There is an ancient saying that suggests that people should: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar.” But, just because it’s an ancient proverb doesn’t mean it’s true…or is it? This article by the UpWellness team will help you demystify the first meal of the day.
The popular saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” should really be replaced by “breakfast is the most complicated meal of the day.” Or at least that seems to be the case. With so much misinformation and long-held myths surrounding breakfast, it can be frustrating to figure out the healthiest way to start your day. These research-backed nutritional tips will help simplify the breakfast problem once and for all and set you up for success.
Why is it important to eat breakfast?
“Breaking your fast” in the morning helps to jumpstart your metabolism and start the day on a healthy eating cycle. Think about it; if you eat right away and continue on a regular meal schedule, you are unlikely to get hungry late at night and engage in pre-bed snacking, which can contribute to weight gain. Breakfast may also help you avoid large, unhealthy meals at lunch due to excessive hunger. Studies have shown that eating three nutritionally balanced meals each day can help contribute to feelings of fullness and reduce overeating.
If you’re not a breakfast person, or just can’t bring yourself to eat when you first wake up, there’s no need to panic. Your body has adjusted to a certain eating schedule, and if you find that it works for you, it is best to stick to it. However, if you find yourself ravenous at lunch, it may be a good idea to eat a small meal earlier in the day, even if it is a few hours after you get up.
What should you eat in the morning
It is highly evident that not all breakfast foods are created equal. Sugar cereals, carbohydrate-laden pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and other traditional American breakfasts are not going to do your body any favors. Try to avoid heavy meals that leave you sluggish and sleepy; that’s asking for a mid-afternoon (or mid-morning crash).
Focus on healthy, nutritious foods that provide beneficial minerals and vitamins and have enough substance to sustain you until lunch.
Smoothies are the busy person’s best friend. If you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast in the morning, simply whip up a smoothie and drink it on the go. Avoid prepackaged smoothie mixes and powders that are loaded with sugar, and enjoy lots of fruits and veggies instead. Blend frozen fruit like bananas, and berries with a milk substitute such as almond milk and some hearty leafy greens like spinach and kale. This nutrient-explosion will allow you to get a lot of the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in a single drink. No chewing required.
Fruits are complex carbohydrates filled with fiber that increase feelings of satiety and keep you content until your next meal. Because of their fiber content, the natural sugar is slowly absorbed into the body, which allows you to burn it for energy rather than storing it as fat. Fruits like blackberries, papaya, kiwi, raspberries, melon, grapes, and grapefruit, to name just a few, will help you branch out from the more popular bananas, apple, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries and deliver many of the same dietary benefits. Mix fresh fruit into a serving of greek yogurt for an incredibly filling breakfast parfait.
Eggs are a great versatile breakfast option that can help maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels. They are also an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients that keep you full and allow you eat less at your next meal.
Other components of a healthy breakfast:
- Overnight oats
- Chia seeds
- Green tea
- Greek yogurt
Make time for a morning routine
Breakfast isn’t just about providing fuel for your body. Wake up a few minutes early and give yourself enough time to sit down and mindfully consider the day. So often, we rush out the door without making the conscious decision to be positive and grateful for whatever life throws at us. This oversight can lead to things like road rage, frustrations at work, and overworked adrenal glands. Develop habits of healthy living in your morning routine that will flow throughout your entire day.
What do you eat for breakfast? Let us know in the comments below!
-The UpWellness Team