Benefits of Breakfast
BREAK your FAST! 🙂
Breakfast = First meal of the day that breaks the fast after the longest period of sleep and is consumed within 2 to 3 hours of waking; it is comprised of food or beverage from at least 1 food group, and may be consumed at any location.
-Definition from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day. You’ve heard it before, but does it hold truth? In the big picture, every meal of the day is important, not just breakfast. It does, however, have many benefits to help us get jump start on the day both mentally and nutritionally.
- Metabolism – Eating breakfast helps get your metabolism (and you!) off to a good start in the morning. Over the night metabolism slows to conserve what we have while we’re sleeping. Once we’re awake, our bodies need to speed up and get out of the resting state in order for us to do our daily activities.
- Weight Management – Many people believe that skipping breakfast, or any meal for that matter, will help with weight loss goals. Truth is that skipping breakfast may actually lead to weight gain, and is strongly associated with overweight and obesity.(1) Starting your day with a balanced meal can prevent intense food cravings later in the day so you are less likely to overeat at lunch, dinner, or snacks.
- Nutrient consumption – Those who eat breakfast are more likely to reach the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, specifically calcium, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and fiber. A great example of this is cereal: fortified whole grains + milk + fruit for added nutrition. Those who skip breakfast typically do not make up these nutrients the remainder of the day. Remember that the best sources of micronutrients come from food!
- Alertness and concentration – Enhance memory, improve cognitive ability, and help increase attention span. This is thought to be due to stabilized blood sugars. Low blood sugar often leads to decreased concentration, alertness, and overall energy causing us to feel lethargic, irritable, and drowsy. Eating breakfast in the morning can prevent these symptoms.
- Mood – Eating breakfast in the morning provides your brain with the glucose it needs after stores are depleted over night. Research shows that those who eat breakfast are more likely to be less grouchy and happier because they are not battling hunger pangs until their next eating event.
So…What makes a quality breakfast?
A Mixture of carbs, protein and fat! Food choices at breakfast should ideally come from 3 food groups to help close nutrient gaps and improve overall eating patterns.
Here is one my favorite go-to breakfasts for busy mornings:
Easy Overnight Oats
- 1/3 cup plain oats
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup almond, soy or any kind of milk
- ½ banana or ¼ cup of any kind of berry
- 1 Tbsp. peanut or almond butter
Using an empty peanut butter container makes this meal portable with no clean-up. But if you don’t have an old peanut butter jar you can use any container with a lid.
- Add all ingredients to the container and seal closed.
- Place in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, mix and enjoy. It’s that easy. (Also tastes good warmed up in the microwave!)
Recipe from our Diet Aide, Stephanie.
- Timlin MT, Pereira MA, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D. Breakfast eating and weight change in a 5-year prospective analysis of adolescents: Project EAT (Eating Among Teens). Pediatrics. 2008;121(3):e638-645.