The Importance of Breakfast: Are You Perpetuating Overeating?

 In Feature, Healthy Eating

Breakfast. While it’s my favourite meal, it’s often the most skipped meal of the day. Did you know your bad breakfast habits are not only perpetuating a cycle of overeating, but probably have you feeling run down? Let’s talk about the importance of breakfast.

If you implement just ONE nutrition change, having breakfast each day should be it.

Why, you might ask? You might say, I’m not hungry until 11 am anyways, and then, I can just wait it out ’til lunch. Less calories that way, you say.

It goes a little something like this:

You have something piddly for breakfast. An apple maybe. Or maybe skip breakfast all together. By the time lunch rolls around, you’re ravenous. You eat lunch. You’re still hungry after lunch. You snack at 1:30. You snack at 3:00. By 4:30 pm, you can’t wait for supper. Maybe you nibble at foods as you’re preparing them. Maybe you eat an entire block of cheese that was SUPPOSED to top your quesadilla. You have supper, and after supper, you’re still hungry. Evening snacking rolls around. This time, it’s not so healthy choices. Or maybe it is, but the portion control is out the window. Frozen yogurt bars? I’ll have two. Cheese and crackers? There goes your WHOLE box of Triscuits.

Sound familiar? I’ve been watching you through your window. Or maybe, you’re not the only one who struggles with this exact eating pattern. The culprit – choosing a poorly constructed breakfast, or maybe skipping it entirely!

Breakfast does many fabulous things for us

1. Breakfast jump starts your metabolism. It tells the body that the liver no longer needs to spit out glucose, and primes the cells metabolize. It shifts the body from starvation mode – a state where your body is holding onto its nutrition because it doesn’t know when the next time you will eat is – to a state where the cells are exposed to glucose (The simplest form of energy) and are ready to start firing! This INCLUDES the cells in your brain – something handy to have working when you’re trying to form sentences at 8 am without sounding like a primate.

2. Skipping breakfast causes your hunger hormones to launch into over-drive. All day, the body will be saying ‘I gotta catch up, I gotta catch up!” and will be chasing calories. At the same time, the body will try to conserve more energy. A poorly fed body does what any teenage girl circa 1997 does when she sees the Back Street Boys. It FREAKS OUT. Overreacts. Compensates. Really, your body is rather vindictive to the abuse you’ve just put it through. A proper, balanced breakfast re-fuels the body,  letting it know that you will, indeed, refuel when required. It sends satiety hormones up, and allows your body to start using the fuel appropriately.

3. Breakfast is EXTREMELY nutrient dense. Our breakfast choices tend to be foods high in protein, fibre, and lots of vitamins and minerals. AND I’ve never met a breakfast I didn’t like. Sweet, savoury, you name it. And all chock-full of nutrition-y goodness.

Get OVER your Breakfast Excuses

I’m like, so totally over it! I want to hear you say in your best Cher Horowitz impression.

Stop these excuses dead in their tracks:

“It’s too early to eat!”

uh…. take it with you? Eat it on the road? On the bus? When you get to work? That’s how I roll.

“I can’t get up early enough to make breakfast!”

Helllllllo – make it the night before? Heck, I’m so ahead of the game I have stocks of pancakes and oatmeal in my freezer – but you’ll have to get my breakfast e-compliation to learn those secrets…

“I’m just not a breakfast person.”

I reject this. Breakfast is delicious. Check out my e-complation “Never Worry About Breakfast Again – 7 Unique Recipes for the Week“. I rest my case.

GET IT: FREE 7 Days of Breakfast Ebook!

Elements of a perfect breakfast

1. Protein. I’m a big believer in the right amount of protein, at the right time. Breakfast tends to be a meal where people skimp on protein. Barring no medical conditions that require you to restrict such, I challenge to you aim for 20-30 grams of protein at this meal. Adequate protein moves the body into a state where it’s most capable of building muscle (protein anabolism). Protein choices tend to be our meat and alternates (meat, eggs, peanut butter, etc) and milk and alternates (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese etc)

2. Fat. I am fat crazy. Nothing makes me happier than a nutritious, high fat food. If you find you get hungry quickly after breakfast, I often find inadequate fats to be the culprit. Fats make you feel full, and truly satisfied with your meal. For breakfast, my go-to fats are peanut butter, avocado, nuts and seeds, yogurt, milk and cheese, and coconut.

3. Carbs. Yes carbs. The low carb-craze drives me cuckoo. 10 years ago, low-fat everything was all the rage. Now, it’s the carbs. If any diet is asking you to take out an entire macronutrient or food group – I need you to ask yourself – am I CRAZY? If the answer is yes, then by all means, jump on that ship. I’ll see ya when you dis-embark 10 years later – and hopefully 10 years wiser. (I’ll be the one on the pier waving the ‘I told you so’ flag.) But enough of that. Carbs are IMPORTANT. They are our fuel. They are our body’s love language. They are the most usable source of energy, something your body is craving after a good 8 hours sleep. They make your brain work. They make your heart happy. But you SHOULD be choosy on which carbs you jump out of bed with. I recommend COMPLEX carbs. Full of vitamins and fibre, these help you to stay full,  & keep your colon happy (associated with a lower colon cancer risk).

Never Worry About Breakfast Again: 7 Unique Recipes for the Week | Andrea Hardy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Calgary Alberta

So now you know the elements of a perfectly composed breakfast. Now what?

1. Set yourself a goal: i.e.: I will start eating breakfast tomorrow morning and will start by choosing (insert your breakfast meal here) which I’m going to prepare (when: right now, in the morning, at work, etc.)

2. Sign up for but first, let’s eat newsletter and for the next 7 days you will receive a daily email compilation Never Worry About Breakfast Again: 7 Unique Recipes for the Week“. Honestly – LIFE CHANGING. If one more bowl of Rice Krispies is going to cause you to snap (and crackle and pop) then THIS is the place to start. They are my top 7 go-to breakfast recipes for the week, and are a major game changer.

3. Enjoy the benefits a good breakfast has on your brain, and your appetite.

4. Share in the comments section said benefits. Andrea LOVES to hear about all your successes!

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  • Mandi m

    Get out of my head/windows!! Lol you have, point by point (including my enthusiasm for the backstreet boys) explained all my problems with breakfast and all the exuses I HAD for not eating it.Two mandarins and a piece of multi grain toast =baby steps breakfast!
    Wanted to point out that in your list of breakfast do’s you forgot “copious amounts of coffee” ?! – I think a gallon of coffee is essential … No? :-p

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