Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

We’ve all heard the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day — but is there any truth to this oft-quoted sentiment by moms everywhere? Let’s take a closer look. 

The Marketing of Breakfast

Although we all know the three typical meals we eat in a day, only breakfast has been susceptible to PR stunts and food marketing. This dates back to the late 19th century, when breakfast cereals were promoted as a healthier alternative to traditional meat-heavy morning meals. Once just a slogan for pushing cereal, now just about everybody knows that the phrase ‘most important meal of the day’ is in regards to breakfast. 

Should We All Eat Breakfast?

Breakfast signifies the morning meal — the ‘breaking’ of our overnight fast — which our bodies need after 8, 10, or 12 hours without food. But while many people wake up ravenous and ready for food, others truly aren’t hungry in the mornings, and we shouldn’t force them to eat. Plus, many turn toward intermittent fasting as an approach to healthy eating, which typically delays the morning meal until 11 a.m. or noon.  

There are some pros to eating breakfast. Some studies show that people who eat a balanced breakfast have healthier weights and lose weight faster. Plus, breakfast-eaters tend to have higher mental clarity in the morning, which can be especially important for kids in school. However, the quality of the breakfast matters — a donut will not have the same brain-boosting and weight loss-promoting potential as a protein-rich egg and veggie scramble. 

Is There Really a Most Important Meal? 

There’s really not a set rule for whether or not you should eat breakfast, but what you can do is eat balanced meals that fuel your body throughout the day. If you have low energy and high hunger in the morning or early afternoon, a bigger breakfast with protein, fiber, and healthy fats may be right for you. If you’re genuinely not hungry until later in the morning, skip it but ensure you’re eating enough calories and nutrients during your lunch, dinner, and snacks later in the day.

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