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The Most Important Meal of the Day

White Plains Hospital

March 16, 2021

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Having a breakfast can set the table for a successful day.

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, yet 25% of Americans don’t eat it, even though the period between their last meal and when they wake up is usually the longest time their body goes without fuel.

The Benefits of Breakfast

The desire to lose weight is frequently cited as a reason people pass on eating breakfast. While more research is needed to support this theory, Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, Director of the Nutrition Center at Scarsdale Medical Group, notes there are many other benefits derived from having a healthy breakfast.
"I do have patients who implement Intermittent Fasting as a weight loss approach, and some do well. But it is not for everyone. If you skip breakfast, and you feel too hungry this may lead to making unhealthy choices and eating the first thing you can get your hands on,” says DeRobertis. “For many people, having breakfast makes it easier to avoid overeating because your appetite is satiated. It also reduces cravings for unhealthy foods.”

Feed Your Mind

If you skip breakfast, it isn’t just your body running on empty - it’s your mind too. “Not having breakfast can affect your ability to concentrate and cloud your memory,” says DeRobertis. “If you don’t have breakfast, you might feel a bit sluggish and struggle to focus. This is because your brain hasn’t received enough glucose to supply the energy it needs. You can avoid glucose fluctuations throughout the day by eating mostly lean protein combined with a careful amount of a healthy carbohydrate soon after you wake up.”

Many Americans who skip breakfast say it’s because they’re too busy taking their kids to school or commute to work and don’t have time to stop and eat. DeRobertis recommends several ways to fit a healthy breakfast into a busy schedule:

  • Prepare some quick and healthy breakfast grab-and-go foods the night before or on the weekend.If you are planning to have eggs for breakfast, you can hard boil them in advance. Or buy a version of the egg bites, or egg muffins, that you can just heat up.Or better yet, make them yourself in a muffin tin, using eggs and any veggies.
  • For variety, make a breakfast menu featuring a different breakfast every day or maybe more realistically each week.There are lots of websites with healthy breakfast recipes that you can prepare in advance and keep for a few days.
  • Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier to give you time to enjoy breakfast at home.
  • Swap out any time-wasting habits in the morning (maybe a little too much time scrolling social media) and use this time for breakfast instead.

So, What’s for Breakfast?

For a nutritious breakfast that keeps its promise to keep you full, focus on adding protein. Hard-boiled eggs, nuts, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and nut butter are all easy, filling options. For people who can’t face eating early, DeRobertis suggests making a well-balanced breakfast shake to take on the go.

“Smoothies are easy to make, and they can add good nutrition to your daily diet if you make them properly,” she says. “A well-rounded smoothie should be a good source of protein, so that can be a scoop of a protein powder, or 100 calories of a plain Greek yogurt. Add to that a cup of fruit, a tablespoon of a healthy fat, such as a nut butter, and a handful or two of greens. When you make this type of smoothie, you have the foundation for a healthy breakfast that should hold you over for a few hours and set you up for a good day.”

Elizabeth DeRobertis

Elizabeth DeRobertis is a Registered Dietitian with the Scarsdale Medical Group. To make an appointment, call 914-723-8100.