Breakfast: The most important meal of the day?

Breakfast: The most important meal of the day?

Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day, as it gives sustainable energy for whatever the day has in store for you.

I strongly agree!

I go by this quote:

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

Adelle Davis

We should all be aiming to consume around 15–25% of our daily energy intake at breakfast (about 300–500 calories for women and 375–625 for men) but, our fast-paced, on-the-go culture result in fewer people eating a sit-down breakfast at home, or eating breakfast at all.

Our bodies got its own internal clocks (circadian rhythm). They tick out their own beats, but they continuously calibrate themselves to external signals like sunlight and food. Of those two, food is the biggest factor we have control over to prevent our bodies to get out of sync which leads to sluggishness.

Below are a few benefits of eating in the AM:

  • A balanced, nutritious breakfast supports Gut Health
  • Having lower body fat percentage
  • Consuming less fat through the day
  • Meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Having higher daily calcium intake
  • Achieving higher daily fiber intake
  • Having better performance (memory and concentration)
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes 

Does this mean I can eat anything, as long as I just eat something?

No! The problem comes in when people eat high sugar breakfasts (sugary cereals, drinks, and spreads) which equates to more than 50% of the recommended daily allowance of sugar!

You have to eat a well-balanced breakfast, one that gives its energy slowly over the course of the morning.

We tend to make healthier longer-term food choices when we are in a good mood, while tending to make a less healthy food choice when we are in a bad mood.

According to research positive emotions such as enthusiasm, energy level, mental alertness, interest, joy, and determination increase from early morning until noon. Then they keep constant until 9 pm. This means you will make better choices later during the day if you are in a good mood and had your breakfast!

Here are some examples of good breakfast choices:

  • High-fibre cereal (like oats) with fresh fruit and milk or milk alternatives
  • Protein shake or smoothie with fresh/frozen fruit
  • High-fibre toast with tablespoon of nut butter/egg(poached/omelette)/baked beans/lean mince
  • Select protein bar (choose very carefully) and yoghurt or a glass of milk
  • Yoghurt and granola with fruit
  • Protein pancakes
  • Breakfast wrap

Remember to read labels on any processed breakfast you choose to see if they are healthy choices. If you eat something processed, try to keep the carbohydrates under 30 grams per serving and look for bars with around 8-10 grams of protein, and 3 or more grams of fibre.

“Breakfast is like exercising, if you make room for it in the morning, you’ll look and feel great throughout the day.”

References

  1. Katherine, S et al. 2019. Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMI Volume 364:l42.
  2. Oltmanns, KM et al. 2020. Twice as High Diet-Induced Thermogenesis After Breakfast vs Dinner On High-Calorie as Well as Low-Calorie Meals. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Volume 105:3. DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgz311
  3. Charles Spence. 2017. Breakfast: The most important meal of the day? International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science. Volume 8:1-6.

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