10 a.m. or later. She eats when she arises, so her breakfast is really brunch.

However, when school time rolls around, I will check in with her in the morning to be sure she fuels up before leaving or takes her breakfast on the go.

Unfortunately, 60 percent of teenagers regularly skip breakfast, which can affect learning and food intake for the rest of the day.


Researchers at the University of Missouri studied a group of breakfast-skipping teenagers for three weeks. Some teens continued to skip breakfast while the other two groups ate breakfast meals containing 500 calories. One group consumed a higher amount of protein than the other.

Making use of surveys and brain scans, the researchers studied how breakfast helps manage appetite and food intake.

According to their results, either of the protein-containing breakfast meals was effective in reducing hunger throughout the morning, but the meal with more protein (yogurt and waffles) left the students less hungry throughout the day.

The brain scans showed that breakfast intake led to activation of the areas of the brain associated with appetite management.

Fuel your body and brain with nourishing food in the morning. Plan ahead with these breakfast tips:

- Aim for variety. Choose foods from three or four different food groups, such as a grain, protein, fruit and milk, for breakfast.

- Have some protein. Some researchers have shown that people who eat a protein-containing breakfast performed better on tests involving thinking and concentration.

For example, having a glass of milk, container of yogurt, a piece of cheese, peanut butter on your toast or a hard-cooked egg would add protein.


- Choose cereal wisely. When shopping, look high on the shelves instead of at eye level or lower, where the kids' cereals often are placed. Read the Nutrition Facts labels carefully, and compare fiber, sugar content, vitamins and minerals.

- Choose whole-grain cereals and breads. To select whole-grain foods, check the first couple of items on the ingredient list.

For example, look for oatmeal, whole wheat or whole grain. Look for a health claim on the package.

- To save time, set the table before going to bed. Put the cereal box(es), bowls, spoons and glasses on the table.

- If you want a heartier breakfast, such as pancakes or fresh muffins, measure out the dry ingredients in a bowl the night before. Mix the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, etc.) and store in the refrigerator. Add the wet ingredients in the morning.

- Make extra muffins and freeze them. Warm them in the microwave oven.

- Make a breakfast casserole the evening before and refrigerate.

Pop it in the oven in the morning.


- Do you have a minute? Wrap some cheese in a whole-wheat tortilla, microwave 20 seconds. Serve with a cup of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.

- Use a blender to make a smoothie with yogurt, fruit juice and fruit.

- Try peanut butter and banana sandwiches or leftover pizza and milk or 100 percent fruit juice.

Here's a nutritious recipe for your morning meal courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Program.

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups flour

¾ cup sugar


3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon allspice

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

¾ cup canned pumpkin

2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen, chopped)


Preheat oven to 400 F. Sift together dry ingredients (flour through allspice) and set aside. Beat oil, eggs and pumpkin together until well blended.

Add the wet ingredients (pumpkin mixture) to the dry ingredients.

Stir until moistened. Fold in chopped cranberries. Spoon mixture into paper-lined muffin cups.

Bake at 400 F for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins. Each muffin has 200 calories, 7 grams (g) of fat, 32 g of carbohydrate, 2 g of fiber, 230 milligrams of sodium and 50 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin A.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.

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