Building a Better Breakfast
3 Ways Eating Breakfast Improves One's Health
Even wonder why they call breakfast the most important meal of the day?
If so, then you’re in the majority. But like so many others, you have memorized the statement, but were probably never given an explanation as to why it’s so damn important. Hopefully after reading this post, you’ll be so well versed in the benefits of eating breakfast that you’ll never want to even consider skipping this vital meal again.
If you’re like the majority of the American population, then your morning may go something like this… your alarm goes off, you hit snooze 2-3 times, and then you jump up in a slight panic because now you’re going to be late. In between getting yourself ready, throwing food in the dog’s bowl, and mindlessly doom-scrolling for a few minutes, you may just be lucky enough to make yourself a cup of coffee and grab a sad little granola bar on your way out the door. Then you trudge through your busy morning, diligently crossing off items on your to-do list, and willing with all your might for that pitiful little 150 calorie bar to get you through until lunch… sound familiar to anyone?
If it does, then you’re not alone. Feeling sleepy, lacking an appetite, and not having enough time are the three biggest complaints I hear when I ask clients why they skip this essential meal. In fact, it’s why nearly 25% of the population forgoes a traditional breakfast. And while we can all likely relate to those feelings from time to time, you shouldn’t let those inconveniences stop you from fueling what is arguably the most essential part of your day. Allow me to present three reasons why you should consider re-working breakfast into your crazy schedule.
1.) Breakfast Eaters Have Healthier Body Weight
First and foremost, did you know that habitual breakfast eaters are more likely to have a healthy body weight and more favorable body composition? While the exact relationship between a morning meal and weight-related outcomes is not fully understood, several large prospective studies support the association between regularly eating breakfast and having a lower risk of obesity. This may be in part because those who eat breakfast are less likely to get over-hungry and subsequently over-indulge later on. Also, breakfast provides the opportunity to consume beneficial nutrients like protein and fiber, which can help limit blood sugar spikes and keep you feeling full longer.
2.) Increased Brain Cognition
Another reason I encourage clients to eat a nutrient dense breakfast is because we know that it significantly improves cognition. A 2016 literature review assessed the results of 34 individual studies and found that healthy adults who regularly eat breakfast have improved memory, attention, and motor function. This may be in part because the brain relies on glucose (broken down carbohydrates, aka “blood sugar”) as its primary fuel source. When the body goes long periods of time without eating, circulating glucose is low and therefore focus and memory may be impaired. Thankfully, “breaking the fast” with a morning meal can help you avoid those negative consequences.
3.) Improved Cardiometabolic Health
Lastly, for our female readers out there, evidence exists that shows an association between skipping breakfast and poor cardiometabolic health. While this potential relationship is still being investigated, there is reason to believe that missing your morning meal may lead to outcomes such as elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and higher circulating cortisol. Over time, these metabolic conditions can manifest into more serious and life-threatening chronic illnesses.
To conclude, substantial evidence indicates that eating breakfast leads to both physical and mental advantages, ultimately allowing you to start the day as your best self. Now, all you’re missing are a few quick recipes that will make the transition to breakfast a little easier. Afraid you still won’t have time to prepare something nutritious? My pro-tip for clients is to give themselves an advantage and always prepare breakfast the night before. Check out two of my favorite make-ahead recipes that are so delicious they’ll have you questioning how you ever got by without your morning fuel.
Galioto, R., & Spitznagel, M. (2016). The Effects of Breakfast and Breakfast Composition on Cognition in Adults. Adv Nutr., 7(3), 576-589. doi:10.3945/an.115.010231
Gibney, M., Barr, S., Bellisle, F., Drewnowski, A., Fagt, S., & Livingstone, B. (2018). Breakfast in Human Nutrition: The International Breakfast Research Initiative. Nutrients, 10(5) 559. doi:10.3390/nu10050559
Witbracht, M., Keim, N., Forester, S., Widaman, A., & Laugero, K. (2015). Female breakfast skippers display a disrupted cortisol rhythm and elevated blood pressure. Physiology & Behavior, 140, 215-221. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.12.044
About the author
At Your Pursuit of Wellness, (uPOW), our mission is to motivate, inspire, and inform you on your personal journey of self-fulfillment by bringing awareness to the multifaceted nature of wellness.