You’ve heard it said a million times, at least: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The truth of the message can get lost in the repetition of it. But, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Why? Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism after fasting for 8-10 hours at night. When the body is in a prolonged fasting state, it compensates by being very efficient at burning calories, meaning you burn fewer calories doing the same activities, and you have less energy to do those activities.
Many large, epidemiological studies have shown that breakfast-eaters overwhelmingly have healthier weights than people who skip breakfast. There are many reasons for this, including the body’s starvation response described above. Also, those who skip breakfast may feel hungrier later, and be more likely to choose high-calorie foods, more than making up for the calorie deficit they may have created by skipping breakfast. Research also shows that when we are very hungry and our blood sugar dips, we tend to choose foods that are very high in carbohydrates. These are typically not the most filling foods, which may lead us to overeat later, as we experience hunger again. People who eat breakfast report fewer cravings throughout the day, and eat fewer calories overall than people who skip breakfast.
Unfortunately, even with all this compelling evidence, many people still skip breakfast, especially teenagers. According to a survey by Kellogg’s, 50% of middle-school-aged children, and 64% of high-school-aged children skip breakfast. Not only does skipping breakfast make it hard to maintain a healthy weight, but it’s nearly impossible to get the recommended daily intake of fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.
The most common reason cited for skipping breakfast is lack of time. In the morning rush, getting a good meal prepared for everyone in the family can seem overwhelming. However, with a little bit of planning, even the most time-crunched family can have a healthy breakfast every day. Here are some quick, healthy breakfast ideas, sure to please.
You can use whole, quick oats, or higher-fiber steel cut oats. Steel cut oats take longer to cook, so prepare a large batch on the weekend, and warm up what you need each morning with a little milk or water. Add milled flax seed, chopped nuts, fresh fruit, and cinnamon or nutmeg for a filling, tasty meal.
Blend your favorite fresh or frozen fruit (no added sugar), plain yogurt, a splash of juice and a dark green leafy vegetable like spinach or kale in a blender or food processor. Even kids will love this tasty drink, and the bright green color is an added bonus!
Keep a stash of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for busy mornings. Pair with a piece of fruit and a glass of milk or some yogurt for a quick, easy, complete meal.