It’s all too easy to get stuck in the habit of pushing breakfast out of our morning routines. We may do this to save time, or simply because we don’t feel well when we eat food early in the morning. Well it’s time to take breakfast off the backburner and make it a priority again! In honor of National Better Breakfast Month, we’ve decided to provide you with some reasons why breakfast is so important, as well as some ways in which you can incorporate healthy breakfasts into your lifestyle.
Studies show that around 25% of the population skips breakfast on a regular basis. This habit can be detrimental for a multitude of reasons. When we wake up in the morning, we often haven’t eaten since dinner the night before, meaning our bodies haven’t been provided with fuel in the past twelve or more hours, leaving them in an energy-deprived state of starvation. Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism and increases your chances of binging later on in the day, both of which often result in weight gain. We don’t want this, do we? It’s also important to properly fuel our bodies in the morning for cognitive reasons. Skipping breakfast can cause us to feel sluggish, fatigued, and unable to concentrate, so breakfast fuels not only our bodies but our minds as well!
Many people claim that they don’t eat breakfast simply because they don’t feel hungry that early in the morning. We are stuck with this false notion that not feeling hungry is a sign that we shouldn’t eat. This is not always the case! It might even mean that we need food more than we think. A reduced appetite is thought to be a protective mechanism your body employs when it goes into a state of starvation, which may have been an evolutionary adaptation in order to provide individuals with some extra energy to find food when their bodies are starving. Thus, skipping breakfast entirely simply because we aren’t hungry isn’t necessarily helping our bodies. It can certainly be uncomfortable to eat a large, heavy breakfast early in the morning when we aren’t hungry in the first place (especially if you have a workout scheduled early in the morning), but there are a surplus of small, simple breakfasts we can prepare that will provide our body with the nutrients it needs without making us feel over-stuffed. It may just take some experimenting to find a breakfast that works for you!
Another common reason for skipping breakfast is that we feel that exercising without eating in the morning will improve fat-loss capabilities. This is not true! If we exercise with our fuel tanks on empty, the body won’t be able to perform to its full potential, and also will begin to break down muscle for fuel. Without fuel in the tank, your body may burn a higher percentage of fat, but it will not burn as many calories without enough energy to do long enough or vigorous enough of a workout. In other words, your amount of fat burned will be a higher percentage of an altogether smaller number, giving you less fat-loss capabilities in the end.
So now we know the importance of breakfast, but what exactly should a nutritious breakfast consist of? First of all, we should be eating breakfast 15-20 minutes after we wake up in order to rev up our metabolism. Each meal should consist of a fruit or a vegetable and a protein, and it is typically recommended that breakfast provides about 25%-30% of your calories for the day. So, your recommended breakfast size will depend on your daily energy expenditure. Below are some examples of quick and easy healthy breakfast ideas to try out on your own!
- Peanut butter and sliced banana on whole grain toast
- Smoked salmon on a whole wheat bagel topped with cream cheese and a slice of tomato
- Whole grain English muffin with a slice of pear and cheddar cheese
- Plain yogurt mixed with dried cranberries, granola, and flax seeds
- Quinoa mixed with dried fruits and lime juice
- Plain yogurt topped with fresh fruit and whole grain cereal
- Whole grain frozen waffles topped with berries and cottage cheese