Breakfast has often been heralded as the most important meal of the day, and it turns out that it’s with good reason. Studies have shown that breakfast improves mood, focus, and even helps people to lose weight. The last one might seem counterintuitive-how could eating additional calories actually stimulate weight loss? Turns out that eating breakfast contributes to weight loss in several ways. When people are in too much of a hurry to eat a solid breakfast in the morning, they tend to make up for those calories later in the day, and eating more than they would have for breakfast. At home it’s easy to eat a balanced nutritious meal, because you have all the necessary ingredients at your disposal. But when you’re on the go, the temptation is to grab a bag of chips or a candy bar-readily available foods that are high calorie, high fat and low on nutrients.
Eating regularly also helps to regulate and speed up metabolism. You may not feel hungry first thing in the morning, but if you’ve gotten a normal nights sleep (another challenge for most people in our hectic society) you’ve probably gone at least eight or nine hours without eating anything, and eating something in the morning helps to jump start your metabolism. When you go too long without eating, your body goes into starvation mode-not knowing where it’s next meal is coming from, it tries to conserve as many calories as possible. This is also why it can be helpful for weight loss to eat many smaller meals throughout the day than just a couple heavier meals. In fact, the Health Plus diet recommends that you eat every two to three hours, and even advises you to eat before you’re hungry to avoid overindulging.
A word of caution: any breakfast is not always better than no breakfast at all. Many American breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles and eggs are heavy on sugar, starch and fat because they were designed to power lumberjacks, ranchers and farmers through long days of physical labor. Now that most of us have office jobs, it’s not so necessary to have that stack of flapjacks, or that cheesy omelet. Try to keep breakfasts balanced and low fat, but still flavorful. Low fat yoghurt and fruit can be great on cereal or oatmeal to incorporate calcium and vitamins into your morning. Eggs aren’t absolutely blacklisted, try scrambling just the whites and throw in some veggies instead of cheese. Personally I love to put mushrooms, onions, spinach, broccoli and carrots in my eggs and everyone has their favorites. If you are going for starchy staples like bagels and toast, remember to get the whole wheat varieties, and shy away from sugary cereals.