Unsurprising: Yet another study has confirmed that breakfast is good for you!
Researchers found that individuals who eat breakfast regularly tend to gain less weight over time than those who skip it. Breakfast eaters, on average, gained less than 3lbs during the twelve-year study, while breakfast skippers gained an average of 8lbs or more. This adds to the large body of research that breakfast eaters tend to have lower body weights than those that skip.
If you currently skip but want to experience some of the benefits of eating breakfast here are some tips to get started:
- Start with something small: a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts or a yogurt would be a good place to start.
- Try to eat within two hours of waking up.
- Make sure to reduce calories slightly later in the day. If you simply add food in the morning, you may even gain weight at first! The idea is to redistribute your calories, not just add to the day.
- Once you have a bigger appetite in the morning, aim for a three food-group breakfast: fruit, whole grains, and protein. This ensures that you’re getting a nice balance of nutrients that will provide both quick energy (carbs) and longer lasting energy (protein/fat) to get you through until your next meal. Calorie wise, 200-400 is a good range for most people.
Here are a few ideas for meals to get you started:
Grab and Go (1 minute or less):
- Granola bar and a piece of fruit
- Check the nutrition label on bars and cereals. Add the protein + fiber, this sum should be greater than the sugar.
- Overnight Oats
- Protein Shake
- Look for 15-30g of protein, and less than 5g of sugar.
Everyday (5-10 minutes)
- Oatmeal (instant, rolled, steel cut) made with low fat or soy milk and topped with fruit
- Breakfast sandwich: Whole grain English muffin, 1 fried egg, and side of fruit
- Avocado toast: Whole grain bread topped with 1/3 avocado and a fried egg, or nix the fried egg and smash 1/3 cup white beans into the avocado.
Lazy weekend morning (10-20 minutes):
Out and About
- Starbucks Oatmeal
- Dunkin Donuts Egg White flatbread
- Wawa hard boiled eggs and piece of fruit
- Snap Kitchen – almost anything!
The reality is, we still don’t know WHY breakfast eaters tend to have healthier body weights than those who skip. Research shows that people who eat breakfast tend to eat more whole grains, fruit and vegetables the rest of the day and may be more likely to exercise, which could also explain their healthier weight status. People who skip breakfast are more likely to eat large portions later in the day, so these are factors that could impact body weight as well.
From a metabolism standpoint, most people’s metabolism is fastest in the morning, and tends to slow as the day goes on, so it makes sense to frontload calories towards the morning.
All of this said, if eating breakfast isn’t doable for you, try focusing on the overall quality of your diet, have a larger lunch than dinner, and aim to eat every 3-4 hours to avoid getting too hungry between meals.