While many say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, eating a healthy meal in the morning is more than just weight control and metabolism boosting.Hormonal fluctuations and energy levels are greatly affected not only by what you eat, but when. Whether you prefer a hearty, well-balanced meal in the morning or would rather opt for a cup of black coffee, here’s what you should know about breakfast preferences.
First, do I need to have breakfast?
The answer remains and will be: breakfast is almost always a good idea.While there is some data to support you may not need Eating breakfast, even a little in the morning, can help improve energy levels, blood sugar control, cognitive function, and overall mood. A study published in 2021 also linked breakfast to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Keep in mind that skipping breakfast can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, as breakfast is not only a way to start your day with calories, it’s another opportunity to get the nutrients your body needs for overall health.
How often do I need to eat breakfast?
Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone and helps manage metabolism, blood pressure, and other fight-or-flight mechanisms. Cortisol levels are usually highest in the morning and decrease over time. Eating right after waking up helps your cortisol levels drop naturally, reducing stress and getting ready for the day.
Do drinks count as breakfast?
Drinking high-sugar beverages on an empty stomach, such as soda, sweetened black coffee, or tea and fruit juice, is not recommended, especially first thing in the morning, as concentrated sugar can raise blood sugar levels. When consumed with a balanced meal, the blood sugar response to these sweetened beverages will be less dramatic. As for coffee, you probably don’t want to drink it on an empty stomach, especially if you’re prone to stomach upsets.
What about water?
Everyone from medical professionals to social media influencers seems to be touting the benefits of drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. From fighting bad breath to weight loss, it’s hypothesized that more water can make a difference, but enough evidence is lacking. Data shows that most people don’t drink enough water, especially in the morning, so making a glass of water part of your morning routine certainly won’t hurt your efforts towards a healthier lifestyle. Remember, this is not a “panacea”.
What are the best breakfast foods?
Meals, including breakfast, benefit from balance. The goal is to mix fiber-rich carbs, protein and healthy fats – make sure all macros are represented! Breakfast protein is often the hardest macro to examine, but eggs, low-fat dairy, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds can all help you get hunger-fighting protein.
What’s the worst breakfast ever?
When trying to make a healthy breakfast, steer clear of unhealthy calorie bombs like fried foods, thick sauces, and processed meats. Syrup-soaked foods, such as dinner-style French toast or pancakes, should be reserved for the occasional breakfast.
Balanced Breakfast Recipes to Try
Trying to decide what to do for breakfast? Some of the best options include traditional oatmeal, overnight oats, or energy flakes that contain fiber, protein, and fruit. If eggs are more your thing, try a simple vegetable stir-fry or a portable breakfast burrito. If you find it difficult to digest solids in the morning, choose a smoothie with a nut butter or protein powder to boost the grams of protein. Here are five recipes to try.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Athletic Trainer and has Dana White Nutrition, specializing in culinary and sports nutrition.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian.
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