What Makes Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Healthy Living

What Makes Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 27 Aug 2014 - 16:12.

'Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper' - this is a cliched adage we know of, but hardly followed by many.

Breakfast is considered an important meal because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your supply of glucose and provides other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Starting your day with a well-balanced meal supplies your body with adequate protein, carbohydrate and fiber which helps to keep hunger at bay and allows you to make wiser choices for the meals which follow. In a study published in British Journal of Nutrition it was concluded that breakfast consumption was a marker for an appropriate dietary pattern in terms of both macro and micro-nutrients.

Some common reasons for skipping breakfast include:

  • Not having enough time
  • Too tired or don’t feel like preparing anything in the morning
  • Don't feel like eating in the morning as you feel the body is not used to it
  • Wanting to spend the extra time dozing in bed
  • People on diet tend to avoid breakfast

Importance of Breakfast:

Here are the top reasons why you should definitely eat breakfast, every day:

Improves cognitive function
Breakfast is considered as ‘brain food’ as it has been linked to better brain function for both kids and adults. Breakfast helps to restore the body’s glucose level which is the source of energy for the brain which in turn is necessary for formulating the memory-boosting neurotransmitter acetylcholine. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition strongly suggest that omitting breakfast interferes with cognition and learning, an effect that is more pronounced in nutritionally at risk children.

Eating breakfast helps in weight loss

Eating breakfast actually helps with weight loss and long-term weight management. The National Weight Control Registry, which tracks people who have maintained weight loss of at least 30 pounds for more than a year, reported in 2003 that eating breakfast is one of the four most important behaviors that the study subjects share. Breakfast eaters also tend to eat fewer calories, less saturated fat and cholesterol and have better overall nutritional status than those who skip breakfast.

Boosts your Mood

Skipping breakfast may lead to irritability and a bad mood that can affect your entire day. Usually people who skip breakfast tend to get tired, fatigued, become cranky, have poor performance and have a hard time concentrating. Breakfast is considered as happy meal because the start of the day with a good breakfast can put you in a positive mood for the rest of the day. Eating something for breakfast is better than eating nothing at all. The more balanced your meal is, the more optimistic you will be.

Improved blood sugar control and appetite

After several hours of the night without eating, your body needs fuel for immediate energy and to replenish low glycogen stores. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast helps you regulate your blood sugar levels and prepares yourself for an active day. As a result, you have more energy for exercise and routine morning activities. On the other hand, skipping breakfast can lead to sluggish feeling, confusion and headache, cravings, increased belly fat, hormonal imbalance, and decreased immunity. An Israeli study found that a substantial breakfast rich in protein and fat helps type 2 diabetics, better control their appetites and blood sugar levels.

Healthy Breakfast options:

Egg:

  • Boiled egg, Omelet, egg bhurji or egg stuffed as sandwich are healthy breakfast dishes.
  • Eggs being a complete source of protein will help you feeling satiated and helps sustain your energy levels through the day.

Oats:

  • Oats upma, oats dosa, lemon oats, oats porridge, oats adaiare few healthy options of dishes where oats can be incorporated.
  • Starting your day with a bowl of oats will help to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the spikes in the blood sugar levels, additionally it gives you a feeling of satiety, therefore you tend to eat less through the day.

Idlis and Dosa

  • You can grind the Idli/Dosa batter over the weekend and use it through the weekdays to avoid the hassle of preparing it every morning.
  • Idlis are full of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. They are prepared with no oil or masala, which makes them very healthy alternative.
  • You can make idli/dosa more nutritious and colorful by adding chopped vegetables or puree of vegetables or ragi or oats flour.

Poha:

  • Poha is an ideal Indian breakfast made from flattened or beaten rice. It can be prepared in a jiffy and is highly nutritious as it is packed with iron and a good source of carb and tastes great.
  • Throw in some peas and veggies to make it more nutritious, and remember to use a non stick pan so that you use as little oil as possible.
  • Pressure cook potatoes the day before and put it in the fridge, the next day you can make aloopoha in just 10 minutes. You can use leftover sabjis also.

Muesli:

  • Muesli is a good breakfast alternative as it consist of many health ingredients such as wheat flakes, oats, fruits, nuts and seeds and hence supplies your body with overall nutrition and does not require any preparation.
  • Muesli is high in fiber. The whole grains, helps regulate the digestive system, and gives a feeling of fullness and aid in weight control. It is also potent source of antioxidants.
  • You can make it healthier and interesting by adding yoghurt, dried fruits or fresh fruits and nuts.

References:

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.