Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Breakfast has many benefits. Some critics of breakfast argue that skipping breakfast calories leads to weight loss. While delaying breakfast can help some people manage their weight, for others, eating breakfast may actually help promote weight loss. Eating breakfast in the morning can also help control blood sugars and fill in the nutrients needed daily.
Breakfast May Help with Weight Loss
According to numerous research studies, skipping breakfast is associated high BMI and obesity. One reason is that oftentimes when people skip breakfast, they are so hungry by lunch, they tend to overeat.
Data from the Sister Study of over 47,000 women showed that consistency was the key. Those who ate breakfast irregularly 3-4 times a week were 11%-17% more likely to be obese compared to women who never ate breakfast or ate it every day of the week. If you don’t eat breakfast and need a change, evidence suggests that eating breakfast seven days a week is better than occasionally.
Here's a recipe for a high protein breakfast: Walnut Waffle Parfait.
Breakfast Can Help Control Blood Sugars
Skipping breakfast and eating a lot at lunch may not only lead to weight gain, it can also lead to spikes in blood sugar. When hungry, blood sugar is low. In fact, blood sugar is generally lowest in the morning after waking up.
If a person waits until lunch to eat and has a carbohydrate-based meal, the blood sugar goes from low to high in a short time. This is hard on the liver which tries to release enough insulin to clear that sugar from the bloodstream.
A continuous pattern of blood sugar spikes and high levels of insulin is what ultimately may lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Eating a breakfast that contains both carbohydrates and protein can help manage blood sugars from the start of the day.
Here's a recipe for a high fiber, no added sugar breakfast: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal.
Breakfast Helps Meet RDAs
Finally, breakfast provides a fighting chance at getting in all or most of the recommended nutrients needed in a day. Besides just macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs), the body needs micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These are challenging enough to get when three meals are consciously planned out, but nearly impossible if only two meals are eaten per day. Breakfast can be a great source of the nutrients needed to keep the body functioning normally; heal and repair from wounds, sickness, and workouts; and even prevent disease.
This recipe for Gluten-Free Oatmeal Berry Bars is rich in flavanols, zinc, fiber, and protein.
How to Start Eating Breakfast
Don't feel hungry in the morning? Believe it or not, hunger can be learned. If your current routine of skipping breakfast isn’t helping you reach your goals and you want to try eating breakfast in the morning, you can train yourself to feel hunger. To start feeling hungry in the morning, don't snack after dinner. Then, slowly introduce small amounts of food when you wake up. As your appetite grows, breakfast can become natural and enjoyable.
For the reluctant breakfast eaters out there, rather than "eating" breakfast for the next week or two, try “drinking” breakfast. Drinking can be an easier mental obstacle to overcome than eating, and may prevent side effects like nausea, upset stomach, or bloating in the morning. Smoothies with fruits, vegetables, and protein can kickstart your day with nutrients you need for general health and disease prevention. They can also train the mind and stomach to start craving solid food in the morning.
Here are 2 Breakfast Smoothie recipes to get started.
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