Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

If you ask any American on the street "what's the most important meal of the day?" most of them will likely give you the same answer: breakfast.

Many people claim that skipping breakfast can lead to lower energy throughout the day and higher body weight. But are these claims true, or are they myths passed along by the cereal industry?

Keep reading to find out the truth behind our support of breakfast and how to really start your days off right.

What Makes a Balanced Breakfast?

balanced-breakfastThere aren't any scientists arguing that donuts and sugary cereals are the basis for the most important meal of the day, so let's start off by defining what makes up a "balanced breakfast."

According to Dr. Monique Tello, it's not what the supermarkets and advertisers would have you believe. She recommends avoiding large servings of processed carbs in the morning.

Instead, try something like a yogurt, fruit, and nut bowl. It contains fiber, protein, and healthy fats that will keep you feeling satisfied for hours. And as an added bonus, you can make it ahead of time and take it with you for a quick and easy on-the-go meal. If parfaits aren't your thing, try an omelet with vegetables, lean protein, and a side of fruit.

To Skip or Not to Skip: That's the Question

In the United States, about three-quarters of people eat breakfast regularly. So why do the remaining 25% prefer to wait until lunch (or brunch)?

Some researchers theorize that the answer lies in physiology: humans don't all have a biological rhythm that drives them to chow down before the sun comes up. Hunger levels are related to our circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycles) and tend to peak later in the day. But other factors—like what time you get up for work and how long you have to wait to eat lunch—can also influence your morning hunger levels.

Proponents of skipping breakfast on purpose claim that doing so can help lower insulin levels, especially for type II diabetics. But others claim that eating in the morning can prevent spikes later on caused by unhealthy mid-morning snacks.

Will a Balanced Breakfast Tip the Scales?

So if you make good food choices, is eating breakfast that much better for your health (and your waistline)?

To find out, one study grouped 52 overweight adult women according to their breakfast habits and randomly assigned them a weight loss program with or without breakfast. After twelve weeks, they found that the participants with the largest weight reduction were the ones who changed their routine, regardless of whether they added breakfast in or started skipping it. Even so, they still concluded that a balanced breakfast helped to increase morning energy levels and reduce snacking, making it a worthwhile part of a weight loss strategy.

Final Thoughts on the Most Important Meal of the Day

So the question remains: is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Possibly—if you treat it as an opportunity to eat a variety of balanced, nutritious foods instead of another chance to eat dessert. There's nothing wrong with indulging in morning waffles every now and again, but make sure you're mixing it up with proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy grains.

The next time you're in the mood for a breakfast that will start your day off right, head to Kate's Kitchen. Check out our menu to see what's cooking!