It has been instilled in us since we were little: “Eat your breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day!” But is it really? The research is actually contradictory on this mantra. Some studies show that breakfast eaters tend to:
- Overeat less throughout the day
- Think more clearly
- Get more essential nutrients
- Maintain a healthier weight
While other studies show just the opposite. Further, it’s hard to determine if breakfast causes these healthy outcomes or if the people studied already live healthier lifestyles. Let’s break down how best to apply what we know currently about the importance of our first meal of the day.
Breakfast is imperative. Most children can’t get all the vitamins and minerals they need for optimal growth and development from just lunch and dinner. Further, studies show that kids who don’t eat in the morning tend to have a harder time focusing in school, a higher body mass index (BMI), and lower test scores. That being said, if you have a child who doesn’t want to eat first thing, don’t force them as this teaches them to ignore their natural hunger cues. Instead, make sure to pack something they can have on the way to school or between classes, following the nutrition tips below.
Most of us fall into one of two camps: breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers. Simply put, if you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, don’t eat and if you wake up ravenous, go for it. Literally everybody is different and what’s most important is that you listen to your body’s hunger cues and when you do eat, make it count with nutrient dense, whole foods and an emphasis on plants.
Whenever you decide to partake in that first meal, there are a few tips to get organized and hopefully ease some of that hustle to get something nutritious on the plate.
Include breakfast in your meal planning. Many meal planners tend to focus on dinners but make sure to include breakfast in the planning process. This will take a lot of the mental stress out of deciding what to make and ensuring you have all the ingredients on hand.
Pick quick and easy recipes which saves precious morning time specifically when you've hit hangry mode, we've all been there!
Do some night-before meal prepping allowing you to buy back a few extra morning minutes
6 Tips to Build a Better Breakfast
1) Start with protein as found in nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, eggs, soy, and dairy (plant-based or traditional).
2) Include fiber from fruits, veggies, seeds, beans, and whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, or whole grain bread.
3) Don't forget healthy fats that come from avocado, nuts, nut butters, soy, and seeds.
4) Aim for variety. This will ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs all while keeping breakfast exciting and enjoyable. Variety is the spice of life, right?
5) Eat your veggies! Add them to smoothies, include them in a breakfast scramble, or even as a spread on a whole grain English muffin. Remember, breakfast can be savory.
6) Things to keep to a minimum:
Saturated fat - which is commonly found in breakfast meats, baked goods, and pastries.
Added sugar – which is hidden in A LOT of breakfast foods from doughnuts and flavored yogurts, to sugary cereals, premade breakfast bars, and syrup or honey toppings.
Salt – which can be found in many breakfast meats, cheeses, and added during cooking or at the table.
Breakfast Recipe Inspiration
Keep in mind that Vitamix can help with breakfast prep, whether it’s chopping veggies for an omelet, or blending up a breakfast smoothie. Here are just a few “first meal of the day” ideas that check all the boxes: