The Importance of Breakfast
If there is one rule of thumb you’ve heard about food your entire life it’s likely this: “Don’t skip breakfast.” While you might be tempted to chalk this up to another old wive’s tale, it’s actually not. There’s a bounty of research providing good reasons why you don’t want to miss out on your eggs and oatmeal. Here are just a few examples worth noting:
- Breakfast is good for heart health. According to a Harvard study published in Circulation magazine, skipping breakfast is “associated with excess body weight, hypertension, insulin resistance and elevated fasting lipid concentrations.” The study, which spanned 16 years and evaluated 26,902 American men ages 45 to 82 found those “who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] compared with men who did not.”
- Eating breakfast boosts our metabolism. It’s true, eating breakfast helps to jump start our metabolism for the day and in turn helps us burn more calories. To this effect studies have also shown eating breakfast to reduce obesity because we are not as prone to snacking if we are satiated from a healthy breakfast.
- Breakfast helps us concentrate. A number of studies have shown that eating breakfast, especially filling fiber and protein-rich breakfasts help kids and teenagers with short-term memory and concentration. A healthy breakfast such as eggs or oatmeal with fruit can help set up our concentration for the whole day.
- Eating breakfast boosts your energy. Correlating with breakfast helping your concentration, breakfast can also boost your energy. But we’re not talking about a breakfast of Fruit Loops. Focus on a high fiber, low carbohydrate diet and throw in some protein to help create sustained energy rather than just a burst.
- Breakfast helps decrease inflammation. Research published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that skipping breakfast can bump up inflammation. This can impair our metabolism, which in turn can increase our risk for diabetes and obesity.
A better breakfast can help you:
- Avoid an energy crash mid morning. The last thing you want to do is eat breakfast and have a sugar high, which will leave you feeling drained and tired mid morning. Not a good formula for a successful day.
- Fend off weight gain. A good breakfast will leave you feeling satiated. This will also keep your energy and sugar levels in check. This means you won’t be tempted to start snacking mid morning.
- Keeps your nutrients in check. We know that even though we should be able to get the majority of our nutrients through food, most of us don’t, simply because we don’t eat enough fruits and veggies throughout the day. But according to research, those who do eat breakfast are eating more helpful nutrients daily than those who skip breakfast.
What is a healthy breakfast?
A key to healthy breakfast is to avoid a meal that spikes your sugar. What you’re looking for is a balance of simple carbohydrates and protein. Similar to what athletes eat for a workout, this mix will help to sustain your energy over a period of time and keep you feeling satiated to fend off the snacking urges. For instance, a banana alone might keep you feeling good for about 20 minutes, but then your blood sugar will crash. But if you eat nut butter with that banana, it will give you a more even increase in blood sugar that will in turn increase your insulin response and stimulate your body’s ability to burn fat. So truly, that chocolate bar for breakfast or just a piece of toast is not going to do it. It’s better to mix and match when it comes to getting started in the morning. Think proteins and healthy fats mixed with simple carbs such as a banana and other fruits and dairy (think yogurt). Fruits are also a good idea to make sure you are getting enough micronutrients, otherwise known as vitamins and minerals. Try:
- Oatmeal with fruit and a dollop of yogurt
- Scrambled eggs with bell peppers and potatoes
- Avocado and tomato on toast. Add an egg or melt cheese on top.
But I don’t have time?
Make time. We promise, it’s worth it and it really doesn’t have to take time. You can eat breakfast on the run. Here are some grab ‘n’ go ideas:
- A banana and nut butter
- Make a smoothie to go with you
- Pack plain yogurt and grab some fruit and granola to add to it or sprinkle in some nuts and seeds
- Make protein balls (blend a combination of nuts, dried fruit and honey together). For an extra boost, dip them in yogurt
- Make a peanut butter and honey sandwich to eat with some apple slices
- Make a homemade egg sandwich with an English muffin, egg and slice of ham and cheese or avocado. Wrap it up to go. One egg takes 1 minute to cook in the microwave—so the time excuse doen’st work.
- Hardboil some eggs and keep them in the fridge to grab on the go.
- Wrap prosciutto around cheese or melon
- Make oatmeal at night and pack in a mason jar. Heat it up any time of day and melt some frozen fruit to go with it instead of using honey or sugar.
** Looking for some new recipes? Check out some of ours here