Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Eating a nutritious breakfast sets the tone for the day and promotes weight maintenance and weight loss by maintaining blood glucose levels and your metabolism.
WHAT WE KNOW
Overnight, your body is at rest and considered to be “fasting," and it’s recommended the average person get eight (8) hours of sleep (children need at least 10) a day; this is a long time to go without eating! So, if you don’t eat in the morning, your body won’t get the energy needed for the day; this affects concentration (especially in children), mood, and weight maintenance.
Starting the day off right by making healthy choices has been shown to decrease your overall calorie intake each day (thus preventing weight gain). Eating a nutritious breakfast (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and a lean protein such as eggs) maintains blood sugar levels, prevents binge eating, and sets the tone for a day of healthy eating.
Depriving your body of its need for nutritious food doesn’t help in maintaining your weight! Restricting meals takes the pleasure and enjoyment out of eating, and it may adversely affect weight loss plans. How so? You are more likely to overeat and consume more calories if you’re feeling extremely hungry (which happens when you don’t eat breakfast).
By taking the time each morning to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast, you can eliminate grabbing the high-fat, high-sugar breakfast options at your local convenience store. You’ll also be able to focus on the task at hand instead of being interrupted by the grumbling sounds coming from your stomach!
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition questioned the effect of breakfast on diet quality, overall energy intake, and body mass index (BMI) measures in over 12,000 individuals for a period of five (5) years. This study supported recommendations to encourage breakfast consumption and suggested the consumption of breakfast was associated with diet quality, overall diet energy density, and body weight. Those individuals who reported eating breakfast had an overall decreased energy density for the day, a lower BMI, and a higher diet quality.¹
Another study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics followed over 2,200 adolescents for five (5) years and studied breakfast frequency and weight change. The study found that overall, the frequency of breakfast was inversely associated with BMI. The research concluded that “although experimental studies are needed to verify whether the association between breakfast and body weight is of a causal nature, our findings support the importance of promoting regular breakfast consumption among adolescents.”²
The key to a healthy lifestyle is planning. Planning to eat regular meals will help you control your calorie intake. Rather than waiting until you feel like you’re starving, have healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.
If you miss breakfast because time is an issue, plan ahead to have some foods available that you can eat on the run. Stock up on healthy options such as trail mix, yogurt, fruit or individual boxes of whole grain cereal. Here are some great ideas …
- Get up 10 minutes early or plan an ‘on-the-go’ nutritious breakfast (including fruits or vegetables) the night before.
- Make some thick oatmeal in a mug that’ll fit in you car’s console then top with nuts, seeds or dried fruit.
- Cut up vegetables that you can toss into an omelet the next morning (or bag to snack on throughout the day).
- Add fruit to your whole grain cereal, top with low-fat milk and grab a bottle of vegetable juice for the road.
- Extra ambitious? Make a waffle or pancake the night before – add blueberries and sprinkle wheat germ in the batter – then pop it in the toaster before you leave in the morning.
Check out our tasty Healthy Breakfast Ideas. Or visit our Fruit & Veggie Recipe Database for more healthy breakfast ideas.
¹ Kant, Ashima K., Mark B. Andon, Theodore J. Angelopoulos, James M. Rippe. "Association of Breakfast Energy Density with Diet Quality and Body Mass Index in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999–2004." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 88, no. 5 (2008): 1396-1404.
² Timlin, Maureen T., Ph.D., Mark A. Pereira, Ph.D., Mary Story, Ph.D., Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D. "Breakfast Eating and Weight Change in a 5-Year Prospective Analysis of Adolescents: Project EAT (Eating Among Teens)." Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 121, no. 3 (2008): e638-e645.