Health benefits of breakfast time include weight control, less appetite and increased brain function. That’s why breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It’s also quite often the tastiest meal of the day too.
To make the most of breakfast, nutritionists advice that:
- breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking
- a healthy breakfast should provide calories in the range of 20-35% of your guideline daily allowance (GDA)
Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after your overnight fast (provided you haven’t had a midnight snack!)
That’s where the name breakfast comes from: you’re literally breaking the fast. Without breakfast you’re running on empty, like trying to start the car with no petrol!
According to recent studies, people who skip breakfast tend to be heavier and have higher cholesterol levels. On average, people who skipped breakfast also had the greatest waist circumference and the highest body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose levels. Making sure you eat breakfast has a number of important benefits to your health.
Benefits of Breakfast #1: Weight Control
Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. Sure, it makes sense to skip on breakfast and save the calories, but this is proven to be ineffective. Typically, hunger will get the better of a breakfast-skipper later on. Then, they eat more at lunch and snack throughout the day and pile on even more calories!
Breakfast is also great for weight control because it presents such a variety of options. With a mix of fruits, cereals and proteins available, breakfast is the perfect time to supplement your diet with the exact nutrients your body needs.
Benefits of Breakfast #2: Decrease Appetite
Eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day. This makes it less likely that you’ll be tempted by treats and snacks throughout the day. You’ll stay healthier and in better control of your diet when you are being tempted by cake!
Reduced appetite also increases your focus and makes you feel happier and more satisfied throughout the day. With a good breakfast starting things off, you’ll set yourself up for a happy and productive day.
Benefits of Breakfast #3: Boost Cognitive Function
Breakfast also restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function. Many studies have shown how eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels and it can also make us happier as it can improve mood and lower stress levels. In studies amongst children, breakfast can improve attainment, behaviour and has been linked to improved grades. Just like any other organ in the body, the brain needs energy to work at its best!
Balanced Breakfast Ideas
Make Lean Protein Part of Your Breakfast
Adding a little lean protein to your breakfast may be just the boost you need to help keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
Why not try…
- Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
- A veggie omelette, a piece of whole-wheat toast and glass of V8 Juice
- A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
- Hard-boiled egg and a banana
Fruit is not just tasty, but gives you a fast energy pick-me-up to kick start your day! A perfect accompaniment to low-fat yogurt, fruits of any sort, from oranges to strawberries and bananas, make a varied and exciting breakfast.
Why not try…
- Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
- Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
Cereals provide long-lasting, slow release energy that keeps you rocking right through to lunchtime. They also help aid digestion and make for a hearty breakfast in winter.
Why not try…
- Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
- Porridge made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
How to Stop Skipping Breakfast
Make Breakfast Easy
Some people find that they are so busy that they just don’t have time for breakfast. If you really can’t make the time for yourself to enjoy breakfast, make it easy! Prep your breakfast the night before, so you don’t have to do as much in the morning. If you don’t have time to cook eggs or protein, cold cuts of ham work just as well.
Encourage Good Habits
Breakfast is an excellent occasion to eat together as a family when possible. Establishing good breakfast habits in childhood and maintaining them throughout adolescence may be an important factor in reducing the prevalence of breakfast skipping and developing good eating habits that last a lifetime.
Get Into A Routine
The best way to avoid skipping breakfast is to get into a routine. Just like your exercise routine and your meal prep, get into a regular rhythm with breakfast. Try it for a week and you’ll be back to breakfasting before you know it!