They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day but is it really?
It really is. Here’s why:
When you wake up from a full night’s sleep, your body is in a fasted state. You’ve gone 8, 9, 10 hours without eating, depending on how long you slept and when your last meal was. When your body is in this fasted state, your blood sugar is low, your metabolism has slowed, and your body has no calories to work off of. The fewer calories in your system, the less energy your body can produce. Think of it like gas in a car…you can’t run on an empty tank.
Eating breakfast is important for a few reasons:
- The longer your body stays in a fasted state, the more your metabolism slows in an effort to conserve energy. Eating breakfast will get your metabolism up and running again.
- Body Function. In the morning, your body craves certain nutrients so it can be ready to tackle the day. For example, your brain relies solely on carbohydrates to function. Without breakfast, you may be less focused, more cloudy, and more irritable – I believe “hangry” is the term. Roy Baumeister, author or Willpower: Rediscovering Human Strength, provides an example:
“All the children in a class were told to skip breakfast one morning, and then, by random assignment, half of the children were given a good breakfast at school. The others got nothing. During the first part of the morning, the children who got breakfast learned more and misbehaved less (as judged by monitors who didn’t know which children had eaten). Then, after all the students were given a healthy snack in the middle of the morning, the differences disappeared as if by magic.”
- A calorie is defined as one unit of energy. So by having a full breakfast, you’re ensuring you’ll have energy to last all morning because your body has the proper nutrients it needs to function.
- Snack Prevention. Having breakfast will keep you from making poor choices later on in the day. A study conducted by Heather Lieidy, an associate professor of University of Missouri-Columbia, found that having a protein-rich breakfast prevents unhealthy snacking in the evening.
So now that we figured out why we should eat breakfast, let’s talk about what we should eat for breakfast. If you load up on sugary foods like muffins, cereals, and pancakes, you’ll soon find yourself fatigued and craving more sugary foods. Instead, aim for foods filled with protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
PROTEIN: The building blocks of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. (Found in eggs, egg whites, Greek yogurt, sausage, bacon. *Be wary of breakfast meats as they tend to be high in calories due to their high fat content*).
CARBOHYDRATES: The main source of fuel in your body. (Found in oatmeal, grits, breads, fruit).
FATS: Provide energy in your body and provide structure for body cells (Found in egg yolks, nut butters, avocados, nuts).
A few meal ideas:
- 1 English muffin, 2 whole eggs, spinach: Toast English muffin, cook eggs to your liking (use non-stick spray), create 2 open-faced sandwiches with egg, toast, and spinach.
- 4 egg whites, chopped veggies, 1 slice whole wheat bread: Scramble egg whites and veggies together (use non-stick spray), enjoy with toasted bread.
- Overnight oats: Combine ½ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup milk, sweetener of your choice (stevia, honey, maple syrup) and chopped fruit. Store in a mason jar or airtight container in the fridge overnight. Perfect for busy people on the go!