Are you one of those people that rarely has time for breakfasf? Too busy rushing out the door for work? No food available for a quick breakfast? Or would you rather get an extra 15 minutes sleep? Research shows us that one in four people skip breakfast during the week, and one in six adults never eat breakfast.

Unfortunately for the breakfast skippers, research shows us that breakfast is the most essential meal of the day.  Extensive research in Australia has shown that skipping breakfast causes the following problems:

bfast* More weight gain issues than people who have breakfast

* Reduced mental performance, attention, and learning capacity(important for our kids)

* Greater fatigue issues

* Poorer food choices for the rest of the day

* Less nutritious diets than people who eat breakfast

Breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period, and gives our metabolism a kick start. When your body receives food in the morning, it tells your brain that you’re going to need to start working to digest it.  This wakes up the system and warms up the metabolism so it’s ready to work throughout the day.  When you don’t eat breakfast in the morning, your body thinks that it nees to conserve the energy it has because it isn’t getting any more through nutrition.  This actually slows your metabolism down, which results in a decrease in the amount of calories you burn all day long. Experts say that aroung 25% of our daily food intake should come from breakfast.

Here are some other reasons to make breakfast part of your new year’s resolution:

* Breakfast provides a significant proportion of the day’s total nutrient intake and offers the opportunity to eat foods fortified with nutrients such as folate, iron, B vitamins and fibre. Essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can only be gained from food, so even though your body can usually find enough energy to make it to the next meal, it is these vitamins and minerals that you need early in the day to maintain your health and wellbeing.

* People who skip breakfast tend to nibble on snacks during the mid-morning or afternoon. Often these snacks are low in fibre, vitamins and  minerals but high in fat and salt. Without the extra energy that breakfast can offer, breakfast skippers can feel lethargic and turn to high-energy food and drinks to get them through the day. And remember that high enery foods and a slow to start for you metabolism will probably result in weight gain. If you do skip breakfast, try a nutritious snack such as fresh fruit, yoghurt, a low-fat muffin or a wholemeal sandwich to help you through that mid-morning hunger.

* Glucose is the body’s energy source. It is souced from the food we eat. After you have gone without food overnight, your glycogen stores are low. Glycogen is our reserve of glucose that is stored in our muscle tissue and liver, where it is released slowly overnight to keep your blood sugar levels stable.  If all of the energy from the glycogen stores is used up overnight, your body starts to break down fatty acids to produce the energy if needs. Without carbohydrate, fatty acids are only partially broken down, which can cause reduced energy levels. Eating breakfast restores your glycogen stores and boosts your energy levels, as well as your metabolism for the day.

* Compared to children who regularly eat breakfast, those who skip breakfast tend to consume fewer kilojoules overall, yet they experience the same rates of overweight and obesity. There are a number of theories for this.  There is some evidence that large meals are more likely to lead to weight gain than smaller, more frequent meals.  This is because excess kilojoules eaten during one sitting are stored as body fat, once the glycogen storage areas are full. People who skip breakfast are usually ravenous by lunchtime and tend to eat more to compensate.

Research has shown that school children are more likley to eat breakfast if easy-to-prepare breakfast foods are readlly available at home.

Some quick breakfast suggestions to help not only our children, but ourselves, to eat breakfast more regularly are:

* whole-wheat or wholegrain breakfast cereals, such as wheat biscuits, museli or bran cereals

* porridge, such as quick oats

* fresh fruit

* wholemeal or multgrain bread to toast

* muffins or crumpets

* toast toppings,such as baked beans, eggs, cheese or spreads

*fruit or plain yoghurts

* fresh fruit juice

* low-fat milk

Whatever the case, try and get into the healthy eating habit of eating breakfast on a regular basis, or at the very least eating a mid-morning healthy snack instead.