No matter which day of the week of it is, either a pleasant Sunday morning or one of those busy weekdays it is extremely important to set aside a few minutes to have a good breakfast.
Health experts, as well as leading dieticians around the world, recommend starting the day with a wholesome and nutrition-rich breakfast in order to jump-start your metabolism along with providing the much-needed fuel for your brain and body.
Apart from nutritional value, various studies have shown a positive association between breakfast and mental and physical wellbeing.
What Happens If You Skip Breakfast?
When you skip your breakfast, you tend to miss out on various important vitamins, nutrients, compounds, and other minerals that you won’t be able to compensate for later part of the day. And these fiber, minerals, and vitamins are extremely essential for getting a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
A study carried out by the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that individuals who skip breakfast are up to five times more prone to obesity.
Another recent study, which was published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, revealed that adolescents and children who skip breakfast tend to have a higher body mass index-for-age along with having an increased waist circumference as compared to those who never miss their breakfast.
While each meal is important to maintain a healthy body, the importance of having a well-balanced breakfast just goes a step ahead. Let’s quickly run across the major benefits of having breakfast.
Benefits of Breakfast
1. Fuel and Nutrition
The fundamental formula for breakfast is clear-cut: Combine carbs with proteins(1). As such, the carbohydrates provide your body the much-needed energy to get started. In addition, a good breakfast provides your brain the fuel required to take on the action-packed day ahead. Protein provides you the staying power and makes you feel full till your next meal.
Typically, a good breakfast needs to have the following nutritive value:
- Legumes or nuts for protein
- Whole-grain bread or cereals for carbs
- Fresh veggies or fruit, again for carbohydrates
- Low-fat milk, cottage cheese, or yogurt for some more protein
2. Healthy Weight
Eating a healthy breakfast regularly helps maintain ideal body weight. Experts claim that when you skip breakfast, you tend to feel hungry very quickly, and are more likely to overeat later during the day. Moreover, if you’re at work, you tend to eat junk food or go for a less-balanced diet. As a result, you gradually put on weight.
In 2017, a study published by the journal “Circulation” revealed sufficient data to highlight a close link between skipping the breakfast and being obese or overweight.
[Read: High Fiber Foods for Lose Weight]
3. Controls Blood Sugar
Having breakfast aids in keeping your blood sugar levels steadier right through the day, regardless of having diabetes or not.
For individuals having normal glucose levels, a good breakfast can come in handy avoiding insulin resistance, which is a major trigger of diabetes(2). Any sort of spike or drop in your blood sugar level can also have an adverse impact on your mood, perhaps making you more angry, grumpy, or nervous.
4. Supports Heart Health
Various studies carried out recently indicate a close connection between breakfast and your heart health.
A study published in the 2017 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that individuals who miss breakfast are more susceptible to having atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that causes your arteries to harden and narrow due to the buildup of plaque. It’s a critical condition of the heart and can lead to stroke or even heart attack.
People who miss their breakfast are also more likely to have increased waistlines, have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and weigh more as compared to those who eat their breakfast regularly.
[Read: Foods for Hypertension]
5. Do Better at School or Work
Eating a well-balanced breakfast on a daily basis helps you to concentrate well, to remember things, and to perform better. Teens and children tend to be more attentive and energetic at school, score better in exams and are less expected to miss school or be tardy.
But why so?
Breakfast is closely associated with mental alertness. When you skip breakfast, your body tends to push itself into a conservation mode. Typically, your brain slows down everything since you lack the energy to keep going.
6. Unstable Mood
When you skip breakfast, your stress levels are high and the mood is mellow. That’s when you become irritable and your colleagues or friends have to bear the brunt.
7. Long-Term Health
Breakfast is a great way to eat with your family. Establishing proper breakfast habits in your kids and maintaining them right through their adolescence may help them have good health throughout.
8. Improved memory
Carbohydrates are extremely beneficial and vital for healthy brain functioning. Consuming a well-balanced breakfast rich in essential carbs right at the start of your day can come handy in improving your concentration levels, memory, and other cognitive functions along with lowering your stress level and improving the mood.
Various studies have shown that children who eat breakfast on a daily basis tend to have superior cognitive skills and tend to perform better at studies as well as in sports. Therefore, it makes sense for parents to ensure their little ones never skip the most important meal of the day.
Why Breakfast is a Must for Kids
Many a time, kids do not feel like eating early in the morning; however, it is imperative that they do. Children have a growing body that needs a lot of fuel and nutrients.
Children who skip their breakfast in the morning tend to have a tough time concentrating at school, and they feel more and more tired. They might even become restless or cranky. In addition to that, children who skip their breakfast are more likely to feel low on energy and mood – thus becoming irritated. And it is not just their mood or energy level that gets the beating, but their academics suffer too.
One study found that children who ate breakfast scored more in exams as compared to kids who didn’t. The majority of kids don’t get all the minerals and vitamins they need from merely lunch and/or dinner.
Moreover, children who miss breakfast are more expected to eat fast or junk food during the daytime, which leads to obesity or overweight. A study carried out in this regard found that teenagers who had breakfast on a regular basis had a lower body mass index (BMI), i.e. body fat corresponding to weight and height, as compared to teenagers who never ate their morning meal.
Eating a Balanced Breakfast:
We all understand the importance of having a balanced diet to maintain good health. Similarly, the benefits of having a well-balanced breakfast can hardly be undermined.
A well-balanced breakfast must include:
- 1 to 2 servings of high fiber or whole-grains
- 3 ounce serving of food rich in protein
- 1 serving of low-fat calcium-rich dairy food
- 1 serving of vegetables or fruits
The complete meal must contain around 300 to 400 calories. For example, take a ½ cup of wheat cereal, 1 small banana or a ½ cup of blueberries, and a ½ cup of milk.
Tips for Having a Healthy and Quick Breakfast:
It can mostly be tough to find some time to have a good breakfast in the morning, particularly if you need to take a long commute or have children.
Consider the following tips to prepare a healthy and quick breakfast:
- Prepare a breakfast menu for the complete month with a different breakfast every week
- Careful plan your list of grocery and preparation steps that you do over the weekend to set things up for the coming week.
- Cut, chop, measure, and mix out things on weekends so that they are up for the grabs every morning
- Peel off or cut up fresh fruits the night before and even sprinkle lemon juice over them to avoid discoloration.
The Bottom Line
The importance of breakfast is well understood. When you skip your breakfast, your body tends to push itself in a conservation mode, as your brain understands that you are low on energy, and therefore you get to deal with a lot of physical and mental blocks.
So it’s time that you make no excuses and plan well to start your day on a right note with a healthy breakfast. Just keep in mind that no other meal can compensate for your morning meal. Rise, Eat and Succeed.