The benefits of breakfast: Nutrition professor suggests easy breakfast ideas


For many students, breakfast is not an option because it takes too much time to make, and they would rather get a few more minutes of sleep.

Though waking up early for breakfast or spending time making a meal might be a burden, many say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Mary Meck Higgins, human nutrition associate professor, said studies have shown people who eat breakfast are less likely to have weight problems.

“[Eating breakfast] helps the munchies, and people don’t get as ravenous,” Higgins said. “Eating smaller meals helps people lose more weight because they are not starved and don’t eat whatever they feel looks great. People who are not eating breakfast aren’t nourishing their brain, so it is easier talking themselves into eating anything.”

Packing items the night before could help students eat something in the morning, she said.

Higgins recommends at least three or four different foods from the food groups.

“A good reason [for eating breakfast] is mental performance is enhanced – people stay awake and remember better,” Higgins said. “People that eat breakfast get more nutrition throughout the day, and it helps to stay off munchies throughout the day.”

Many people do not want to get up earlier, thinking breakfast is complicated and involves utensils instead of smaller on-the-go meals, Higgins said.

“[I encourage students to] be creative with what they consider breakfast and don’t think traditional,” Higgins said. “Eating something would be better than not eating anything.”

Stephanie Davis, member of Sensible Nutrition and body image Choices, said the group works to promote healthy eating habits for middle school children through college adults.

She said the group has presentations to show students the importance of incorporating a breakfast into their diet and what items make quick, to-go meals.

Incorporating protein into a meal is important because it gives people energy, especially for the morning, Higgins said.

“Breakfast is important because overnight metabolism slows down, and with breakfast, it kickstarts the metabolism for the day,” said Davis, senior in family studies and human services.

Leah Tanking, senior in nutrition-exercise science, said breakfast is a very important meal of the day for her because without breakfast, she cannot concentrate.

“I eat breakfast right when I get up each morning,” Tanking said. “The brain fuels off glucose from your breakfast.”

Tanking said she thinks most college students say they have no time for breakfast or they do not want the calories. Though those are common excuses for not eating breakfast, she said students should just grab something small.

“It is not hard to grab an apple or banana and take it to class – or a healthy granola bar,” Tanking said. “You can run around and eat a banana or a little snack if you don’t have time to eat it at a table.”