We know mornings can be hectic, and breakfast is often the last thing on our minds. It’s understandable, but skipping that morning meal might be what’s keeping us from achieving our weight loss goals.
In a recent study from the Journal of Nutrition, researchers came to this conclusion after observing more than 65,000 women over a span of three years. The results showed a significant number of the participants who remembered to eat a morning meal were less likely to gain weight compared to those who waited to eat later on.
Of course, this is just the latest study to point out that breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day. Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that eating in the AM can help with things like keeping our energy levels up throughout the day and reducing hunger between meals (AKA less needless snacking).
Picking the right kind of food to chow down on is important, too. Dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, recommends avoiding heavy, refined carbohydrates. She also warns, “If you start your day off with something sweet, you’re more likely to crave sweets all day. Sugar is very addicting and difficult to control.”
Zumpano says to focus on protein and fiber instead. She cites a study that found women were less likely to crave and indulge in high-fat foods if they started their days with a protein-packed breakfast. Basically, think more eggs or yogurt, less donuts.
As for how early we should start noshing, it seems the sooner the better. Dietitian Cynthia Sass, RD, CSSD, tells Eat This, Not That, “I recommend eating within an hour of waking up. This habit fuels mental and physical performance throughout the morning, which tends to be the most productive time of day.” Sass adds that this can stave off hunger pangs in the evening, which can contribute to weight gain.
Prepping a healthy breakfast the night before can help with maintaining regular morning meals. Click here for a few of our quick and easy favorite recipes!