Breakfast Really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

Break – fast: a meal designed to break your overnight fast.

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us still skip it anyways (busy schedules, not hungry, kids, work, deadlines – it’s hard to make the time in the mornings). There are scientific reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of the day and here is why:

  • Skipping breakfast means missing out on important nutrients – breakfast skippers tend to have lower intake of protein, calcium, zinc, potassium, fiber, vitamin C (just to name a few)
  • Eating breakfast restores muscle and liver glycogen (stored glucose) – restoring your glucose is important to maintain your energy
  • Missing breakfast can cause your body to break down amino acids from muscles – decreasing muscle mass (this is why it’s important to get a source of protein at breakfast)
  • Promotes balanced blood sugars – important even if you aren’t diabetic to avoid an energy crash
  • Supports your metabolism and sets you up for a regular eating pattern (less snacking and empty calories)

Making the Perfect Breakfast (even when you don’t have time)

Think about typical American breakfast foods: cereal, toast, waffles, pancakes, eggs. Many of the foods tend to be carbohydrate focused and don’t really promote eating fiber, protein, and healthy fat. Foods that are high in fiber, protein, and fat help slow the absorption of carbohydrates into our blood stream – which means more consistent energy and you’re less likely to have a crash. Use this equation for a balanced breakfast and below are a few great options:

Protein + Complex Carbohydrate + Heart Healthy Fat

  • oats, nut butter, berries
  • whole grain toast, avocado, hard-boiled eggs
  • toaster waffles, nut butter, sliced apples, cinnamon
  • bagel, hummus, sliced veggies
  • yogurt, granola, walnuts, berries
  • breakfast smoothie: yogurt, nut butter, frozen banana
  • chia seed pudding, nuts, mango
  • whole grain toast, cottage cheese, pear
  • protein bar, fruit

A quick note on fortified breakfast cereals: Have you ever noticed the front of a cereal box saying it’s fortified with vitamin A & D? A & D are both fat-soluble vitamins which means they require fat in order for them to be absorbed. Many people eat breakfast cereal with skim milk (which also happens to be fortified with A & D). The problem? There’s no fat in skim milk so the vitamins in both the milk and the cereal aren’t even absorbed. Aim to get 5 grams of fat from your milk to take advantage of those vitamins (I like to use 2%).

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