The Importance of Eating Breakfast

Friday, July 8th, 2011 by Rachel

I’m not a morning person. After waking up, I need about an hour before I’m sociable, another hour before I stop feeling drowsy and nauseous. And though breakfast foods arguably make up some of my favorite foods, during my undergraduate and MA degrees, I slipped into the bad habit of skipping the first meal of the day. Of course, by skipping that first meal, I ultimately overindulged in lunch and dinner and second dinner. Eating that second dinner at 9 kept me up until 2 or 3. Missing breakfast not only affected my diet, but also my sleeping habits.


So when I decided to begin my quest towards happy healthy eating, one of the first things I did was begin to eat breakfast….at its regular breakfast time in the AM. This is one of those easy adjustments to your diet that most people know about but inevitably ignore. I’m not sure why some of us think by skipping this meal we are ultimately gaining something. There is no benefit to skipping breakfast—that extra half hour of sleep isn’t worth it! You will not lose weight by skipping this meal. Beginning your day with a meal not only starts you off with an energy boost but sets you up for good habits later in the day.


My body’s natural clock wakes me up around 8 or 8:30. If I’m not hungry, I will still eat. I need to get something in my stomach within the first hour or so of my morning, otherwise I find that my day’s food consumption will inevitably be out of whack. I am a creature of habit, so both my mind and body appreciate this routine. Today, I’ll be eating two leftover gluten free pancakes. Yesterday, I had a single serving of cottage cheese with two pineapple rings and a glass of apple juice. The day before yesterday, I had a bowl of fruit and nut granola topped with almond milk. The trick is figuring out what you like—and sometimes I like a meal so much that I’ll eat it every day for a month or more. This spring was the spring of grits, when I microwaved myself a bowl daily. When I was feeling a little bored, I would sprinkle cheese on top or drop a fried egg in the middle, but I usually had it plain with a dollop of Smart Balance Butter. During the stressful time of trying to graduate and get married, I liked knowing that every day I would get up to a meal that would fill me up. I just didn’t have to think about it—grits were it for me.



Breakfast can be quick and simple, or it can be a fancy feast. I try to alternate between the two as a reward to myself for sticking to my routine. During the weekend, I love to make frittatas. If I have time during the week, I’ll sometimes spoil myself with a batch of pancakes or an omelet. My breakfast philosophy is all about balancing the two.


At first, you shouldn’t worry about what you are eating. Focus on getting into your routine first, and then you can make adjustments later. But, I do have to emphasize how important and essential these adjustments to your breakfast health. Of course, I’d never recommend eating pancakes every single day. If you get in a rut like me, choose something that is portion controlled, like grits, cereal, or oatmeal. I rarely eat two eggs anymore, I’ll eat one or one and a half (if I’ve scrambled 3 eggs to split between Derrick and myself—there is barely a difference between 3 and 4 eggs!). For those of you who prefer scrambled, Egg Beaters and Egg Whites cartoned are so easy to substitute (and use when you’re baking too). If I HAVE to have toast, which I normally skip, I’ll only make one piece, or I’ll have a tortilla with my meal instead. If I’m having pancakes, I will have syrup on my first pancake, but then I’ll leave the topping off my second. We have eliminated red meat entirely from our breakfast menu, buying turkey bacon and turkey sausage instead, which taste great and don’t leave you feeling greasy.


Now, I’m off to practice what I preach. Looking forward to those pancakes!


  1. Great Advice!

  2. Funny, I caught the Dr. Oz show this morning and he was also preaching the importance of eating breakfast within an hour of waking. I rarely ate breakfast, until a few years ago. I find that if I combine a protein with a healthy starch, it will last most of the day. Bon appetite!

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