The Health Nut Blog

Ask Your Dietitian: Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal?

by Heather Collins, RD, CSOWM | Jun 12, 2019

Oatmeal with berriesQ: I’ve always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I don’t feel like eating when I wake up. What should I do?

A: Breakfast is a very important meal, but it is certainly not necessary to sit down to a feast of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns. In fact, a meal like this will likely drag you down and prevent you from getting other healthy snacks and meals throughout your day. Our body does go into a fasting state overnight, depleting glucose levels, which our brain uses for fuel. This is why in school, we were always told to eat a good breakfast on exam day. It does help our brain! Again, we don’t need big meals or sugary options to get our brain or body in gear. We want to set the tone for the day and provide fuel for our muscles while revving the metabolism. The best way to do this is with lean protein and/or a complex carbohydrate. If you are someone who enjoys breakfast, a good option may be steel cut oats with blueberries and sliced almonds. If you can’t stand the thought of eating in the morning, you may choose to wait about an hour after waking (not much longer) and try a protein shake or even something small such as a string cheese or light yogurt. Most people report that when they begin eating breakfast, after a few weeks, they look forward to it and find they have more energy and focus. If time is the enemy in the morning, remember that it takes 7 minutes to cook an egg and about 30 seconds to mix a protein shake. Yogurt and overnight oats take zero time. Most people will spend much more time than that waiting in a drive-through for their “quick” breakfast on-the-go!