It’s always said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I grew up with the notion that you have breakfast like a king and dinner like a pauper.
But what if you’re never hungry in the morning and don’t like eating breakfast?
Should you eat something anyway?
Are you really harming your health if you skip breakfast?
The science about breakfast
Scientific research is pointing to the significance of having breakfast. Here are some of the key benefits of having breakfast.
Fuel your tank
Would you start a long road trip in your car with an empty tank? Think of not eating breakfast in the same way. You’re asking a lot of your body to get moving using only your reserves. Eating breakfast provides energy to power into your day and help your body perform at its best.
Improve heart health
The morning is when your body is most insulin-sensitive — when it uses blood sugar more effectively. So it’s a great time to choose fibre-filled carbs that’ll help you get 25 grams or more of dietary fibre a day to help lower your cholesterol.
And if you’re looking for heart-healthy breakfast options, I mention five options further on in this article.
Lower your diabetes risk
One observational study found people who skipped breakfast four to five days a week had as much as a 55% increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Be mindful of what ends up on your breakfast plate or breakfast bowl, though. Sugary cereals or traditional breakfast fares, such as doughnuts, muffins, waffles, pancakes and bagels, can be high in sugar, starch or fat.
Reduce brain fog
Your brain needs fuel to function. Breakfast can help you be more alert, focused and happy. (Just don’t overdo it on the coffee, which can lead to a crash later in the day.
It’s particularly important for children to feed their minds at breakfast. Studies show kids who eat in the morning are better able to pay attention at school, resulting in improved academic performance. It’s a lot easier to concentrate if your belly’s not grumbling.
What time should you eat breakfast?
The term “breakfast” means breaking the fast. And at some point in our day, all of us do that, whether it’s at 7 a.m. or noon. Ideally, the recommendation is to put some food in your belly within two hours of getting up for the day.
Finding that time to eat, however, seems to be an issue for some. Many of us fast-paced individuals who skip breakfast say we just can’t fit the meal into our morning schedule. If your mornings are hectic, plan ahead so you can grab and go.
Meal planning is the key to making conscious healthy choices. Regardless of whether your health goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, a little planning goes a long way to getting you out the door and to work on time.
An added bonus? Starting your day with a protein-rich meal may keep you full longer and help you avoid snacking — which could help keep away unwanted pounds.
Healthy foods to eat for breakfast
To keep your eyes from going half-mast by 10 a.m., choose whole foods and skip processed foods that have extra sugar. Eating a variety of nutritious foods can help you feel fuller longer.
Here are my five favourite suggestions to start your day.
Greek yoghurt and berries
This protein-and-fat combo can give you a feeling of fullness that lasts a little longer. You can mix in fruits, nuts or whole-grain cereal to the yoghurt. The berries provide the boost of antioxidants and fibre to kick start your day
Bircher muesli with fruits
Bircher muesli really ‘packs a punch’ when it comes to all the nutrition it provides in each and every serve
- Slow-digesting oats are low GI. With the addition of yoghurt or milk, it slows digestion even further, keeping you fuller for longer
- Vitamin C from the addition of seasonal fruits
- Dietary fibre from the oats and the addition of nuts and fruit (especially if skins are left on the fruit)
- Protein from both dairy sources and non-dairy sources, including oats, nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats from the nuts and seeds, either in the muesli or sprinkled on top
- Use dates or Sultanas to sweeten instead of sugar or syrup
Avocado toast on spelt seed bread
Spelt contains important vitamins and minerals. It’s also high in fibre. Its strong nutritional profile provides many potential health benefits. Whole-grain spelt is an excellent source of fibre. Fibre helps to slow your digestion, which helps to reduce blood sugar spikes after eating. Fibre from whole grains may also help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Spelt also helps in improved Digestive Health.
The fibre and other nutrients in spelt and other whole grains can help to improve the health of the good bacteria that live in your digestive system. It may help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy digestion.
(Spelt has gluten and should not be used if you’re gluten intolerant)
Combine it with berries and walnuts or flaxseed. “Oats only take 3 minutes on the pot (I do not believe it is safe to cook in the microwave), so it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. If you’re a plan-ahead sort of person, give overnight oats a try. This pre-made breakfast features oats soaked overnight in water, milk or yoghurt and provides a quick start to your day.
If eating breakfast still isn’t your thing, there’s no law against drinking it. So maybe try the Gut Wellness Smoothie recipe in my book Happy Gut, Healthy Weight for an ultra-nutritious morning meal.
If you’re enjoying this topic, you might also like to watch Dr Arun’s Youtube Video Is Grazing Good for Weight Loss?
Helping You Discover, Empower & Prosper
Dr Arun Dhir | GI Surgeon, Health Reformist & Passionate Educator.
About Dr Arun:
Besides having a busy private practice at Melbourne Gastro Surgery – Centre for Weight Loss, Dr Arun is an active member of the ANZ Association of Gastro-Oesophageal surgeons (ANZGOSA), ANZ Society of Metabolic and Obesity Surgery (OSSANZ) and Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM).
Dr Arun is also a senior lecturer (University of Melbourne) and yoga and meditation teacher, with a strong interest in the mind-body-gut connection. He regularly writes and speaks about gut health, gut microbiome, obesity, gastrointestinal surgery and healing. Arun’s published works include Happy Gut Healthy Weight (Balboa Press 2018), Creating a New You – Health Journal (Metagenics 2019), and Your Mess Has a Message (2021).