Your mom told you to eat breakfast – and she was right!
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Food is meant to give you nutrients and energy, and without eating, you have neither. Think about it this way – you’ve been asleep for 7 or 8 hours and you haven’t had any food during this time. Your body needs fuel when you awake to replenish your energy supply!
Not only do you need breakfast for energy to start a new day, but it is also linked to many health benefits including improved nutrition, focused thinking, and weight control.
A good, healthy, breakfast is one that is nutrient-dense and high in protein. The protein will support lean body mass and keep you feeling full longer. Without eating breakfast, you are more vulnerable to cravings for sugars or simple carbohydrates and less likely to make healthy choices in the morning and throughout the day.
Whether you are on a diet to lose weight or eating for good health, breakfast is essential to start your day on the right path to healthy eating.
Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. A theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and allow people make better food choices at other meals. One study, in particular, tracked nearly 10,000 young people from adolescence into their twenties and found that not only did skipping breakfast lead to being overweight, but people who missed breakfast also increased the number of times eating at fast food restaurants, and both unhealthy behaviors caused them to gain weight.
So, while it might seem you could save calories by missing breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. This can actually place your body in starvation mode, which will promote fat storage.
Eating breakfast is important for everyone, but is especially so for children and adolescents, since it improves mental focus.
According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination. One study has even suggested that feeding children a healthy breakfast every day could increase their IQ.
Specifically, a high-protein, high-fiber, low glycemic index breakfast like oatmeal with Greek yogurt will allow children to do better in school and give adults better concentration at work or at the gym. Sugary cereals or pastries, on the other hand, may give you a big surge of energy initially, but will leave you sluggish or sleepy by mid-morning as well as hungry soon after.
As previously mentioned, breakfast is essential for weight loss.
A theory behind the link between breakfast and weight control implies that eating breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes making smart food choices and balancing calories with exercise. So, to successfully reach your weight goals, you need to make lifestyle changes. A meal high in protein is best because, as already stated, it will be the boost you need to help keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
No matter what your nutrition or weight loss goals are, eating breakfast allows you to mentally start the day off right. When eating breakfast becomes part of your daily routine, you start taking ownership of it, become more consistent, and feel that you are making a positive change. Physically or nutritionally, when you have breakfast, there is more of a guarantee that you’re getting the nutrients you need every day.