You may have heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Although we are familiar with the saying, how many of us accept it as truth? After all, breakfast can’t be that important: “I can always skip breakfast and eat a bigger lunch, right?”
Breakfast is the first meal you get after fasting for many hours while you sleep. Your body has digested the foods you had the night before and now is low on fuel and is in need of the nutrients needed for cell repair and growth. The most important meal of the day should be when you have the time to burn off the calories in during that meal.
Breakfast gets its name from the breaking of the long fast that the body goes through during sleep. When you are sleeping and at rest for a long period of time, your body does not use as much energy and the metabolism rate slows. And by the time you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar level is very low.
When you eat a healthy breakfast to end the night long fast, you help to get your body’s metabolism going, which in turn increases your energy level. Now you have the energy you need to tackle life for the day ahead. Without breakfast, your body thinks it is still fasting, while you are awake, and will keep metabolism rate low to help your body conserve energy through what it believes to be periods of starvation or famine.
If you are dieting to lose weight, you may think that skipping breakfast, and the calories, would be a good way for you to lose weight fast. Unfortunately, what actually happens when you skip breakfast is that you are continuing the fast from the night before and your metabolism rate will stay low (as previously described) and your body may burn less calories as you go through your daily activities. Once you start eating again, your body will get the signal that fasting is over and it no longer needs to conserve energy. Your metabolism rate will increase and your body again starts to burn calories from the foods you eat.
Research have shown that when you eat breakfast, your body’s production of the hormone leptin that acts on the brain to suppress appetite and make you feel full. If you eat a balanced and nutritious breakfast, you should feel hungry between breakfast and lunch and feel the need to snack, which adds more calories.
In some people, skipping breakfast can cause irritability, restlessness and a feeling of exhaustion. Healthy eating for kids is important and breakfast is an important meal of the day. Studies have shown that children who eat a balanced breakfast everyday tend to be able to concentrate in class and do better in school and eat healthier throughout the day perhaps due to the healthy eating habits that developed with breakfast.
If you are one of those people who do not like eating breakfast or eating first thing in the morning, you can drink a glass of pure fruit juice without sugar and some yogurt or a piece of wheat toast with peanut butter. Breakfast ideally should include something from all food groups, such as: low calorie high fiber cereal with sliced bananas or strawberries, a cup of yogurt, lean slice of bacon and hash brown potatoes.
Eggs are an excellent food and should be a part of breakfast every week. Eggs are a compact powerhouse of nutrients and yet low in calories. They can be prepared in different ways, which include poached, scrambled or boiled. You can put in an English muffin, or mixed with pieces of cheese or turkey meat and vegetables for a stomach filling omelet.
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast gives your body the fuel it needs to jump start your metabolism and help keep you alert and focused during the day.