For those hoping for a better year in 2021, taking action at the start of each day may help reach that goal. One action to consider is starting the day with a better breakfast routine.
Some critics of breakfast argue that skipping breakfast calories leads to weight loss. While delaying breakfast can help some people manage their weight, for others, eating breakfast may actually help promote weight loss. Eating breakfast in the morning can also help control blood sugars and fill in the missing nutrients we need daily.
Breakfast May Help with Weight Loss
According to numerous research studies, skipping breakfast is associated with high BMI and obesity. One reason is that hunger can increase when breakfast is skipped, which oftentimes leads to overeating at lunch.
Data from the Sister Study of more than 47,000 women showed that consistency was the key. Those who ate breakfast irregularly 3-4 times a week were 11%-17% more likely to be obese compared to women who never ate breakfast or ate it every day of the week. If you don’t eat breakfast and need a change, evidence suggests that eating breakfast seven days a week is better than occasionally.
For the calorie-conscious, here are some breakfast ideas that are low in calories, sugar, and saturated fat plus can help maintain energy until lunch:
Breakfast Can Help Control Blood Sugars
Skipping breakfast and eating a lot at lunch may not only lead to weight gain, it can also lead to spikes in blood sugar. When hungry, blood sugar is low. In fact, blood sugar is generally lowest in the morning after waking up. If a person waits until lunch to eat and has a carbohydrate-based meal, the blood sugar goes from low to high in a short time.
This is hard on the liver which tries to release enough insulin to clear that sugar from the bloodstream. A continuous pattern of blood sugar spikes and high levels of insulin is what ultimately may lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Eating a breakfast that contains both carbohydrates and protein can help manage blood sugars from the start of the day. Here are two examples:
Three Meals Help Us Reach Our Nutrient Goals
Finally, breakfast offers a fighting chance to consume most of the recommended nutrients needed in a day. In addition to carbs, fats, and proteins, people need micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals to keep organs, muscles, and the immune system functioning properly.
Consuming all of these nutrients each day is a challenge with three meals, but it’s nearly impossible if meals are only eaten once or twice a day. Breakfast can be a great source of the nutrients needed to heal and repair from wounds, sickness, and workouts, and even prevent disease.
How to Start Eating Breakfast
Don’t feel hungry in the morning? Believe it or not, hunger can be learned. If your current routine of skipping breakfast isn’t helping you reach your goals and you want to try eating breakfast in the morning, you can train yourself to feel hunger. To start feeling hungry in the morning, don’t snack after dinner. Then, slowly introduce small amounts of food when you wake up. As your appetite grows, breakfast can become natural and enjoyable.
For the reluctant breakfast eaters out there, rather than “eating” breakfast for the next week or two, try “drinking” breakfast. Drinking can be an easier mental obstacle to overcome than eating, and may prevent side effects like nausea, upset stomach, or bloating in the morning. Smoothies with fruits, vegetables, and protein can kickstart your day with nutrients needed for general health and disease prevention. They can also train your mind and stomach to start craving solid food in the morning.
Here are a couple of smoothies to help kickstart your new breakfast training habit: