Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button multiple times in the morning and rushing out the door skipping breakfast? We’ve all heard the sang “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” so if it really is, let’s learn why!
The term breakfast means breaking your fast so it’s important to eat breakfast within a few hours of waking up. Eating a healthy breakfast helps to refuel your body, jump-start your metabolism, and may improve overall health.
By consuming breakfast, it tells your body that you will eat plenty of calories today so your body will burn more calories. By skipping breakfast, your body thinks it needs to conserve energy rather than burn.
Adults and children who regularly eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:
Eat more vitamins and minerals and meet nutrient requirements
Control their weight and be at a healthy body weight
Concentrate better at school and work
Control blood sugar levels
Miss fewer days of school and work
Be at a lower risk for diabetes and other diseases
Adults and children who regularly skip breakfast are more likely to:
Have lower physical activity levels
Consume less vitamins and minerals and less likely to meet nutrient requirements
Consume unhealthy snacks
Partake in risky behaviors like smoking, drugs, and alcohol
Healthy Breakfast Basics
Is your morning coffee and donut not doing the trick at keeping you full until lunch time? Let’s look at the basics of a healthy breakfast and what to include to keep you full longer:
Whole Grains: such as whole-grain bagels, cereals, English muffins, or waffles. Whole grains are nutrient-dense and provide things like iron, B-vitamins, and fiber, which help you feel full longer.
Lean Protein: such as eggs, lean meat, nuts, and legumes. Protein helps you feel full for a longer period and helps build and maintain muscle.
Low-Fat Dairy: such as yogurt, milk, cheese, and cottage cheese. Dairy products are packed with calcium, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
Fruits and Vegetables: such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100% fruit juices with no added sugar, and smoothies. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and provide a good amount of fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
Try to choose foods from 3 of these groups to create a healthy breakfast. These food groups provide carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and low fat. They are also packed with vitamin and minerals. Together this will help keep you full for hours.
Breakfast Ideas to Try
Now you know what makes up a healthy breakfast here are some suggestions to try:
Oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts
Whole-wheat tortilla filled with eggs, vegetables, and cheese
Smoothie of fruit, yogurt, and a side of whole-wheat toast
Whole wheat toast or bagel topped with peanut butter and sliced banana
Bowl of cereal (high in fiber, low in sugar), with low fat milk, and fruit
For those of you that are on a tight schedule in the morning, here are some tips for you:
Make ahead: make your breakfast the night before, warm it up in the morning, or have it packed and ready to take along. This could be something like overnight oats, egg bake, or a breakfast sandwich.
Prepare: know what you are going to eat for breakfast. Have all your equipment and utensils out the night before. You can even set out the dry ingredients to make for faster preparation.
Your breakfast doesn’t have to be time consuming; you can keep it simple and still be healthy. You’re still allowed to hit the snooze button but make sure you’re rushing out the door with breakfast in hand. Set yourself up for a healthy day and lifestyle by keeping the breakfast basics in mind!
Written by: Kelly Catlin, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. Mayo Clinic