Is breakfast the best meal of the day?
You may have heard the phrase ‘Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Queen, and dinner like a pauper’, but does this mean that breakfast really is the best meal of the day? In this blog, Gopi Chandratheva (Registered Nutritionist) explains more.
Should we be eating breakfast every day?
Breakfast has been hailed as the most important meal of the day since the 90’s but over time consumption of breakfast has actually declined.
Eating breakfast depends on individual preference, for some it may be useful to get energy in the morning and for others skipping breakfast may work for them. There is no right or wrong when it comes to eating breakfast and it ultimately does depend on personal choice.
If you think about breakfast, it is the first meal eaten after a long duration on an empty stomach and it has the possibility to decrease the risk of weight gain as a result of many metabolic systems in our body, for example reduced hunger hormone ghrelin.
However, the research is limited to support that eating breakfast aids weight loss and some findings show that missing breakfast does not cause a larger appetite in the day and overall calorie intake is higher in those consuming breakfast.
Whilst research remains unclear between breakfast and weight loss, wider healthy lifestyle and food choices can improve overall health especially when it comes to maintaining weight and reducing risk of non-communicable diseases.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of eating breakfast…
- Breakfast means ‘breaking the fast’. It provides us with a good opportunity to fuel our body with energy and nutrition for the day ahead and make better food choices, preventing us from getting overly hungry.
- Regular breakfast can allow us to tune into our hunger and fullness levels.
- Breakfast allows us to consume food from different food groups ensuring we are getting a good amount of macro and micronutrients.
- It helps with our cognitive function enabling us to concentrate and focus on our activities.
- It can help with maintaining our weight.
- Eating foods in the morning impacts on better improvements in fasting glucose, insulin and triglycerides as well as feeling less hungry.
Tips to help you eat breakfast
- Creating a habit and routine is something you can work towards to and consuming a morning meal is a great place to start.
- Keep your breakfast choices simple, quick, and easy.
- Take time to sit and enjoy your breakfast.
- You don’t have to eat breakfast first thing in the morning as these can be busy and stressful for many people but try and pick a time within a few hours of waking up.
- Plan and prep your breakfasts for the week ahead to ensure you are getting variety and save you time.
- Ensure you are including complex carbohydrates which contain fibre to give you slow releasing energy e.g., wholegrain bread/porridge/Weetabix.
- Choose protein foods which will help keeps you fuller for longer and important for growth and repair – such as yoghurt, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, oats, nuts, and seeds.
- Aim for your 5 a day by including a portion of fruit and veg in your morning meal – fruit and veg provide us with a valuable source of nutrients and fibre.
- Have breakfast with your friends/family/work colleagues and make it a pleasant environment to enjoy a morning meal.
There are so many breakfast options to choose from. Check out the inspo below:
- Porridge with natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds or fresh/frozen fruit
- Eggs on wholemeal toast with mushrooms and tomatoes
- Natural yoghurt bowl topped with fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds
- Pancakes with peanut butter and fruit (if you have kids, get them involved!)
- Avocado on toast – a great way to incorporate good fats in our diet
- Beans on toast – beans are packed with fibre and protein (opt for low salt and sugar versions)
- Cereals such as Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, or options with lower or no added sugar
- Smoothies (150ml = 1 of your 5 a day)
- Breakfast bars or muffins
- Include foods that you enjoy
- Gradually build your breakfast so that it fills you up and sets you for your day ahead making it part of your morning routine
My verdict on eating breakfast
Everyone’s food choices are different and if breakfast works for you go for it! Consuming a morning breakfast is part of my morning routine and I notice the difference in my energy levels, concentration, hunger levels and it keeps me going till my next meal. Maybe that will be the same for you too!
Gopi Chandratheva is a registered nutritionist with a BSc in nutrition and over 10 years nutritional experience.
She currently works for the NHS as a lead nutritionist in the community and also has her own website and social media platform working with food brands creating nourishing recipes.
Breakfast Consumption Affects Appetite, Energy Intake, and the Metabolic and Endocrine Responses to Foods Consumed Later in the Day in Male Habitual Breakfast Eaters | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic (oup.com) The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 141, Issue 7, July 2011, Pages 1381–1389,
Healthy breakfasts (for people who hate breakfast) – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Association between Breakfast Skipping and Body
Weight—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of
Observational Longitudinal Studies
Julia Wicherski 1, Sabrina Schlesinger 2 and Florian Fischer 3,4,* 2021