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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The BEST Avocado Toast

Avocado toast has made its way onto the menus at many restaurants in Seattle. It can be a great appetizer and even better breakfast when topped with an egg or two! I always look forward to making avocado toast on the weekends when I have extra time. It’s super easy to make (and so much cheaper than ordering out at brunch).

What Makes Avocados Healthy?

Avocados are a heart healthy fat containing monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs for short). MUFAs help raise the good cholesterol (HDL) and may help reduce the bad cholesterol. Not only are avocados heart healthy but they are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin K, B vitamins, and vitamin E.

Since avocados are high in MUFAs they help absorb many fat-soluble vitamins that are found in many plant-foods. Avocados are also high in their own antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help support eye health.

The fat content of avocados makes them slower to digest – aka you will be fuller longer. Try adding avocados to salads, snacks, sandwiches, and anything in between.

The BEST Avocado Toast

Serves 4Prep Time 5 Minutes – Cook Time 5 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Haas avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • flaked sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 slices whole grain bread (my favorite is the Macrina Bakery Vollkorn loaf)
  • Optional toppings: pesto, pumpkin seeds, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, pickled veggies, smoked salmon, dill, eggs

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and pepper until you reach a slightly chunky (or smoother if you prefer).
  2. Toast 4 slices of bread – if you don’t have a toaster broiling toast in the oven is a great option.
  3. Top each slice of toast with 1/4 of avocado mix and any other toppings.

Note: If making for breakfast, add a lean protein – learn more about why here.