Is breakfast really the most important meal?
December 8, 2022
You have undoubtedly heard it said: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But have you ever wondered why? Or questioned whether it’s even true?
Is breakfast important? What’s so special about breakfast time or breakfast foods? Breakfast has earned its reputation for a reason. Eating a healthy breakfast nourishes your body with benefits that go beyond starting the morning off right.
According to Holiday Durham Zanetti, RD, a senior research scientist and clinical investigator for Nutrilite™ with a Ph.D. in nutrition, when you have a well-rounded breakfast, you power up your entire day with more focus and energy. It jumpstarts your brain to help with clear thinking and concentration and it will likely help you make healthier choices throughout the day.
Nutrition science is complicated, and no two people respond the same. But, for a majority of people, the evidence points to the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast, especially if you are prone to overeating later in the day.
Breakfast means “breaking the fast” of the previous night. With the popularity of intermittent fasting, some people delay that first bite, but the timing of your meal doesn’t negate the importance of making sure it has the essential nutrients your body needs: Complex carbohydrates for instant energy, protein to keep you going and fiber to help you feel fuller longer.
"While we know breakfast is important, it is even more important for individuals to pay attention to their hunger cues and eat accordingly," Zanetti said. "Not everyone is built for breakfast. However, it is critical to fuel your body and mind with healthy foods throughout the day to keep both at their best."
One key component of a healthy breakfast? Protein! In addition to helping build muscle, a protein-rich diet helps you feel satisfied longer and keeps your energy stable throughout the day, Zanetti said.
“The recommended daily dose of protein varies person to person, but in general 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for men and women," Zanetti said. "You can either convert your weight to kilograms or simply multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 grams of protein."
And if you’re physically active or trying to build muscle, you should be consuming even more daily protein. A lot of people wait until dinner to focus on protein and may come up short for the day as a whole. That’s why starting your morning off with a complete serving of protein is a great way to balance your consumption and ensure your body is properly fueled for the day ahead.
Not everyone has time to scramble up some eggs in the morning. Thankfully there are quick and easy options to ensure you’re getting your protein each morning.
Thanks to the popularity of meal prepping, there are several options online for meals that can be prepared ahead like egg sandwiches or stovetop steel cut oatmeal that can be stored for the week in the fridge or frozen and popped in the microwave for grab-and-go convenience.
Protein powder supplements are another convenient way to make sure your breakfast meals include enough protein to fuel your day. The number of smoothie recipes seem endless! The goal is to make better breakfast decisions a regular habit, not something you try just for a day or two.
In addition to a healthy breakfast, it would be great to fill your mornings with other healthy habits like quiet meditation, a half hour of exercise and plenty of stretching before you start your day.
But let’s face it—for many of us mornings are a chaotic scramble of getting ourselves ready along with helping other members of the household do the same in time to catch a bus, get to work or log in to that first meeting.
To make the most of your mornings, prioritization is key. In addition to getting that healthy breakfast with plenty of protein, focus on a few other healthy morning habits to help set you up for a great day.
Make sure you’re starting out on the right foot by getting enough sleep and drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. (Yes, even before that joyous first cup of coffee or tea. You just woke up from several hours without water; you need hydration.)
You should also make daily vitamins and supplements a key part of your morning routine. Your focus on a healthy breakfast goes a long way to giving your body needed nutrients, but a daily multi-vitamin can help fill nutrient gaps that may result throughout the day.
Mornings are also a good time to take any additional supplements to help meet your personal goals, whether you’re looking for support for energy, focus, muscle building, your immune system, skin care or just general wellness. Making supplements part of your morning routine can help you remember to take them each day.
Once you master these few healthy habits, you can consider adding more. But your first priority should be that nutritious breakfast. A better breakfast means a better start to your day. So make your first meal of the day a good one!
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