The saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why is it so important, and what we can eat in the morning to ensure that we get the most out of this essential meal?
Laura Pumillo, RD MA CDN, suggests a breakfast composed of 25 grams of protein and 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates, totaling around 400 calories, for a balanced, healthy meal. For an idea of what that looks like, think 8 to 12 ounces of fat-free Greek yogurt with blueberries, a small handful of almonds, and 1 slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter. Or, a whole-wheat breakfast wrap with eggs, beans, and low- or reduced-fat cheese.
For the carbohydrates, Pumillo recommends whole-grain cereal or toast, or oatmeal or cream of wheat that is low in sugar. Adding fresh or dried fruit to the whole grains or mixing in items like chopped walnuts or sliced almonds is beneficial for extra nutrients and protein.
But why is it so important to eat breakfast, anyway? While there's no guarantee that breakfast-eaters will lose weight faster than those who don't eat breakfast, there have been several studies that show that people who do eat breakfast tend to weigh less and have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off. Pumillo notes that studies also show that breakfast-eaters have fewer occurrences of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Additionally, people who eat breakfasts that are high in protein are better able to control their appetite throughout the day and have higher energy and better concentration. The nutritional benefits of eating breakfast is a diet higher in vitamin C, calcium, protein, zinc, iron, and fiber.
So the next time you think about skipping breakfast, think again — it’s easy to achieve a healthy, balanced breakfast, and the health benefits are definitely worth it.