In an article about eating healthy breakfasts, a drawing of plates of various popular breakfast options.

Your Choice in Breakfast Food Means a Lot for Your Health

Here's how to perfect your approach to the most important meal of the day.

Regardless of what your morning routine consists of, there’s a good chance that you aren’t eating the right kind of breakfast for your health. In a recent 2022 study, only 35% of surveyed adults said they ate breakfast every day, with the majority of people stating that they only ate breakfast 1-6 days a week. Not starting your day off with some sort of breakfast can lead to blood sugar dips, headaches and difficulty concentrating on simple tasks. If this is the case, then why do so many people skip breakfast?

Another study took a look at the reasons people skipped breakfast, and the results implicated the usual suspects: Not feeling hungry, not having enough time, not enjoying eating early, etc. The general conclusion from this study was that although the participants recognized the importance of a balanced breakfast, most still didn’t eat it. This is something that needs to change, and there are a few solutions to increase healthy breakfast consumption.

The first solution is no late-night binge-eating, specifically in that 2-3 hour time period before you go to sleep. This is something many of us have been guilty of. Say it’s a late Friday night, you’re out with some friends, and you stop for a burger or some quick gas station snacks. That quick bite from the night before can lead to you skipping a meal or two the next day, which can really take a toll on your body’s immune system. If you feel hungry before bed, try having a glass of water or some gum, and if you do snack, keep it very light.

The second and most important solution is to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. A Gallup study from a few years back found that in the U.S., 40% of adults get less sleep than the recommended amount, while over 50% of adults felt that they would feel better with more sleep. A decent night’s sleep not only improves your health, but gives you more time to eat breakfast and go about your day. These two simple solutions will not only encourage you to eat breakfast, but will help with your digestion and immune health.

The hard part about employing these solutions is the step that comes after: finding good breakfast options. As the first meal of the day, breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and gives you energy, but the most common breakfasts selected by Americans are generally subpar. Many U.S. staples, such as cereal, waffles, pancakes and French toast contain high amounts of sugar, and can have an unhealthy impact on your body. A high-sugar diet can leave you feeling tired and distracted, and oftentimes you may feel even hungrier after eating a large amount of sugar and carbohydrates.

Furthermore, consuming such foods in the morning may contribute to tooth decay. Lux Dental professionals recommend having low-sugar or sugar-free cereals, as they can help protect your teeth from the harmful effects of sugar. Additionally, it’s essential to prioritize regular dental checkups and cleanings to maintain healthy teeth, even if you have a healthy breakfast routine.

There are three main rules to ensure you are eating a healthy breakfast. First, start your day with whole grains and some sort of protein intake, which will not only take longer to digest, but will leave you feeling full. A few options include classic oatmeal, eggs, greek yogurt or a banana with peanut butter on the side.

Second, mix up your breakfast options. Eating the same thing every day is not something people enjoy, which can lead to eating healthy one day and going back to carbs and sugar the next, or just skipping breakfast altogether. For instance, instead of eating yogurt every day, try mixing some fruit and granola in there occasionally to add some variety to your diet.

Finally, if you feel that you have no time for breakfast in the morning, pick a breakfast that you can prepare in advance. Try making overnight oats or a premade chicken dish, something you can grab on the go that still satisfies your hunger cravings. These dishes are easy to make, and most typically take only 5-10 minutes each night to prepare.

It can be difficult to break bad habits like skipping breakfast, especially when you don’t think you have the time or the appetite, but picking up the fork and eating that quick meal can make all the difference in how your day turns out. Remember these three simple guidelines: high protein options, varied meals and meal prep. The right start to your day could make all the difference.

Dominic Catalano, Arizona State University

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Dominic Catalano

Arizona State University

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