Why Breakfast Really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

In modern society, we often hear the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But in dozens of countries around the world, lunch holds a place of cultural importance. In many studies, researchers have found that lunch may be even more important for school-aged children than any other demographic. Most schools don’t provide breakfast; therefore, lunch is the only meal that students have to give them energy throughout the day.

The Benefits

Eating lunch raises your blood sugar level in the middle of the day, which gives you the energy you need for the rest of the day. It also enables you to focus and concentrate for the rest of the afternoon. According to Live Strong, if you’re feeling sluggish, eating even a small lunch can renew your energy and help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the next several hours. For kids, lunch is crucial because this is when they get their nutrients and vitamins for the day. A balanced lunch can improve three channels: physical development, cognition, and behavior. Without these, it is nearly impossible for a student to develop mentally or physically. Many well-designed studies, such as one from the University of California, Berkeley, have shown that “students at schools that contract with a healthy school lunch vendor score higher” on statewide achievement tests.

lunch time.jpg

Lunch Breaks

Everything throughout a school day is fast paced, and students rarely have a chance to relax. A lunch break is essential for a successful day. According to a psychologist at UC, Davis, “Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking.” Innovation happens when people change their environment. Therefore, moving locations, even if it’s just to another room in the same building, is crucial to keep your mind active throughout the day.

In addition to taking a lunch break, eating a full meal on your break will lead you to having a smaller dinner. Eating late at night can lead to digestive and weight problems. In contrast, eating a full meal earlier in the day can help you maintain a healthier weight. If you are unable to get a full meal in, then try to eat something that is high in protein, such as yogurt or nuts. Also, it is important that when you do eat your lunch, you try to eat at a slow pace. According to a Harvard Mental Health article, this will prevent you from experiencing bloating, acid reflux, and indigestion. When you eat slower, you feel full faster, and you’ll eat less.

Besides the feeling you get when you eat a tasty meal, eating lunch has so many benefits that will help you out on a daily basis, and impact your mind/body for a healthier future.

Making Family Meals Happen (Even When Schedules Are Busy)

 CC by 2.0  Nick Lee

CC by 2.0 Nick Lee

Today’s families are busy, busy, busy. Between full-time work, school and extracurricular activities for the kids, volunteer opportunities, errands, and everything else on your plate, it can be difficult to get the whole family sitting around the dinner table each evening. While this was once the norm in American families, simple logistics have made a traditional family dinner less frequent than it once was. If you’re sick of eating on the fly and missing this time of unwinding with your family over the evening, here are some tips on getting everyone together for family dinner more often.

Be Flexible With Timing

You might prefer to eat at 6:00 on the dot, but if you or your spouse works until 5:30 or if the kids are busy with sports until you pick them up at 6:00, this is nearly impossible. If you have young children, it’s easy to feel the crunch and try to get them fed early so they can have their baths and get to bed at a decent time.

During the week, it might not be feasible for everyone to meet at the same time to enjoy a meal. Consider ways you can still come together. Perhaps younger children can be fed dinner as soon as you get in from work, but can still join you and your partner (as well as any teens in the family) while you eat your dinner at the table shortly before the younger ones go to bed. The little ones can eat fruit or cheese and crackers, which allows them to have their bedtime snack while engaging in conversation and relaxation with the rest of the family.

If you have only adults and teens in your home, consider pretending you are in Rome and eating your dinner later in the evening. It might not be the best strategy if you are on a diet, if you are prone to heartburn, or if you need to watch your blood sugar in the evening, but if your stomach and health are up for it, try eating at 8:00 pm or so, just a couple of hours before bedtime. This gives everyone a chance to finish up homework and get their activities done before dinner.

Try Family Breakfast

Breakfast might be a hurried affair in your house, but if you’re unable to meet to eat dinner, perhaps getting up just 15 minutes earlier will allow everyone to find a common time to enjoy their cereal, smoothies or scrambled eggs together at the table. This will not be a drawn-out affair in most families, but it can be nice to sit down together for a few minutes to drink coffee and discuss your plans for the day. Keep it simple: Whatever people are normally grabbing for breakfast is perfectly fine; there’s no rule that says you must all be eating the same thing or that the meal enjoyed together must be prepared by one person.

Make Eating Together on the Weekends a Priority

If you can’t get everyone together for dinner during the week, all hope is not lost. Make it a priority to enjoy at least one leisurely meal together on the weekends. It might be Saturday lunch or Sunday breakfast, but strongly encourage everyone to be at the table at the appointed time. You don’t necessarily have to meet at the same time every weekend; decide during the week what time works best for everyone, and then don’t allow anyone to make non-emergency plans during that time.

Sitting around the table with your family might seem like a luxury that you don’t have time for, but making room in your schedule to do this at least weekly can improve family relationships, help you connect with your family members, and give your children treasured memories and traditions to look back on and continue once they have their own families. Make it a priority to set the expectation for your other family members, and chances are good that they will appreciate it.