For many of us, the term “morning person” does not apply. Our lives are so busy that getting every last ounce of sleep is crucial (along with that morning cup of coffee or tea), many times leaving choices like eating breakfast as an after-thought, not even close to the priority. What many of us don’t realize is the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” isn’t just a nice thought, but holds quite a bit of merit. Now you may be thinking to yourself “I’m trying to lose weight, why would eating a meal I’m not already having help?” or “I can’t possibly make more time to eat breakfast in the morning,” or possibly, “I really don’t have an appetite in the morning, why should I eat?” These are all valid thoughts and questions, which is why I have provided the following reasons to help you take a second thought next time you skip breakfast and maybe even begin including a balanced breakfast in your daily schedule.
1. Your brain needs usable energy to function at its best. The best source of immediate energy for your brain is carbohydrates. By including healthy, high fiber carbohydrates such as fruit, whole grains, beans, starchy vegetables, etc. (check out our video Carbs- The Good, The Bad, and The Misunderstood discussing carbs to learn more about what healthy vs less healthy carbohydrate choices are) you are providing your body and brain with the energy it needs to begin functioning productively in the morning. When combining this with lean protein, and healthy fats it allows your blood sugar, energy, and productivity to last for longer and allow your body to start it’s daily functions with a step up.
2. Boosts your metabolism. By eating breakfast in the morning, it allows your metabolism to get kick started for the day, working at it’s best to use the energy you provide it and getting rid of what it doesn’t. This being said, maintaining a proper eating schedule throughout the day, including a meal or snack every 3-4 hours, is a crucial component to maintain your breakfast boosted metabolism or else you will shift back in to “starvation mode” where your body will begin to store more than necessary due to its lack of safety in when it will receive it’s next meal.
3. Prepare your breakfasts the night before. If you are indeed not a morning person, using meals such as overnight oats, premaking yogurt parfaits, or choosing non-classic breakfasts such as your dinner leftovers for breakfast can save time in the mornings and eliminate the need to wake up earlier.
4. Eat something small and transportable if you don’t have much of an appetite. Use a well balanced protein bar low in added sugar (eg lara bars, RX bars, Orgain bars etc), smoothies or protein shakes, or easy to eat items such as a piece of fruit with nut butter or string cheese to at least have a little something to get your day started without giving you a stomachache.
5. Perform your best at school or work. To reiterate the importance of point one, I really want to point out that there have been numerous studies demonstrating improved performance at work and school with individuals that eat breakfast vs those who do not. This being said, a poorly balanced breakfast, high in added sugar, missing a food group, or too heavy, can lead to that “food coma” feeling, a quick energy spike and crash, or stomach discomfort. Therefore I want to emphasize, that while breakfast is important, ensuring the breakfast is balanced is just as important to reap the full benefits of this widely talked about meal.
I would love to hear your thoughts on eating breakfast and what your favorite go-to breakfast choices are! I hope these ideas and tips inspire you to make a balanced breakfast a priority in your/your children’s days!
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Wishing you mornings filled with energy and productivity,
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”