Is It important To Eat breakfast?

I am a Registered Dietitian, here to break down the questions “Is it important to eat breakfast?” Healthy breakfast recipes included!

To Eat Breakfast Or Skip?

Many of my clients come to me for nutrition counseling skip breakfast or are only drinking coffee in the morning (psst: coffee is not breakfast). I get it, I used to be that person! Then I learned about the importance of eating breakfast and I realized the benefits of it quickly. Note: this post is not going to cover intermittent fasting, but that is something we can go over in a future post.

Why Breakfast Is A Good Thing

Eating in the morning, preferably within the first hour of waking helps to kick start our metabolism and prevents eating from blending into another meal time. It aligns our digestive system with circadian rhythms. Skipping breakfast or eating in a chaotic, non-rhythmic way has been shown to lead to poorer nutritional diet says a source. It also has been shown to lead to higher body mass index which increases chances of obesity, correlated with poorer food choices overall. It is linked with impaired glucose metabolism, including elevated A1c which increases our likelihood for developing Type II Diabetes. Last, it has been shown to increase LDL (the type of bad cholesterol) which is a risk factors for cardiovascular disease. All of these sound like something I think we’d all like to avoid.

Common Barriers For Skipping Breakfast

“I don’t have time for breakfast”

If you think that you don’t have time to eat a nutritious breakfast, think again. Waking up that 5 minutes before work will reward you all day. There are plenty of nutrient-dense options that travel well and will prevent that “hanger” that comes from skipping meals later on.
Perhaps you prepare overnight oats the night before work or school. Or you toast a whole grain bagel the morning of and eat in the car on the way out the door. Greek yogurt, granola and berries takes all of 5 minutes to throw in a Tupperware before you leave your house. A smoothie bag prepared on a day off from work can easily be tossed into the blender with some milk before blending and sipping on your commute to work. The options are truly endless. Given it’s well balanced in macronutrients, learn more about that here, it can set you up for success through mental clarity and stable blood sugar levels through out the day.

A collaboration of images smoothie, toast, oatmeal, granola, egg omelette, greek yogurt parfait, fresh fruit and a womens outline.

“I’m not hungry for breakfast”

If you’re not hungry in the morning there could be a few reasons for this. First, if you’re starting your day with a cup of coffee first thing, we know that it can act as an appetite suppressant leading to decreased hunger levels. Second, if you don’t have hunger cues in the morning you might not be eating enough through out the day, which decreases hunger cues overall and would show as lack of insight into hunger and fullness cues. Last, you might be eating too much before bed, causing you to feel full in the morning. In all of these circumstances it is not a bad idea to eat something in the hour of waking but of course work with a Dietitian for better insight. Some quick low maintenance options are: an energy or protein bar or some trail mix with a piece of fruit.

“I am dieting and want to avoid morning calories”

While a lot of dieters think they’re doing well by avoiding food in the morning to decrease overall caloric intake through out the day, research suggests the opposite is true. Eating breakfast can help you lose weight this goes hand in hand with exercising and learning to nourish your body. Restrictive dieting frequently leads to binging at night or on “cheat days”. Not only is this not a fun experience to go through (from experience) but it has been shown to increase weight overall, more than before the diet. Instead of dieting, please take the time to learn how to eat well and balance your nutrition with nutrient dense foods. This leads to a healthier mindset around food and nourishing your body that everyone is better off with.

Nutrient-Dense Breakfast Options

A white bowl of greek yogurt, strawberries, granola, slivered almonds, and coconut. with a wooden spoon and cup next to it
  • Veggie omelettes
  • Tofu vegetable scramble
  • Eggs and whole grain toast and fruit
  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
  • Whole grain bagel with cream cheese and a hard boiled egg
  • Greek yogurt and fruit with granola
  • Whole grain english muffin with turkey bacon and egg
  • Frozen fruit smoothie with greek yogurt or milk and a handful of greens
  • Non-traditional breakfast foods like a turkey sandwich are perfectly acceptable to eat for breakfast
  • Oatmeal with protein powder added and fresh fruit/nuts
  • Overnight oats made with greek yogurt and fruit/nuts

Eat Breakfast

It’s safe to say that eating breakfast or at least a breakfast “snack” is a great addition to anyone’s morning. If you’ve enjoyed reading today’s post please share it with a friend! If you have any questions please feel free to leave me a comment. If you’re looking for individual nutrition counseling to best support your goals, click here. I’ll catch ya next time!

Resources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10715426/
  2. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/nutrition/best-times-to-eat#:~:text=Plan%20to%20eat%20breakfast%20within,morning%2C%20so%20fuel%20it%20accordingly.
  3. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000476
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16567152/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8820381/