According to studies, people who eat breakfast usually weigh less – and those who skip the first meal of the day tend to choose high-calorie foods later for lunch and dinner. Nevertheless, breakfast is not always breakfast! A bowl of store-bought chocolate granola is loaded with sugar and anything but healthy. It all comes down to a balanced meal. Now, it’s time for a reality check: are you guilty of these five breakfast mistakes?
Instead of making breakfast, you hit the snooze button. Then you pick up something quick at the bakery and scoff it down in the car or the train. And you think, “What’s the harm in this?” After all, our body doesn’t care if we eat at a table, on the go or in a rush. But what does matter is how much we concentrate on our meal: people who focus on their breakfast tend to eat more mindfully. The results of a study suggest that walking distracts our brain and therefore we consume more calories when we eat on the go. Plus, not chewing food properly because we are in a hurry can lead to digestive problems.
If you don’t have time in the morning or you’d rather sleep a little longer, prepare your healthy breakfast the night before.
If you consume a ton of sugar for breakfast, you’ll be hungry again in an hour or two. Why? Your blood sugar spikes after eating but then drops again just as quickly. Plus, a meal rich in simple carbohydrates is easy to digest. The energy boost it gives your body is short-lived and soon you will be hungry again. Why? Because your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard. These carbohydrates are absorbed directly from your intestines into your bloodstream in their simplest form (monosaccharides or simple sugars). Sugary breakfast cereals are thus quick to digest.
Foods high in fiber (for instance, oatmeal, whole grain products, legumes, vegetables, etc.) are the exact opposite: you feel full longer because the fiber swells up in your stomach and takes longer to travel to your intestines. Fiber keeps your intestines healthy, lowers your risk of diabetes and, according to studies, can even prevent colon cancer. You should consume 30 g of high-fiber foods per day.
Fiber is not the only thing keeping you satiated. Protein also plays a big role in feelings of fullness. An adequate intake of protein can help curb food cravings. Therefore, make sure to get plenty of the macronutrient with your breakfast. What are good sources of protein? A vegetable omelet with whole grain bread, oatmeal with (soy or Greek) yogurt and fruit or whole grain toast with nut butter, banana and chia seeds. If you need something quick, a homemade breakfast smoothie will do, too.
Fat makes you fat? It’s not as simple as that. The times when so-called light products were recommended as part of a healthy diet are long gone. Foods high in fat should, like carbohydrates and protein, be an integral part of your diet. You should consciously include healthy fat in the most important meal of the day. Nut butters, seeds, avocados, olive oil or plain yogurt (regular fat) are good options. They keep you feeling full and taste great.
A healthy breakfast gives you a good start to the day. If you choose a balanced meal in the morning, chances are that you will eat healthier the rest of the day. Don’t be afraid to go big for breakfast: to get your metabolism going in the morning, it’s a good idea to fill up on natural foods (like the examples we mentioned above). That way you are prepared for the day and don’t have to worry about dealing with a grumbling stomach still hours before lunch.
So you can see that it’s no accident that breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day! Make sure to eat a balanced diet, focus while eating and feel free to fill up on natural foods.
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