Your mom was right when she said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a meal soon after you get up gets your day started off right and helps you make healthier choices throughout the rest of the day.
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There are many reasons why you should be sitting down to a meal in the morning, but sometimes understanding what those reasons are is a powerful way to motivate yourself to do what’s right for your body. If you’re not currently a breakfast eater, you might find that the benefits are enough to encourage you to make something to eat after you shut off the alarm and roll out of bed. Here’s why breakfast can make your entire day better.
1. Breakfast Regulates Appetite
When you go to bed, you go many hours without a meal, which means your body needs to refuel to get you going. Skipping breakfast could leave you feeling so ravenous later in the day that you overeat and take in far more calories than you should. By having a meal, even a small one, when you get up, you fill your belly and help keep hunger at bay until lunchtime rolls around. When you let yourself get too hungry, it’s hard to make nutritious food choices, so having a meal can help you choose healthy foods all day long, which is good for your health and weight.
2. Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
In addition to keeping hunger from spurring you to make unhealthy food choices, eating breakfast also helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. This controls your appetite and helps keep your body healthy at the same time. Ideally, your body needs to refuel every couple of hours, so skipping breakfast on top of the many hours you just spend sleeping can really wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, which in turn affects the way you feel and perform during the day.
3. Cover Your Nutrient Needs
Skipping meals sets you up for nutrient deficiencies. Your body needs an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals to ensure good overall health, but it means you have to eat foods that contain those nutrients. Forgoing breakfast means you’re slashing your chances of fulfilling those quotas. Spreading out your nutrient intake over the course of the day also enhances your body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals so that you always have the right amount. Adding breakfast to your day takes some of the pressure off at lunch and dinner.
4. Improve Your Concentration
If concentrating and staying focused is an issue for you before lunch, you might be surprised that eating a morning meal will eliminate the problem. Food fuels your body for energy, but it also helps your brain function at top capacity. On the other hand, a brain that is starved in the morning won’t work as effectively, and you could find yourself forgetting important tasks and meetings. Skipping breakfast might also mean that it takes you longer to finish jobs because you struggle to stay focused on what you’re doing. Eating when you get up could turn things around and help you become more productive.
5. Lower Your Food Cravings
Food cravings often pop up when you are hungry and they are often for foods that aren’t healthy. If you find yourself craving junky snacks in the morning, eating breakfast could stop the issue in its tracks. Eating unhealthy foods because you are really hungry increases your intake of fat, calories, sugar and salt, which is not good for your health and limits the opportunity to satisfy your daily nutrient requirements.
6. Increase Your Energy
Being hungry limits the motivation and fuel you have to get your body moving and exercising. If you’re a morning exerciser, you might find that eating a meal takes your workout to the next level because your body will have more energy. As you sleep, your glycogen levels decrease, leaving you tired and groggy. By feeding your body with a healthy meal, you restore those levels, which gives you the get up and go you need to exercise, walk to work or anything else that needs doing.
7. Make Better Food Choices
As mentioned before, having a meal in the morning helps you make healthier choices during the rest of the day. Starting your day with the good feelings of making a good, healthy meal decision can drive you to follow the same good options throughout the rest of the day. At the same time, a good morning meal fills your belly so that you don’t get so hungry that you reach for chips, candy, cake or other foods that aren’t good for you.
8. Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol is a contributor for heart disease, but it turns out that eating breakfast in the morning can help limit poor cholesterol levels. This could be because skipping breakfast makes you so hungry that you eat foods that aren’t healthy and that could be causing your cholesterol levels to go up.
9. Boost Your Metabolism
Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories, even at rest. A sluggish metabolism can lead to weight gain, but giving yours a boost can help your body more effectively burn calories, which can lead to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. After sleeping all night your body is in starvation mode, which means that you will naturally store more fat. However, eating breakfast helps prevent this from happening by giving it fuel to get through the day. If you’re having weight issues, adding a meal might sound counter-intuitive, but it could be just what you need to lose those last few pounds.
10. Exercise Harder
You might be able to get through your workout without issue even if you skip breakfast, but eating something first could totally maximize your results and make your session feel a little bit easier. Again, this is because you provide your body with fuel when you sit down to a morning meal, something that gives you the calories, protein and fats you need to get your heart rate going and build strong and healthy muscles.
As you can see, breakfast turns out to be as important as your mother told you it was. When you prepare your morning meal, choose a good mix of complex carbs, healthy fats and protein to fuel your body and help you make it until lunchtime. A hard-boiled egg, with a slice of whole grain toast and an apple is a great option that also gives you plenty of vitamins and minerals at the same time as you fuel your body. Whole grain cereal with skim milk and strawberries or a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and milk are other good options. Adding breakfast to your day is a choice you’ll never regret making. You’ll look and feel healthier, which will make every day better.