Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper

Another version of the titular proverb goes: Eat your breakfast, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to your enemy. Whichever you prefer, the conclusion to be drawn is the same - breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Yet, in the throes of the daily grind, we tend to forget about it. Oftentimes, we simply skip it. Typical excuses we give ourselves include: I got up too late; I wasn't really that hungry; It was too early to eat. These are really bad habits.

Everything you eat and drink in the morning has an impact on our activeness, alertness, and concentration throughout the day. The morning meal is regarded by dieticians as the most important one for your health and proper functioning of your body, which is why you should not be skipping it. Breakfast helps you maintain stable insulin levels an at the same time reduces the risk of diabetes and obesity. What's more, it provides you with energy for the day, which improves brain functioning and general well-being.

When should you eat breakfast?

When you eat breakfast matters. You should eat it within an hour of waking up because then, the level of glucose in your body is really low and you need to boost it by eating a balanced, wholesome meal. Also, in the morning your stomach secretes more gastric juice. If you tend not to have your breakfast, you put yourself at risk of inflammation, gastric mucosal damage, and stomach ulcers. Many people on a weight loss diet believe that if they skip breakfast, they will lose weight. They couldn't be more wrong! During lunch or dinner, your body will quickly make up for the calorie deficit related to not having had breakfast. People who do not eat breakfast tend to snack on unhealthy foods to dull hunger pangs. Consequently, instead of losing weight, they gain it! When you eat your breakfast, you ramp up your metabolism, which, in turn, supports healthy weight maintenance.

How many calories should your eat for breakfast?

Calorific value of breakfast is related to the frequency of eating per day. In the optimal nutrition model, it is recommended that you eat five meals a day including breakfast that should provide more or less ¼ of the body's daily calorie intake. With three meals a day, breakfast should satisfy about 30% of the daily calorie needs. It follows therefore that a person whose daily calorie intake is 2 000 kcal, may eat 500 kcal for breakfast. Whereas, for people with lower daily calorie needs (e.g. 1 500 kcal), the caloric value of breakfast should be about 375 kcal.

Oatmeal or scrambled eggs?

Another controversial issue is the kind of foods you should eat for breakfast. The question that pops up is: which is better - oatmeal (carbohydrate meal) or scrambled eggs (protein and fat meal). One theory says that protein and fat will make you feel fuller than carbohydrates, which isn't entirely true. Excess of fat slows down the process of digestion, hampers oxygen delivery to the brain and other organs, which will make you drowsy and sluggish. Hence, your breakfast should not contain too much fat. On the other hand, many scientific studies have confirmed that high-fiber high-carbohydrate meals have a more positive effect on the feeling of fullness than high-fat meals do. Then, dieticians will tell you that breakfast should be varied and include foods from each category in the food pyramid, which means grains as in whole wheat bread, cereals, e.g. oatmeal that is a rich source of β-glucanases, products that provide complete meat and plant protein (e.g. milk, cottage cheese, lean meats, fish), good quality fats rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vegetables and fruit that are a good source of vitamins and antioxidants.


A well-balanced breakfast

The first meal of the day should include foods that provide both simple carbohydrates that are quickly and easily digested to provide you with energy as well as complex carbohydrates that will provide you with energy in the longer term. You should also remember to include protein and fats. The more varied the products you have for breakfast, the lower the risk of potential nutrient deficiencies in your body.