Ann Litt - Eating Well on Campus
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Monthly Food BitesDecember 2005

All About Breakfast

As daylight hours grow shorter and crunch time for exams extends into the wee hours of the morning, sleeping in often wins over getting out of bed for breakfast. “Eat a king’s breakfast, a rich man’s lunch and a pauper’s dinner”—so the saying goes. So should you force yourself out of bed to eat “the most important meal of the day?”

For those living the 9-5 life, breakfast may mean you are breaking a 10-12 hour fast. Your body needs the healthy fuel and jump start a good breakfast provides. In fact, studies show that adults who eat breakfast:
• have an easier time managing their weight.
• have better concentration and are more productive in the morning.
• are less irritable and moody.

Waking up early is hard enough, and you just may not be hungry when you wake up. Should you force yourself to eat?

But what about the college student? Sleeping and eating patterns are less predictable. You stay up later and consequently eat food well into the wee hours of the morning. Waking up early is hard enough, and getting to the dining hall for breakfast may be unrealistic. Plus, you just may not be hungry when you first wake up. Should you force yourself to eat?

The benefits of eating breakfast should surely be the same, regardless of when that first meal is eaten. It is always wise to eat within an hour of waking, then every 3-5 hours throughout the day. That may be noon and not really breakfast time at all. If you aren’t hungry, eat something small—then plan to eat again a few hours later. You can teach yourself to be a breakfast eater, but that may require you to examine and modify what and how much you’ve eaten the night before.

Eating breakfast will be especially helpful if you have a long stretch of classes ahead of you with little time to eat. While you may not be ravenous, this is practicing a bit of “defensive eating." You will fuel yourself for a long day and be better prepared to make decent food choices later in the day.

What makes a good breakfast? Choose something with whole grains, a bit of protein and some healthy fat. It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be traditional breakfast foods. (see college student’s guide to eating well on campus for more specific ideas) Some good “break the fast” suggestions are:

  • Yogurt and crackers
  • Toast with peanut butter and a glass of skim milk
  • Cereal, banana and milk
  • Skim latte and a bagel
  • 2 eggs (hard cooked) and fruit
  • Turkey sandwich and fruit

Since college is the time to try on different things…try becoming a breakfast eater. It may serve you well in the long run.

Top 5 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

1. You may have an easier time managing your weight.
2. Breakfast foods are easy to prepare.
3. Breakfast tends to be a cheaper meal than lunch or dinner.
4. Breakfast foods are delicious.
5. It’s easy.

Top 5 Breakfasts for the college student

1. whole grain cereal, skim milk and fruit
2. scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast
3. bagel with slice of cheese and small fruit juice
4. yogurt and English muffin
5. peanut butter sandwich and milk


Can healthy eating and college life go together? Absolutely! Get the nutrition facts you need in the book Eating Well on Campus by Ann Litt, M.S., R.D., L.D.

Eating Well on Campus

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