Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day?

Just like about 95% of the population, I hate feeling left out, being late, and the sound of nails on a chalkboard. And I LOVE breakfast. I mean, have you ever met someone who was like “breakfast food? Meh. I can take it or leave it.”.

Sleep is a time machine to breakfast.jpg

However, my Questionner nature wondered - is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

Turns out, the campaign proclaiming that breakfast was the most important meal of the day was actually initially linked to an advertising campaign by breakfast cereal producers to sell more of their products.

More recently, studies have shown that weight loss was related to the amount of food (calories) consumed throughout the day, not the number or frequency of the meals..

This also answers some of the questions you may be asking yourself about intermittent fasting: while it is true that pushing back or skipping breakfast effectively shortens your feeding window (for example, you would go from eating between the hours of 7:00AM and 7:00PM to eating between 11:00AM-7:00PM), the main benefits it may have to your weight loss efforts is that it will force you to reduce the amount of food you eat in the day, and allow you to have bigger meals during your eating window.

OK, we’re done with that intermittent fasting tangent now.

You might want to consider skipping breakfast if…

  • You don’t wake up hungry

  • Your mornings are rushed and you don’t feel like stuffing your face (If you’re not really going to get to sit down and eat because your baby needs all your attention, why not wait until his morning nap to break your fast?)

  • You eat your last meal late at night

  • You work out at the crack of dawn (it’s fine to not eat much or anything at all before a 5:30AM workout - just have some water and BCAA’s, your body can run on last night’s dinner no problem. But make sure you get some food into your system afterwards pronto!)

  • You simply don’t want to!

However, stick with breakfast if…

  • You wake up ravenous

  • You like a morning routine that involves eating (fun fact, I grew up in a family that prioritized eating breakfast together, since evenings were often hectic, so skipping breakfast was never within the realm of possibilities for me)

  • You have blood regulation problems, such as hypoglycemia (read on for tips on how to attenuate the symptoms by choosing optimal breakfast foods)

  • You are wanting to gain muscle (bulking involves eating a surplus of calories, which you likely need all the time in the day you can get to make happen)

  • You wake up early enough but don’t work out until mid-morning or lunch time (for most people, waking up at 6:30AM, skipping breakfast and trying to work out at 10:30 AM or around lunch time would be a recipe for disaster!)

  • You like it!

It goes without saying that all breakfasts are not created equal, and perhaps what your options are should be factored in on the decision to eat in the morning. Foods high in sugar and fat are not going to do your health, waistline or energy levels any good - I’m looking at you, danishes, donuts and cereal of your childhood! (while kids cereal is usually pretty low in fat, holy sugar bomb!)

Tips for breakfast

  • Include all the basics into your breakfast (well, every meal, really):

    • Protein

    • Vegetables

    • Denser carbohydrates

    • Fat

  • Try a savoury breakfast! (Steph Gaudreau has often writen about the importance of a savoury breakfast in blood sugar regulation) Eating a savoury breakfast can also help you have sustained energy throughout the day and fight cravings later on.

  • You can turn any food into breakfast if you believe in yourself enough (I had carrot-ginger soup, a salmon patty and brussels sprouts for breakfast yesterday. Not a word of a lie)

  • If you like to go the smoothie route, take precautions to make sure it’s not so easy to take down (because the act of chewing and the time spent actually consuming the food plays a huge role in satiety and digestion). For example, go for a smoothie bowl (with a thicker consistency) rather than a watery smoothie you can slurp through a straw, or add crunchy toppings that will force you to chew on it (what about replacing the nut butter in the smoothie for some slivered almonds?)

Looking for more tips on how to improve your breakfast? Download the cheat sheet I created and let me know what you think!