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The Importance of Breakfast to College Students

It happens all too often that college level kids begin unhealthy eating habits that can be carried with them their entire life because of a false perception of their limited resources and time. I believe that the core of this issue starts the moment you wake up and decide to skip BREAKFAST !! With my intention in mind, the importance and value for a college student to start their day off right is a topic that must be discussed.

You wake up and crawl out of bed by 7:30 am. You scrub some toothpaste on your teeth, brush your fingers through your hair, and grab your books. You head to the kitchen, take one look at the clock and it's already 7:45. You have a class in 15 minutes and you say to yourself, "there's no time for breakfast, I have to get to class or I'm going to be late!" This is a situation that so many college kids find them self in day after day. What they are not realizing is the nutritional value they've skipped on and the harm they are posing to both their metabolism and their capacity to do well in school. There are countless benefits to eating a healthy breakfast.

There is a reason why the American Dietetic Association says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By starting your day with a healthy breakfast, you will not only boost your energy, but it also increases your attention span, reaction time and brain power (most notably in better memory) . All of which are extremely essential for a day filled with class, homework, and physical activity. Studies have shown that children who eat a healthy breakfast do significantly better in school than those who do not; and there is no difference when it comes to college level education.

Breakfast not only gives you benefits in brain power but also in your physical health as well. Research has shown that some of the leading natural causes of death in America could have been prevented with better health. As a college kid, the cause of your death is a long way away but it is wise to begin to manage your health and habits while you're still young. This includes establishing a healthy metabolism and regular eating routine; both of which involve the inclusion of breakfast to maintain them. When you eat, your body turns the food you eat into glucose, the primary source of energy for cellular metabolism. It is very important to keep up high levels of glucose in your blood as it is the main supply of energy to your brain.

By the time you wake up, you could have gone over 12 hours without food, depending on when you ate dinner. Your glucose levels have drastically decreased by this point and are necessary to be replenished (this is where the boost in energy becomes evident after eating breakfast). So let's say that you are eating dinner and your body knows it's not going to be getting food again for a long time because you're going to skip breakfast the next day. Your body will become familiar with this ongoing habit and decide to store the calories you take at dinner as fat to be used for later.

So now that we know the costs and benefits, how can we manage to establish a good eating schedule that includes ours much needed healthy breakfast? Let's start by outlining the top excuses for not eating breakfast and debunk them.

1. "I'm not hungry / I do not have an appetite in the morning." This is likely to be the effect of late night eating. When we eat late, our stomachs start to digest the food as normal. However, when we go to sleep, the process of digestion is slowed down and by the time you wake up, there may still be food in your stomach yet to be digested.

2.) "I'm cutting calories, I'm not going to eat breakfast today." This is a common occurrence among people who believe that skipping breakfast will help lose weight by cutting calories. The reality is, eating breakfast will actually help you lose weight. Breakfast computes one third of your total calorie intake for the day. While it may feel like you are taking more calories, you are taking them at the most ideal time of day, when you have the most time to burn them off. Also, by filling yourself up with breakfast, you are less likely to eat as much later in the day.

3.) "I just do not have time to eat breakfast." This is probably the number one reason college kids skip out on breakfast. There is not much you can do when you already have an established school / work / sleep schedule. There are ways, however, to take advantage of your down time during the day to prepare for busy mornings when extra time is nowhere to be had. When shopping, be sure to pick up fresh fruits that are great for someone on the go or get cups of yogurt that are quick to eat and super affordable. If your sleep routine is flexible, give yourself an extra 10 minutes in the morning. How long does it take to eat a bowl of cereal in the morning? The key to overcoming your time constraint in the morning is planning ahead.

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