If you regularly skip breakfast, try these small steps to establish a healthy breakfast habit.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”
“Eat breakfast like a king!”
“Eat diamonds for breakfast and shine the whole day!”
For those who eat breakfast regularly, these are words to live by. But what if you skip breakfast? You hear those words and you just feel guilty. You know you should eat, but it’s hard if you’ve been up for hours and your stomach is still sleeping in. You know that breakfast really is important and that the right foods in the morning really can help you ‘shine all day.’ So, the question is, Why aren’t you hungry? And is there anything you can do to start your breakfast habit today?
Figuring out why you can’t face food in the morning can be tricky. Sometimes it’s just a long-standing habit—you just never got into the breakfast routine. And since you manage to get through your morning okay, you just tell yourself you don’t really need to eat. Maybe you aren’t hungry in the morning because you routinely eat an enormous dinner and snack all night until bedtime. Maybe you simply don’t like breakfast food or you just rely on a pot of strong black coffee to get you going.
Those who don’t eat in the morning have likely heard all the reasons they should try to break the breakfast-skipping habit. But just in case you need a reminder—here’s a quick recap.
When you get up in the morning, you’ve gone a pretty long stretch without eating. Even though you’ve been sleeping, your body has been tapping into stored fuel to keep your systems going. If you don’t top off your tank in the morning, you’ll lack the mental and physical energy you need to get through your workout and your workday. Not only that, the breakfast habit is associated with better weight management and a better diet over all. The vast majority of those who have successfully lost weight and kept it off eat breakfast nearly every day. On the other hand, people who skip breakfast consume more fat, cholesterol, calories, and sugar—and fewer fruits and vegetables—than those who routinely eat breakfast.
Here are some tips to help you to eat better in the morning, so you, too, can ‘shine all day.’
Ease into the habit with small portions of easy-to-digest foods that are nutrient-packed. Try a protein shake with fruit, or a dab of nonfat cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg with a piece of fruit on the side.
Protein is important because it not only helps to keep you satisfied, it also helps keep you mentally alert. One study has shown that those who eat a high protein breakfast take in 200 fewer calories during the evening.
You don’t need to eat your entire meal at once. Sip on your shake throughout the morning, or have your cottage cheese or egg first and your fruit an hour or so later.
An extra 15 minutes in the morning can make all the difference to those who are rushed to get out the door. You’ll not only have time to make something quick, you’ll also give your system a chance to wake up.
There’s no rule that says you have to eat ‘breakfast food’ in the morning. A few bites of leftover chicken and veggie stir-fry might just do the trick.
Many people think they’re not really eating breakfast when they grab ‘just a coffee and a pastry’ at the coffee store. But that innocent looking coffee drink coupled with a bran muffin could dump more than 700 calories and 6 teaspoons of grease into your system.
Susan is the Sr. Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife-sponsored blog, www.discovergoodnutrition.com. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds two Board Certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. Susan is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition.
Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.