We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And if you are one of the millions of Americans who regularly skip breakfast, you probably don’t think you’re doing yourself much harm. In fact, you may even think it will help you to lose weight.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Kristi L. King, MPH, RDN, CNSC, LD, says you are not doing your body justice. “It’s really important to eat breakfast in the morning. Eating breakfast helps with brain function, attention span, concentration and memory. People who eat breakfast tend to be a little bit more on top of things as far as attention and memory go. Eating breakfast can reduce irritability and tiredness,” she says. Our brain runs on glucose just like the rest of our bodies, so food is fuel for the brain and without it, things can become a bit cloudy.
If you skip breakfast hoping to lose weight, King says you may be sabotaging your goals. “There have been studies that have shown that if you eat breakfast in the morning you are less likely to eat a large amount of calories later on in the day,” King says.
Skipping breakfast or even meals in between can also impair our metabolism. We need to consume energy (in the form of calories) in order to burn energy. Just like a car, if we don’t put gas in it, it won’t go. Our bodies may still be moving, but we are not utilizing our energy to its full capacity.
Get on the right track by trying these simple meal solutions.
If You Wake Up on Time, Eat …
- Scrambled Eggs: Eggs are one of the best sources of protein there is. They can keep you satisfied for several hours. Serve with fruit and whole-wheat toast (try Ezekiel sprouted grain bread).
- Whole wheat pancakes: You can make these from scratch by substituting half of the requested amount of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Or look for a whole wheat pancake mix. Add mashed banana, cinnamon, chia seeds and vanilla extract to the batter. Top with pureed blackberries rather than syrup.
If You Hit the Snooze Button One Time, Eat …
- English Muffin Sandwich: Toast an English muffin. Put low-fat cheese and sliced deli ham on the toasted muffin. Warm the sandwich in the microwave to melt the cheese. Grab a piece of fruit for a complete breakfast.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber which keeps us full, keeps everything moving, and helps lower cholesterol. Skip the sugary sweetened varieties and go for the plain. Add 1 Tbs of natural peanut butter or almond butter, hemp seeds, and cinnamon to cooked oatmeal for delicious flavor and extra protein. Your tummy will feel satisfied hours after.
If You Hit the Snooze Button Three (or More) Times, Eat …
- 45-Second Scrambled Eggs: You can actually cook eggs in the microwave! Put eggs and a splash of milk in a bowl, scramble it up, put it in a microwave for 30 seconds. Stir it up and put it back in for another 10 seconds. And your scrambled eggs are done. You can eat it right out of the mug or the bowl it’s in.
- Kind Bar: Look for a variety that has only 4 or 5 grams of sugar. I like Madagascar Vanilla Almond.
- Organic cream cheese on whole wheat bread: I like Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese and Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread.
And remember, there is no rule that says your body has to have typical breakfast food in the morning. It just needs fuel. Are there leftovers from last night’s dinner in the fridge? Heat them up and get ready to rock your day!