By Mary Perry, RD
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” ~ Adelle Davis, American Nutritionist and Writer
We all have heard over and over again how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us tend to skip breakfast either due to lack of time, not feeling hungry or hoping it will help with weight management. This habit often set us up for overeating later in the day. We tend to make less than ideal choices because we’re starving by lunch or we just make up the calories at night by making dinner the largest meal of the day. It’s eye-opening how this pattern of eating mimics the diet of the sumo wrestler who only eats two meals of day in which they skip breakfast and eat their largest meal right before bed. Sound familiar?
People who eat breakfast are more likely to have a healthier body weight; consume less fat and cholesterol; and tend to have better nutrient intake overall, especially for vitamins A, C, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, iron, and fiber. Skipping breakfast is not a good strategy for weight management either. The National Weight Control Registry is a database that tracks information on over 10,000 long-term successful losers. Information from the Registry shows that eating breakfast maximizes the likelihood of maintaining weight loss. According to the National Weight Control Registry:
- 78% of people who lose weight and keep it off eat breakfast every day
- 90% eat breakfast at least 5 days/week
- 4% of participants never eat breakfast
So now that we know your mother was right and that you should make breakfast a habit, here are my top 3 “go to” breakfasts for busy people:
- The “Grab and Go”: Grab a container of Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit. Pair with a nut butter sandwich (prepared the night before) made with 1-2 tablespoons of either natural peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter spread on 1-2 slices of whole grain sprouted bread. I like sprouted bread because it’s higher in protein and fiber than most whole grain breads as the grains are sprouted and then ground instead of being made into flour. Food for Life is an example of one brand. It can be found in the freezer section at natural grocery stores such as Whole Foods. I love all nut butters but when I like to get a little wild and crazy I choose NuttZo with it high omega-3 fats since it contains seven different nuts and seeds. This can be either ordered online or found with the other nut butters at Whole Foods.
- The “Very Berry Green Smoothie”: I’m a big fan of smoothies as a great way to get your fruits and vegetables in at the start of the day. I like using frozen fruit since it’s already cleaned, chopped, and ready-to-use. Adding frozen fruit also gives the smoothie a thick texture without having to add ice, which tends to water down the flavor. I even throw in a handful of fresh and frozen veggies, which you can’t really taste when blended with the other ingredients. Here’s a recipe: Blend 1 scoop whey protein powder – I like Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrowhey in chocolate with 1-2 cups unsweetened chocolate almond milk, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1-2 handfuls of fresh spinach and the option of ½ -1 cup frozen broccoli florets (yes I know this sounds weird but trust me, it’s good!) and ½ avocado (this gives the smoothie a very creamy and fluffy texture)
- Breakfast Parfait: I found this quick, satisfying recipe for a Quinoa Breakfast Parfait that can be made the night before. Quinoa is one of few whole grains that’s a complete protein and chia seeds are a great addition as they are high in omega-3 fats and fiber.
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- Wyatt HR, Grunwald GK, Mosca CL, Klem ML, Wing RR, Hill JO: Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the national weight control registry. Obes Res 10:78–82, 2002.