Making Breakfast a Daily Habit

breakfastIf you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a hundred times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

In general, kids, teens and adults who eat breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and eat healthier throughout the day. Without breakfast, we can get irritable, restless, and tired.

So make time for breakfast — for you and your kids!

Sometimes timing is the biggest issue with getting everyone fed and out the door. It’s always good to know in the back of your mind “Ahhhh, my kids can get a healthy nutritious start to their day at their Kids Eat Smart Breakfast club at school – what a relief!”

Breakfast eaters typically cruise until lunch, while beaming with energy – compared to those who skip the meal and tend to snack before lunch and throughout the day, and tend to be drawn to unhealthy, high-calorie options.

On those days when we skip breakfast you might find yourself cruising the vending machines or looking around the office kitchen for a snack to tie you over until lunch. If breakfast isn’t part of your morning routine, use these three tips to help you develop a new daily habit

1. Set a goal

The first step to any new habit is setting a realistic goal. If you are not eating breakfast at all, it is unrealistic to believe you will suddenly starting eating it every day.

Is your work week consistent or is every day different? Are you a person that thrives on routines or do you enjoy a more free-flowing schedule?

Answering those questions will help you decide what end goal is best for you and whether it will be to eat breakfast every day or five days each week (some people like to be a little more relaxed about their breakfast routine on the weekends).

Once you have decided on the long term goal, start with a third of that as your beginning goal (2-3 mornings a week let’s say). Once you achieve that beginning goal several weeks in a row, increase by one day for the next few weeks. Continue increasing your short term goal until your long term goal is achieved.

2. Make Time

Now that you have the goal, the next step is to set aside time to achieve it.There are a variety of activities or tasks that take up the morning. Identifying how you spend your time can help determine where you can make time to eat breakfast.

Do you hit the snooze several times before actually getting out of bed? Frequently get lost in social media updates or checking e-mail? Try to fit in household chores like emptying the dishwasher or throwing in a load of laundry before leaving the house? How about being busy managing the time of other people in the home? (I know I have been guilty of all of the these!)

Do a time audit regarding how you spend your time each morning for several days. Review your audit to determine what you might be able to change in your routine to claim 15 minutes in the morning for your breakfast.

My plan of the breakfast attack is to munch on some breakfast while catching up on the latest morning news – then I have two strikes off the morning list – news and a full belly!

For those of us that are lucky enough, maybe making breakfast a routine at work when you arrive could work for you?

Dropping your kids off to their Kids Eat Smart Breakfast Club at school can ensure the kids are getting the nutritious start to the day they need and off you run to work maybe a little earlier than everyone else at the office to enjoy your breakfast at your desk or in the break room.

3. Plan Ahead

Now that you have identified the need for change in the morning routine in order to reach your goal of eating breakfast, you need to develop a plan.

Perhaps you will plan to avoid checking e-mail or social media until after you have had your breakfast. Maybe you have to plan ahead and pack lunches or get the backpack together and next to the door the night before so you have time to sit down with the others in the family at breakfast.

Breakfasts will never just happen, it has to fit into a plan that becomes a new routine.

Another major part of your plan will include the food you will eat. Spending a little time before grocery shopping to plan your breakfast meals for the week will ensure you have quick, nutrient rich meals on hand each day.

Check out www.kidseatsmart.ca for more information on breakfast menu ideas and tips!

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

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