Everyone has heard the phrase, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” at least once in their life, but many don’t know the extensive benefits of starting the day with a nutritious meal. Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner shares her expertise and offers simple tips to boost the first meal of the day.
“The name breakfast means to ‘break the fast’ that happens when you don’t eat overnight,” explains Blatner. “Because your mind and body are waking up, you need to give it the right fuel for the day.”
Eating a sizable breakfast, a modest lunch and light dinner can help fuel your body and work positively with your metabolism as well. This is where the saying, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper” comes from.
Blatner says eating a wholesome breakfast packed with nutrients helps you maintain energy and peak brain function, something you need for work and kids need at school. She also notes that the right breakfast works with your natural metabolic process throughout the day, and it can have a positive impact on weight.
“Skipping breakfast puts your body in a panic mode, wondering when it will be getting its next meal,” says Blatner. “If you go too long without eating, it can cause you to overeat when you do finally eat, and your body wants to store those excess calories rather than burning them consistently throughout the day. This can also cause peaks and pits with energy levels.”
Eating breakfast is a smart idea for the present, but it also may have a positive health impact in the future, too. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found there was an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, especially due to stroke, for those who skipped breakfast.
For your heart health and so much more, breakfast appears to be the most important meal of the day. But what exactly should a healthy breakfast include? Blatner offers some ideas:
Whole grains: Feel fuller for longer by eating whole-grain toast, whole-grain cereal or oatmeal.
Fruits and vegetables: Fresh produce provides super-charged nutrients and plenty of fiber. Add a handful of berries, sliced avocado or spinach to your breakfast creations.
Low-fat dairy: Get your daily dose of calcium with low-fat yogurt, cheese or milk.