Why Is Breakfast Important? What You Need To Know
We’ve all heard that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. But is this true? And just why is breakfast important?
Eating breakfast can provide us with all sorts of positive health benefits — and the good news is that there are many ways to fit breakfast into your daily routine in a way that works for you.
Read on to find out more about the importance of breakfast and to get some healthy breakfast ideas.
Why is breakfast important?
There’s a reason that breakfast is referred to as ‘the most important meal of the day’.
The name itself refers to breaking the fast of the night before — after all, we don’t eat while we sleep! When you wake up in the morning, you might not have eaten for around 10-12 hours.
Your body needs breakfast to kickstart your metabolism, boost your energy levels and replenish the nutrients required for good health.
The benefits of eating breakfast
There are many reasons why eating a nutrient-rich meal early on in the day is good for you. Here are some of the benefits of eating breakfast:
Breakfast to boost energy
When you wake up in the morning, you haven’t eaten for the best part of 12 hours and your body is low in energy.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in our diet. Our body breaks down the carbohydrates in food into glucose and absorbs this, turning it into energy.
Eating breakfast in the morning provides us with the energy we need for the day — so your body has everything it needs to run smoothly and be physically active.
We need nutrients like vitamins and minerals to maintain good health and support major body functions. We get most of our nutrients from food, which is why having a nutritionally-rich diet is so important.
Healthy breakfast foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein can help you work towards your recommended daily nutrient intake and give your body everything it needs to fuel you for the day.
Feeding your brain
Your brain needs fuel to function. Not eating breakfast in the morning means that you’re not giving your brain the energy it needs to get going and work properly throughout the day. If you don’t have breakfast, it can affect your concentration and attention.
The right breakfast can help you to stay focused, energised and alert during the day.
Breakfast for weight loss & weight control
Research into the benefits of eating breakfast for weight loss is still ongoing.
However, it is thought that breakfast can help with weight loss and weight control, primarily because it fills you up and stops overeating and unhealthy snacking later in the day. A healthy breakfast that is high in fibre will help to keep you fuller for longer and may help keep cravings at bay.
Eating breakfast is also thought by some to kickstart your metabolism, which means you may process food and burn energy at a higher rate during the day, which supports weight management.
Breakfast and diabetes
Eating a low-sugar, low GI, high-fibre and protein breakfast can help to control your blood glucose levels throughout the day. This may help reduce unnecessary snacking throughout the day and may assist with general weight management. In so doing, this could assist in lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, in conjunction with a generally balanced diet and active lifestyle.
For more information, we recommend reading our article eating well with diabetes.
The effects of skipping breakfast
Many people miss out on breakfast, either consistently or sporadically. This can be for all sorts of reasons, such as not having enough time to make breakfast or sit down and eat it, or not enjoying eating early in the morning.
Skipping breakfast in the morning or waiting until lunchtime before you eat can impact your body and your overall health.
Here are some of the impacts of skipping breakfast:
- Low energy levels
- Poor concentration and ability to focus
- Low mood
- Lack of motivation to exercise
- Hunger cravings and snacking throughout the day
- Weight gain
Luckily, there are ways you easily add breakfast into your routine to get the benefits.
Healthy breakfast ideas
While the meal itself is important, it’s also what you eat at breakfast time that will make a difference. It’s not enough to tuck into a breakfast pastry — you need to make sure you start your day with a balanced breakfast containing a mix of healthy foods.
This means getting a balance of protein, carbs and fibre while staying away from sugary or high-fat foods (or at least saturated fats!).
Here are some healthy breakfast ideas to include in your diet:
- Porridge: Oats are high in fibre and therefore low GI (which helps to manage blood glucose levels after meals). Oats also contain protein and B vitamins to help start your day off right. You can add lots of different toppings to porridge including berries, bananas, honey, nuts and seeds.
- Greek yoghurt: Greek yoghurt is rich in protein and low in sugar (lots of yoghurts can have added sugar). It also contains calcium, which is important for keeping your bones healthy and strong as you get older.
- Berries: berries are considered a superfood — full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which support good health. Add berries like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to yoghurt, porridge, overnight oats or cereals.
- Wholegrain cereal: many breakfast cereals contain lots of added sugar. Choosing wholegrain cereals such as muesli, bran flakes, shredded wheat, bran or whole-wheat biscuits can help you to kickstart your day with a healthy mix of carbs, protein and fibre. Eat with low-fat milk or natural yoghurt (a good source of probiotics) and fresh fruit for a well-rounded breakfast.
- Eggs: a versatile and healthy breakfast food, eggs are full of protein as well as vitamins and minerals. Poach, boil or scramble for a healthier version.
- Nuts, seeds and nut butters: if you need to increase your daily protein intake, then nuts and seeds are an easy way to start. Sprinkle on porridge or yoghurt for a tasty crunch, or spread your favourite nut butter on whole grain toast.
- Nutritional supplements: nutritional supplements like SUSTAGEN Hospital Formula can be used as part of a healthy breakfast. Nutritional supplements can help you meet your nutrient requirements when added to breakfast dishes (such as porridge or omelettes), smoothies and shakes. You can find lots of breakfast recipes here.
As you can see, there are many healthy breakfast ideas you can adopt to make sure your breakfast is as balanced and delicious as possible.
Breakfast tips for the time-poor
It can feel daunting fitting breakfast into your daily routine, especially if you’re usually busy or start work early. However, there are still ways you can fit breakfast into your morning at some point.
Here are some breakfast tips for those short on time:
- Prep your breakfast the night before (overnight oats are great for this)
- Fill a plastic tub and take your breakfast to work with you
- Choose something simple to make like yoghurt and berries, or toast topped with nut butter and slices of banana
- Set your alarm just 15 minutes earlier so that you have time to have breakfast
- Don’t leave eating breakfast until the last minute — you’ll just skip it and rush out of the house if you’re running late
- Make a fruit smoothie or grab a SUSTAGEN Ready To Drink carton and take it with you on your commute to get a quick breakfast boost
Breakfast doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated. Have a few quick breakfast options in mind on days when you’re in a rush, and take your time on the weekend instead. Not every breakfast has to be eggs Florentine. Stick to simple classics with a good portion of fibre, fruit and protein and you’ll be on the right track.
SUSTAGEN Hospital Formula is a formulated meal replacement and cannot be used as a total diet replacement. Consume as part of a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
SUSTAGEN Ready to Drink is a Formulated Supplementary Foods which can be of assistance where dietary intakes of nutrients and energy may not be adequate. Consume as part of a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.