(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)
They don’t call breakfast “the most important meal of the day” for nothing. The morning meal can either make or break your day. Don’t eat anything before you start your day and you’ll be feeling grumbly (both in your belly and in your words) by mid-morning and pack breakfast with too much of the wrong stuff, like sugary cereals, and you’ll crash before you get through the first class.
So, what is the best approach to this critical start to the day? Think protein, nutrients and fluids. At LEAP Foundation DC, we support the educational endeavors of our students through opportunities, encouragement and support both financially and through mentorship. We stress the importance of positive lifestyle choices that includes plenty of daily physical activity and a proper diet. Help the youth in your life start his or her day off right with a few easy tips:
It’s important to realize that an entire night of sleep – hopefully a solid eight or more hours – can really deplete the body of nutrients and hydration. It’s no wonder most of us who skip breakfast are described as “hangry.” This sort of hunger can only come from going too long with nothing to eat. Take some time the night before to prep a bit. If it’s eggs you’ll be making, prepare the pan, pull the eggs to the front of the refrigerator and have your plate and fork ready and waiting. Always have a bowl of fresh fruits available, like bananas, apples, oranges and grapefruit. A slice of lemon works great in a hot cup of water and quickly helps the body rehydrate itself.
Breakfast can offer an incredible boost of energy to kick-start the day. Simply re-nourishing after a long night can be enough to stabilize blood sugar levels, offering an energy boost to help get through the morning. Fruits like bananas, watermelon, apples, blueberries and grapefruit each can offer sustained energy, are a good source of minerals that aid in multiple functions, and help reduce fatigue in the body. Nuts, dried fruits and raisins are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein, and offer a great last-minute breakfast option.
When the tummy starts growling mid-morning, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain focus. Starting the day with a healthy meal packed with proteins and fibers can prevent hunger before the lunch hour. Consider making some hard-boiled eggs if mornings are rushed. If you have a little bit of time, make a protein smoothie that’s packed with fruits and greens, or add some granola to Greek yogurt for both protein and fiber.