The First Meal of the Day

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Many of us have heard that the first meal of the day is the most important - but do you know why? What we eat when we break our overnight fast sets the stage for how we eat (and how we feel) throughout the rest of the day.

First things first, note that if you are not hungry first thing when you wake up, that is normal and you do not need to force yourself to eat breakfast. That old myth about "revving up your metabolism" with food first thing was largely created by breakfast cereal manufacturers. Skipping breakfast is only an issue if it causes you to make poor food choices later in the day. If forging food as you rush out the door in the morning causes you to reach for a muffin at when you get to work, then you need to work on making sure that you eat before leaving the house so that you are not as tempted when you get to work.

Now, back to why this first meal of the day is so important. It's all about balancing your blood sugar. When you eat a meal that is high in refined carbohydrates (cereal, muffins, oatmeal, toast, bagels, etc.), it causes your blood sugar to spike. While that may give you instant energy, a crash always follows in as little as 90 minutes later, when your body runs out of the quick digesting carbs. Thus begins a cycle of highs and lows that causes cravings for carbs and sugar every 1-3 hours or so.

When we focus on eating meals that are designed to balance out your blood sugar, we can avoid the cravings roller coaster. We do this by making sure that each meal - especially breakfast - has enough protein, healthy fats, and fiber*. This elongates the blood sugar curve, which results in being able to go four to six hours without feeling physical feeling of hunger.

So what are some healthy breakfast choices? Here are some easy key words to do an internet search for to fuel you for your busy day:

  • #fab4smoothie

  • Egg Muffins

  • Breakfast Casserole

  • Freezer Breakfast Burritos

  • Chia Pudding w/ Protein

  • Overnight Oats w/ Protein

*For more on each of these macronutrients, see the March 2018 nutrition article.

Roxy Turner 
BHC Nutrition Coach