A Lesson from the Nook: Why Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

It’s no revelation that breakfast is important.  In fact, 9 out of 10 Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  What is surprising, though, is that fewer than half of Americans eat breakfast regularly.  The primary reasons for skipping are people feel time constrained, aren’t hungry or are trying to cut calories.  We here at Seven Sundays believe that developing a healthy breakfast routine is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do for your health.  Whether you are looking to increase your energy levels, lose weight, strengthen your immune system or just feel great throughout the day, making time for breakfast is important.

Link between skipping breakfast and obesity
Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but study after study shows that skipping breakfast is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss.  Does this seem confusing to you?  Think of it this way.  Breakfast skippers tend to overcompensate and eat high calorie snacks and meals later in the day than those who eat breakfast because they are starving.  Skipping breakfast also slows your metabolism, so even if you eat healthy the rest of the day, if you’ve skipped breakfast, your body is more likely to accumulate body fat when you eat more infrequently.

The sure-fire way to have lasting energy
Sure, your morning latte may give you a quick jolt to get you started, but for long lasting energy throughout the day, there is only one steadfast way to get it – eat breakfast.  In the morning, our glucose stores are at their lowest levels of the day, meaning we have no energy.  If the first time you eat for the day is lunch, you could be going 18 or more hours without food, and it is difficult to make up that deficiency the rest of the day.

Top-notch performance
Dozens of studies have shown that breakfast eaters have better cognitive function, make fewer mistakes, perform better on tests, have faster short term memory and are less irritable.  Our bodies need a consistent supply of glucose and nutrients to function properly.   By “breaking the fast” in the morning, we are replenishing our bodies with important fuel that allows us to function properly.  This is especially true with kids and young adults whose brains are still developing.

Tips for eating a healthy breakfast

What you eat is just as important as that you eat.  Use these tips to improve your breakfast routine.

• Choose the right nutritional profile – Choose foods that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fat, and are low in sugar.  Foods with this profile will give you long-lasting energy so you don’t crash mid-morning.
• Eat enough calories – Many breakfast products tout low calories and contain 100 or fewer calories per serving.  To get all the physical and cognitive benefits from breakfast, you should aim to get at least one-fourth of your daily calories from breakfast, so aim for 500-700 calories.
• Eat at home – Breakfast that is eaten at home is almost always more nutritious than breakfast eaten away from home.  Not to mention eating at home saves money!  The extra 15 minutes of sleep you’d gain from grabbing breakfast on the run will not make up for the lasting energy you obtain from eating a well balanced breakfast.
• Incorporate fresh foods – Whenever possible, incorporate fresh fruits or vegetables into your breakfast.  Keep berries on hand to put on top cereal, add fresh veggies to your eggs, or grab an apple or handful of grapes on your way out the door.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of important nutrients and should be incorporated throughout your day; breakfast is no exception.

Enjoy your morning,

Hannah Barnstable
Hannah Barnstable