Benefits of Eating a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast provides many benefits to our health and well-being. Without breakfast you are effectively running on empty, like trying to start your car without gas. The name literally means to break the fast by providing the brain and body fuel after an overnight fast.

Breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking. This practice kick starts your metabolism. It makes a difference in the way you metabolize glucose. Prolonged fasting may actually lead to a bigger than normal boost in your hunger hormones, such as ghrelin. This then encourages you to overeat later, leading to spikes and dips in your glucose levels. Eating breakfast primes your metabolism to maintain stable blood sugar levels after any subsequent meals. Research shows that this may be the way it lowers your risk of developing diabetes.

People who skip breakfast tend to gain excess weight, which can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol and increased blood pressure, all increasing your risk for heart disease.

People who eat breakfast are more physically active during the morning. Even though they may consume more total calories over the course of the day they do not gain weight because of the increased activity.

Breakfast has been shown to enhance memory, attention, the speed at which information is processed, reasoning, creativity, learning, and verbal abilities. These benefits are all a function of stable glucose levels that a morning meal provides. This is especially important for growing children.

If you start with a healthy, satisfying meal, you are less likely to nibble on less nutritious foods during the rest of the day. This way, you can consume less fat and sugar and meet recommendations for fruits and vegetables, and have higher calcium and fiber intake.

When you eat breakfast, you are telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had the remainder of the day. If you skip breakfast the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve, rather than burn, any incoming calories.

Breakfast is like exercise, if you make room for it in the morning, you will look and feel better the rest of the day.

Your best bet is a mix of foods that have carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber. Carbohydrates will give you energy right away and the protein will provide energy later on. The fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer. Thus, eating protein and fiber in the morning keeps your appetite in check the rest of the day.

So… power up with a healthy breakfast and you will be off to a great start.

  • Make instant oatmeal with low fat milk instead of water. Toss in raisins, dried cranberries, chopped apples, chopped walnuts, and/or cinnamon.
  • Layer low fat plain Greek yogurt with low fat granola and berries.
  • Blend a healthy breakfast smoothie with low fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
  • Top a toaster waffle with low fat Greek yogurt and peach slices.
  • Stuff a whole wheat pita with a sliced hard cooked egg and low fat shredded cheese.
  • Spread a whole wheat low fat tortilla with peanut butter, add a whole banana and roll it up.
  • Spread low fat cream cheese on a whole grain toasted bagel, top with sliced strawberries.
  • Add lean ham and low fat Swiss cheese to a toasted whole grain lite English muffin.
  • Make a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread.
  • Have a piece or two of leftover veggie pizza.
  • Wrap deli turkey, a slice of low fat cheese, and lettuce in a whole wheat, low fat tortilla.
  • Leftover rice mixed with low fat Greek yogurt, dried fruits and nuts and sprinkle with nutmeg.
  • Make a healthy breakfast burrito with vegetarian refried beans, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, then top with salsa, low fat plain yogurt, and wrap in a warm corn tortilla.

If you have nutritional questions, please call an Avita Registered Dietitian at: