We’ve all heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But is this true? Why does breakfast matter? Is breakfast important for losing weight?
As a matter of fact, breakfast is one of the most important meals and important for weight loss. When we consume food upon waking up, we fuel our bodies for the day and jump start our metabolism. This allows us to burn calories during the day more efficiently.
By skipping breakfast, the metabolism tends to slow down. This can cause the body to “hold onto” the calories and burn less throughout the day.
In addition, skipping breakfast often leads to the consumption of unhealthy foods, excessive snacking, and larger lunch and dinner portions. Satisfying your hunger in the morning also means you are less likely to consume unhealthful foods during the day, which we often do when we’re hungry.
Big Dinners & Late Night Eating
If you're someone who skips breakfast because you lack hunger in the morning, it could be due to excess food intake during dinner, or excessive late nigh snacking.
Our bodies require the least amount of food at night because of the lack of energy used during the night sleeping. On the other hand, our bodies require more food earlier in the day and are most effective at utilizing energy from food consumed in the morning or throughout the day.
In order to help regulate your hunger, start by being mindful of your hunger/fullness cues at night. If you consume snacks after dinner, ask yourself am I really hungry? If not, avoid late night snacks unless you physically feel hungry. If this is the case, aim for the consumption of high volume, low calorie foods. Such as fruits or vegetables (carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, etc).
Many successful dieters aim to make dinner the smallest meal of the day, at least from a calorie perspective. The biggest meal being lunch.
Benefits of Eating Breakfast
Several benefits have been found in those individuals who consume breakfast regularly, such as: consuming less overall “bad” foods, consuming more fruits and vegetables, higher fiber intake, having a lower BMI.
The quality of your breakfast is also important for weight loss. Eating simple carbohydrates such as donuts, muffins, sugary cereal is not recommended. The ideal breakfast should be adequate in protein and fiber to satisfy your hunger and keep you full until lunch.
Some good breakfast ideas are:
- Oatmeal (preferably plain) – you can top with a tablespoon of brown sugar, honey, or alternative sweetener & fresh and or frozen fruit. Add a few chopped nuts or seeds for additional nutrients.
- Vegetable omelet w/ whole wheat bread and/or fruit.
- Whole grain english muffin or whole wheat bread topped with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter or any nut butter. Top with sliced bananas for a sweet treat.
- Fruit smoothies with protein powder and spinach.
- Greek yogurt or plain greek yogurt and add in your own fruit and perhaps top with nuts or seeds. Note: yogurts with ‘live and active cultures’ serve as probiotics and are important for gut health. Research has shown that a healthy gut is correlated to weight management and your overall health.
- Whole wheat toast with sliced avocado and hard boiled eggs.
- High fiber cereal plus low fat milk or milk substitute. Add fresh fruit for sweetness.
- Select protein bars
Check out article: favorite healthy foods for more healthy breakfast ideas!
Read the of Food Labels!
When choosing pre-packaged foods or on-the-go foods such as bread, yogurt, and protein bars, it is important to pay attention to the food label and ingredients.
For instance, look for bread products with whole grains, whole wheat flour or 100% whole wheat flour as the first ingredient on the ingredient list. This is to ensure the product has not been striped of the fiber content, protein or essential vitamins and minerals. Remember, fiber and protein helps keep you fuller longer!
Next, identify the sugar content in the food label; specifically added sugar. For example, yogurts can be tricky as many yogurts may appear to be ‘healthy’ but they are actually loaded with added sugars.
Keep in mind that for every 4 grams of added sugar is equivalent (roughly) to 1 teaspoon of sugar. So if the yogurt or any food item has 16 grams of added sugar, you are consuming 4 teaspoons of sugar! Your best bet is to avoid added sugars as much as possible.
Conclusion – Is Breakfast Important for Losing Weight?
Most dieters trying to lose weight are always thinking about where they can trim calories from their daily diets. Of course, breakfast is a common target because many people find it easier to skip than the other meals. However, as the first meal of the day, a quality breakfast can play a vital role in your weight management strategy.
Is breakfast important for losing weight? Yes!
Be sure to check out the EllisFit.com healthy recipes section for more breakfast ideas!