Still skipping breakfast? Read this first

The VITL Nutrition Team / Apr 13, 2015

It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we couldn't agree more. Eating a healthy breakfast on a daily basis is associated with increased energy, better mood, greater focus and maintaining a healthy weight.

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Unfortunately many of us are guilty of skipping breakfast because we are in such a rush in the mornings and when we do have it, we don’t always make the healthiest choices.

Here are 4 reasons to stop skipping breakfast and some tips on how to make your first meal of the day a healthy one:

1. Prevent over-eating later in the day

Cutting breakfast to cut calories doesn’t work. Many people skip breakfast because they’re not very hungry in the morning, but then later in the day they get cravings. Studies have shown that skipping breakfast often leaves people overly hungry so they are more likely to make poor decisions when it’s time to eat lunch. Eating a balanced, substantial breakfast can help you to avoid eating too much at your next meal and from snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the course of the day due to low energy, low blood sugar, and low nutrient intake.

Late in the day, especially just before bed, is when you actually need the least amount of calories because you’re body goes into rest mode. So fill up on the right foods first thing in the morning, when you need them most.

2. Rev-up your metabolism

Studies looking at the impact of eating breakfast on weight loss have consistently shown that people who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. A study by the National Weight Control Registry showed that 78% of people who had lost weight and been able to keep it off ate breakfast every day.

A meal in the morning, after several hours of sleep when you are “fasting” on no food, initiates the metabolic processes involved in the digestion and transportation of nutrients. This uses up energy and burns calories. Regular meals are important to keep your metabolism going and will speed up your resting metabolic rate. Although of course, any benefit will be undone if these are unhealthy meals.

3. Increase concentration

Eating breakfast can improve your focus and concentration. Research in children indicated that eating breakfast is related to better memory, test performance, school grades and school attendance. Breakfast gives you the energy you need to be productive in the morning.

4. Balance blood sugar levels

Missing out on a healthy breakfast has the potential to trigger negative metabolic responses that raise blood sugar levels and ultimately lower your energy levels. Skipping breakfast can lead to a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, possibly because of higher levels of free-floating fatty-acids in the blood stream when someone has gone long periods without anything to eat. Regularly skipping breakfast is thought to put you at a 26% higher risk for insulin resistance. A breakfast high in fibre will give your body much better control over insulin and blood sugar levels.

Here are some tips for putting together a healthy breakfast:

  • Combine foods from the three major “macronutrient” categories: complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein. This will help you feel full for longer.
  • Avoid having too much sugar in the morning - it will zap your energy later in the day and increase cravings. Also skip refined carbohydrates and choose whole grain foods instead as these have more filling fibre.
  • Try a combination of whole grain bread or unsweetened oats with fruit, nut butter, and 1-2 eggs for example. Avocados are also a great source of healthy fats.
  • If you want something a bit lighter that you can take on the go, try our healthy acai breakfast bowl or make a smoothie using fruit, almond or coconut milk and add a sprinkle of spirulina which is a great source of plant-based protein.
  • If you don’t usually have time to sit down for breakfast at home, plan ahead and make something the night before. You can store oats in a jar or tupperware overnight in the fridge or bake healthy granola bars.
  • To get a low-caffeine energy boost in the morning with a good dose of antioxidants, swap your coffee with a green tea.