After all these years, it turns out your mom was right during those elementary school standardized testing weeks: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
…But for more reasons than you’d initially think. While eating breakfast does help you start the day strong, the benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast go far beyond a boost in energy.
Researchers, Azadeh Lesani and Asghar Mohammadpoorasl found that eating breakfast, alongside sufficient fruit and vegetable intake, is heavily correlated to increased happiness in college students. They found that those who ate breakfast every day and had 3 meals in addition to 1-2 snacks per day had the highest happiness score out of all students surveyed. Interestingly enough, Lesani and Mohammadpoorasl even discovered a strong positive association between the effects of breakfast consumption and better cognitive function and decreased depression. It’s been reported that certain micronutrients present in fruit and vegetablesi can improve cognitive function, which in turn can improve mood.
Because the morning is when your body is most insulin-sensitive (when it uses blood sugar more effectively), choosing a fiber-filled carb for breakfast can improve heart health and lower your diabetes risk. One observational study found people who skipped breakfast 4-5 days a week had as much as a 55% increased risk for type 2 diabetesii.
As someone who has never been early to a morning class, despite “class” being 3 feet away on Zoom currently, I get that skipping breakfast can often be chalked up to simply not having enough time. Here are some of my favorite quick options on a college-friendly budget:
-High-fiber cereal with fresh fruit. I vote for Kashi Go Lean Crunch (unfortunately not #sponsored)
-High-fiber toast with peanut butter
-Low-fat protein shake or smoothie with frozen fruit
-A protein bar and yogurt
My other personal recommendation is hopping on the TikTok-indie-kid oat craze and make some simple overnight oats in a mason jar. Top with your choice of berries, honey, nuts, spreads, and/or spices. Find some solid recipes on Pinterest or here.
To maintain that all-powerful breakfast boost of energy and improved metabolism, clinical dietician Christy C. Tangney, PhD says “you can also have a serving of fresh fruit later as a mid-morning snack”. Hitting the recommended daily serving of fruits and veggies has also been found to positively affect happiness scores in college students (one more excuse to pretend an apple and spoonfuls of Nutella count as a “healthy” snack).
But for those who are more food-averse, or even nauseous at the thought of food in the morning, registered dietitian Andrea Dunn says the important part is simply breaking a fast (a.k.a. break-fast) with a nutritious meal, no matter the exact time.
Whether making it the first thing you do after getting out of bed for your dreaded 8AM, or waiting until you’ve been awake for a few hours, it’s evident that adding breakfast as part of your daily morning routine does wonders for improved energy, metabolism, heart health, memory, and most importantly to our mission here at the Happiness Campaign – happiness itself.
Follow along on our Instagram or email list for more tips and tricks to maximizing your own personal happiness in college!
The Pro-Breakfast Club