Wednesday, 7 January 2009

What's for breakfast?

We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that this is probably true for kids. Children that skip breakfast have lower attention spans and don't do as well in school. Of course, many of these studies are funded by cereal companies. Moreover studies have also found that kids that skip breakfast are more likely to be from a lower socioeconomic class than breakfast eaters. So, is it the breakfast eating that affects their learning or is it more the markers of their economic status- wealth, education, physical activity? Regardless, kids should be eating a healthy breakfast in the morning.

It's another matter for adults.
A study found that when breakfast skippers ate breakfast regularly, they ate less during the day and lost weight as a result. However, the same study found that when regular breakfast eaters skipped breakfast, they also lost weight! It seems that it wasn't the breakfast, but the change in routine that affected weight. Most dietitians, including myself, would recommend you eat breakfast. However, what you eat is more important than just eating something. If you're like the 15% of Americans that eat pastries and coffee or soda for breakfast, you'd be healthier, and probably thinner, if you had a bowl of whole grain cereal or fruit.

The October issue of
Saveur magazine went around the world to find ou what people eat for breakfast:

Spain: Mostly coffee and bread but a decadent morning option is churros- curved batons of deep-fried sugar-dusted cruller dough- dunked in a cup of thick hot chocolate (pictured left)

Natto, a pungent soybean condiment, often served wit
h rice with chopped scallions, raw quail eggs and hot mustard or soy sauce.

Germans and Austrians eat 2 breakfasts! Their later-morning meal,
is known as zweites Frühstück, or second breakfast, in Germany and Gabelfrühstück, or fork breakfast, in Austria. Traditonally it was the meal farmers had after worked in the field, but it now serves a more social function. A typical second breakfast in a German beer hall includes weisswurst, a mild white sausage made from ground veal, pork and spices, ususlly eaten with sweet mustard, soft pretzels and washed down with beer.

India: Chai tea, tea mixed with milk and spices like cardamon and cinnamon, is a staple in India and often accompanies idlis (lentil-flour cakes) or uppuma (semolina porridge).

Sweet jasmine tea s
erved with a plate of chile-and-garlic fried rice, a slice of buttered white bread topped with milk chocolate sprinkles called meises, papaya and/or leftover curries.

Vietnam: Aromatic noodle soup called pho is a very popular breakfast (pictured left).

Vegemite, a sticky dark brown yeast extract, spread on toast, on cheese biscuits or on eggs.

Venezuela: Small, round cornmeal pancakes called arepas, often stuffed with cream cheese or butter and honey.

Somalia: Laxoox, a sourdough flatbreadm traditionally eaten with honey, butter, or beans.

Kasha, a porridge made from grains such as buckwheat, oats and wheat is a traditional Russian breakfast.

The flaky Southern-style quick breads known as biscuitsis a favourite in the deep South, often acco
mpanied with flour-thickened white sausage gravy. However, a 2005 poll found that 40% of Americans have consumed cold leftver pizza.

Egypt: Ful medames, which consists of fava beans simmered with garlic (pictured left).

Dominican Republic:
Mangu, a mashed boiled plantains with milk and butter, usually served with eggs and sausage.

Jamaica: The national dish is a favourite breakfast- ackee and saltfish. Chewy rehydrated salt cod is sauteed with onions, peppers. tomatoes and ackee, a bright yellow fruit from West African evergreen trees.

What do you have for breakfast?


Jme said...

I eat cold cereal for breakfast number one and then for zweites Frühstück I eat anything from eggs & pancakes to pb sands! Wish our culture was ok with beer drinking at 10am though... mmmmm.... beeeeer....

ings said...

I can eat breakfast for all 3 meals!

Anonymous said...

Actually Idlis, commonly eaten in India are often made with rice.


Sweta said...

Chrys-Idlis are made with rice and lentils!
It's an example of a 'complete protein'(Cereal+Pulse combo).
Sybil-I love your blog.Always good to know the view points of dietitians from different parts of the world. Keep posting regularly!!

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Thanks for your comments Sweta! You're right- idlis are made with rice and lentils.
I just got back from a long trip to Central America so will start posting more regularly!
Thanks again for your interest...