September 6th, 2016
If you did not know, September is Better Breakfast Month. Better Breakfast is a very important part of the Wellness Initiative for a multitude of reasons. We learned as children that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives our minds and bodies the fuel we need to start the day off right. This month, the Wellness Initiative would like to encourage your department to engage in “Better Breakfast” practices. This Wellness Blog is dedicated to helping you get started on the right foot when implementing these practices.
First, the USDA recommends that breakfast contain three components from three food groups: dairy, grains, and fruit. Generally speaking, combining healthy options from these three components will create a nutritious meal that will get the day started right.
According to NPD Group, 31 million Americans skip Breakfast each day. Skipping breakfast has been linked to lower mood and energy levels, in addition to weight gain and even Type 2 Diabetes.
So, if skipping breakfast has been linked to such horrible repercussions, why are so many Americans doing it? The same NPD Group survey found that the most common reasons for skipping breakfast were lack of hunger or desire to eat. However, these issues could be easily solved by grabbing small items such as a piece of fresh fruit, granola bar, or glass of milk on the way out. This small meal could be enough to give Americans more energy throughout the day, without leaving them feeling too full.
Another observed deterrent for eating breakfast has been the time commitment required in the morning. One way to help out with this issue is to make breakfast the night before. For example, trying a simple overnight oats recipe can assure that breakfast is waiting in the fridge ready to be eaten on the go, while still achieving the USDA guidelines!
Sadly, one in five children comes from a home that does not have the means to consistently provide nutritious food. This can be especially troubling when it comes to focusing at school. In a 2013 study, eating breakfast had a positive effect on behavior and academic performance in children. If your department has before-school care, try providing healthy breakfast items for attending children. If your department does not have before-school care, try holding a breakfast food drive where non-perishable breakfast selections can be collected and distributed to families in need.
Another way to implement Better Breakfast Month in your department is to establish one day a week to offer breakfast to your morning program participants. This would be a great way to show your customers the importance of a healthy breakfast (as well as how much you appreciate them). For this morning program breakfast, you could try to offer the following:
Finally, offer printouts of healthy breakfast recipes throughout your community facilities. Inspire people to try new healthy breakfast recipes, which will hopefully result in excitement to wake up and eat breakfast. Be sure to encourage people to share photos of the finished product on social media using the hashtag #BetterBreakfast.
If your department has any tips about how to have better breakfast, we’d love to know about it! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit it on our Wellness Hub here.