Photo by Andrew Allio.
Photo by Andrew Allio.

Happy midterms everyone! I hope all your tests and essays have been successful and that you don’t take this crunch time to neglect your personal health or diet choices.

I thought when I was studying for my midterm last week that I would be too busy to keep an eye out for what I was putting into my stomach, but it turns out that as long as every day started right, I was good to go for long hours spent in the classroom … without access to a snack machine.

I’m talking about breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, or so I’ve always heard. I never really took it seriously though, that is until this past week when I decided to switch from Cocoa Puffs to good old-fashioned oatmeal. Who knew that my breakfast choice could have such an impact on how I felt in the morning? Not only did it help get me rolling out of bed earlier, but it also helped me last until lunchtime without snacking like a pig between meals, hiding my French-fries under my study materials in the library. True story.

Now those days are long gone, and here’s why. First of all, oatmeal, and specifically oatmeal that doesn’t come pre-packaged, is a great source of fiber. People might not usually regard fiber as important to their diets, but it really keeps you on top of your game by giving you energy in the form of complex carbohydrates and even preventing coronary heart disease, which I just found out is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Second of all, and probably most importantly for students, it doesn’t contain the large quantities of sugar that Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Reese’s Puffs do. This means that when you eat oatmeal as opposed to cereal, you get the energy you need without the crash later, which is great when you’re on the go all day. However, be careful when choosing oatmeal, because sometimes it can contain even more sugar than cereals like Cheerios or Rice Chex. Another downside to cereal is that even though it may contain less sugar than some types of oatmeal, it comes nowhere near to competing with the amount of fiber in a single serving.

On another note, I think one thing that is very clear to any college student in a bind is that when it comes to the end of the month and money is running low, breakfast is the first thing to go. Now, that doesn’t need to be the case. One Quaker Oats container can keep me going for at least a full month, if not two. Of course it depends on how much you use per morning, but you definitely can ration it easier than cereal, and it costs about the same price.

So next time you find yourself in the breakfast aisle, drop the colorful box of Trix and go with Quaker instead. You’ll be glad you did.