Like the scale for many dieters, breakfast has had its ups and downs. Its heyday all started in 1917 with Lenna Cooper in Good Health magazine claiming that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Fast forward to the research in the 1950s demonstrating that kids performed better in school if they had breakfast. Click here for a 2006 piece about breakfast and school performance from NPR. This type of research continues (here, a recent study from the UK) because earning straight A’s turns out to be a bit more complicated than giving kids breakfast. (Hint: kids who have breakfast every morning at home tend to come from homes with parents available to ensure that kids are eating before school; parents that ensure their kids are eating before school tend to ensure lots of other things are going on with their kids, too).
Then came the backlash on breakfast, comprised mostly of recent studies suggesting that skipping breakfast does not significantly impact weight loss in adults. Here is a study from Canada and a few from Alabama. The NY Times published an article entitled Sorry, There’s Nothing Magical About Breakfast in May 2016 underscoring the same message (FYI NY Times, that was on the heals of a piece published just a few months earlier purporting its readers to Seize The Morning and eat breakfast. Argh.) To be sure, if one is attempting to cut calories, skipping a meal may be a decent strategy and breakfast feels like a good one to cut because it is typically small, on the go, and less social than lunch or dinner.
However, research from different perspectives continue point to the benefits of eating early in the day. Here, a study from Spain demonstrates that early versus late lunch eaters experienced greater weight loss. Late lunchers were also more likely to skip breakfast and have increased evening activities. Moreover, it seems that eating breakfast is associated with sustained maintenance of weight loss. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) site reports that of those that are able to keep weight off (about 20% of those who have lost weight), 78% report eating breakfast. Here is the research study about the NWCR database, demonstrating that eating breakfast is a significant predictor variable for individuals with long-term, sustained weight loss. Finally, in a 2013 study in Obesity Journal, it was reported that holding calorie intake constant (a total of just 1400 for the day), study participants that ate the bulk of their calories (700 of them) during breakfast as opposed to eating 700 calories at dinner had increased weight loss and waist circumference following the 12-week study period!
The current state appears to be one in which the pendulum has stopped swinging so drastically and has begun to fuel a more centralist idea: yes, eat breakfast; no, not pancakes.
With all of this research in mind, here are four easy and delicious jump-start-your-day breakfast ideas. You will notice that these are not large meals. But because they are protein and fat rich, you will be fueling up with food that your body can put to good use during the energized morning.
SPICY EGGS & CHEESE: whisk one egg with one teaspoon of milk or cream (keeps the egg from sticking to your non non-stick pan), add salt and pepper and prepare as desired (scrambled, omelette). Melt one slice spicy cheese slice on top (loving Boars Head Chipotle Gouda right now), and finish off with two tablespoons of pico de gallo.
DENSE FRUITY YOGURT: one half cup 0% greek yogurt any brand, one teaspoon cherry preserves. Mix, place in freezer while showering if desired, and enjoy!
SMOKED SALMON AND CREME FRAICHE: half teaspoon creme fraiche in middle of smoked salmon slice (1/2 oz size piece), roll up and enjoy. Serving size up to four rolls.
AVOCADO & HUMMUS MASH atop thin slice of baguette: mash half of an avocado briefly with fork, spread one tablespoon hummus over thin (1/4 inch width) 5-inch length slice of crusty baguette, top with mashed avocado. Yum.