Why is breakfast considered the most important meal of the day?
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your supply of glucose and provides the other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up for the rest of the day. Breakfast not only gives you the needed energy for the day but is also linked to many other health benefits, including weight management and improved performance.
Studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast can help you with the following :
- Improved concentration in the office or classroom
- More strength and endurance to participate in physical activities
- A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in vitamins and minerals
- Lower cholesterol levels that might decrease your chances of various heart diseases
Breakfast is important for everyone, but especially for small children. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and better hand-eye coordination.
Glucose is the energy source of your body and brain. Glucose is broken down and absorbed from the carbohydrates you eat. In the morning, after you have gone without food for as long as 12 hours, your glycogen levels are low. Glycogen is the glucose that has been stored in your muscle tissue and liver where it is released slowly overnight to keep your blood sugar levels stable. After all the energy from the glycogen stores have been used up, your muscles start breaking down fatty acids to restore energy levels.
Eating breakfast restores your glycogen levels and boosts your energy, as well as kick-starting your metabolism for the day.
Breakfast benefitting weight control
Various studies have shown that people that eat breakfast usually have better weight management than people that skip breakfast.
Why eating breakfast can help with better weight control:
One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices when choosing other meals. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Breakfast skippers usually get hungrier during the day and eat more at lunch and throughout the day.
Another theory behind the breakfast-weight control link implies that eating breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes making wise food choices and balancing calories with exercise.
It’s worth noting that breakfast should be a healthy meal, containing protein, healthy carbs, good fats and whole-grains, not meals loaded with sugar and calories,
Why you should add lean protein to your breakfast menu
Adding a little protein to your breakfast may just be the key to keeping you fuller until lunch time. But research suggests that when the protein content of the meal increases, so does appetite control throughout the rest of the day. They also found that the high protein breakfast reduced gastric emptying (this is when food exits your stomach and enters your small intestine for digestion) which may result in feeling fuller for longer.
Choosing the right breakfast foods
This just goes to show how important it is to choose the right foods for breakfast. A healthy breakfast meal should contain a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, and lean protein.
- An omelet with a piece of whole-grain toast and fresh avocado
- Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
- Oatmeal with fresh berries and a little honey
- Granola muesli with greek yogourt and fresh berries
- Salmon with whole-grain bread and sour cream
- Overnight oats with fresh berries
- Poached eggs on whole-grain toast
- Low-fat or greek yogurt with fresh fruits or berries
Things to remember
- When choosing the right foods, a healthy breakfast can have many health benefits.
- Children who skip breakfast may lack sufficient nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals including iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B2.
- Reasons for skipping breakfast include lack of time, lack of motivation and lack of available breakfast foods. Make sure to manage your time in the morning so you don’t get stuck with skipping breakfast.
Ewan de Klerk