Healthy advice: the importance of breakfast and whole grains

On world cereal day, Nestle Middle East nutritionist Maria Baghdoyan explains why breakfast is the most important meal of the day and how 'to go whole grain'
By Maria Baghdoyan
Wed 07 Mar 2018 10:56 AM

It’s not a myth or an old wives’ tale, Nutrition Experts around the world recommend everyone, young or old; a healthy balanced breakfast, everyday!

Why? Because it provides the body with the energy and nutrients needed to kick-start the day and needed to prepare the body for a day full of activities. It is very critical for children and is considered the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that:

Breakfast: the most important meal of the day

• Children who eat breakfast regularly have a more balanced diet including more fruits and more milk and healthier lifestyles than those who skip breakfast. In addition, research shows that children who skip breakfast may not make up for the nutrients they miss when skipping that meal.

Figure 18. Percentage (%) of children who do not consume breakfast regularly (on a daily basis)

Abbreviations: KSA: Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia; UAE: United Arab Emirates

So what is a healthy breakfast?

The key to a nutritious breakfast is variety, which can be achieved by including as many of the four food groups (Breads and Cereals, Fruits & Vegetables, Meat &Legumes and Milk & Dairy) as well as the right quality of food choices. But not all breakfasts are the same: Quality and Quantity matters!

Breakfast cereals: contributor to a nutritious breakfast and a healthy balanced diet

A nutritious balanced breakfast such as a bowl of whole grain breakfast cereals and milk along with a fruit would provide adequate energy for the body as well as a variety of essential nutrients such as B-vitamins, Iron, Zinc and Calcium specifically needed for children’s normal growth and development.

• A serving of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal serves as an excellent centerpiece for a balanced breakfast being low in fat, nutrient-dense, cholesterol-free foods that are often fortified with essential vitamins and minerals and plays an important role in helping consumers of all ages move towards a healthy, balanced diet.

• Ready-to-eat breakfast cereal encourages increased consumption of milk and possibly fruit. Consuming milk and milk products (yogurt and cheese) is associated with overall diet quality and adequate intake of several nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, folate and vitamin D* among children and older adults.

• Breakfast cereals help promote bone health combined with calcium, vitamin D and protein provided from milk and milk products that are often consumed with RTEC, make this combination an excellent choice for bone health and development; especially in children.

Why whole grain?

Did you know? 80% of individuals in the UAE and KSA think it is important to eat whole grains but 86% don’t know how many grams they should eat a day. While more than half think they eat enough whole grain.

What is wholegrain?

How to go whole grain?

- Check for ‘whole’ on the label

- Swap refined (‘white’) bread, ice or pasta for whole grain varieties

- Choose a whole grain cereal for breakfast

- Add another portion of whole grain for lunch and dinner, e.g. whole grain bread, pasta, or brown rice

- Look out for logos which highlight whole grain77(3):622-9.

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