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Hesselberg’s Health Hints

Hesselberg’s Health Hints:

 What's For Breakfast?

As our Nutrition patients know, one of the first things we have new patients do is the often dreaded diet diary. We do this because we need to know what our patients are eating so that we can gently guide them towards better health. 

Too often, under the heading for breakfast, we find a bagel with butter, a bowl of cereal, the infamous toaster waffle or nothing at all. Here is where the problems start for the day start.

There is usually little or no protein consumed in the morning. So lets say you eat dinner that includes some good quality protein at 6p.m. At 6a.m. the next morning it has been a full 12 hours without protein. With no protein at breakfast, by the time you get to lunch (assuming you have some protein then) your body has gone a full 18 hours without an important source of fuel! 

By eating protein for breakfast you will balance your blood sugar levels (which especially helps diabetics). By balancing your blood sugar levels out you wont have energy spikes and crashes during the day. Eating carbs for breakfast can cause energy crashes throughout the day.

I have had a number of adolescent patients that were having ADD/ADHD type problems at school and guess what they had for breakfast? Lots of empty carbohydrates and white sugar! By getting them to eat some protein in the morning their ability to stay awake and focus turned around quickly. 

Protein acts as a longer term energy source for the body. Starting your day out with a high-quality protein source will help you avoid mid-morning sleepiness and cravings for more carbohydrates. 

To give you an idea of what the Center for Disease Control recommends, here are the daily standards for protein:

  • Children ages 9-11: 34g/day
  • Boys ages 14-18: 52g/ day
  • Girls ages 14-18: 46g/day

Now let’s look at some food sources and their values. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and contain between 5 and 8 grams depending on size. A three ounce portion of meat equals about 21 grams (about the size of a deck of cards). Turkey sausage is a great breakfast food and can be found in organic and gluten free options. Greek yogurt (no fruit) is another good choice and can be jazzed up with fresh fruit or local raw honey. One cup of dry beans has 16 grams of vegetarian protein and can be made into a tasty dip for fresh veggies. 

Changing morning eating habits to include more protein will lead to a more energetic day, better overall health and will be well worth the effort!

Eat to Live Not Live to Eat

Dr. Hesselberg

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