Skipping breakfast is a common strategy for people who are trying to lose weight, but unfortunately, it's usually not a successful strategy. Your body (or more likely, your brain) expects to be refueled a few times each day. When you don't eat breakfast you may feel so hungry by lunch time that you eat more foods than you normally would, which cancels out the calories you cut by skipping breakfast. You may also be tempted to choose foods that are not the healthiest choices when you feel like you're starving.
For many people, eating breakfast may is an important part of a weight loss diet. Research studies tell us that people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Some experts believe that breakfast keeps your metabolism running higher because skipping meals causes the body to kick into 'starvation' mode. This sounds impressive, but it really isn't what happens -- it takes three or for days of eating nothing before the body starts gearing down your metabolism. It's more likely that people who regularly eat breakfast also make good dietary choices the rest of the day.
While any breakfast may be better than no breakfast, don't ruin your breakfast with high-fat and high-calorie foods. There are some foods you might want to avoid because they're high in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats and calories. Cut back on sugary breakfast cereals (over 5.0 grams per serving), high-calorie pastries, and meats like bacon and sausage that are high in saturated fat and sodium.
Breakfast should include a healthy source of protein and plenty of fiber; the combination will help satisfy your hunger and will keep you feeling full until lunch time. The protein can come from low-fat meat, low-fat dairy products, or nuts and nut butters. Eggs are also a good source of protein. They're also high in saturated fats, but one egg only has about 75 calories and they're quite satiating so it can help keep the hunger pangs away. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
A healthy breakfast doesn't need to be extravagant or take a long time to prepare. Try a simpler breakfast -- something simple like a hard boiled egg, a piece of 100-percent whole grain toast along with a cup of 100-percent fruit juice. And there's nothing wrong with a bowl of cold whole grain cereal with berries and low-fat milk (remember to check the cereal label for grams of sugar). You can also purchase breakfast bars made from different types of cereal, but remember to read the label because many of these bars are high in sugar.
If you really don't like to eat breakfast first thing in the morning, you can split it up into two smaller meals. Eat a hard boiled egg, or a small cup of yogurt at home before you leave for work, then about an hour or two later, take a break from work and snack on an apple and a handful of healthy nuts like pecans or walnuts.
Murphy JM, Wehler CA, Pagano ME, Little M, Kleinman RE, Jellinek MS. "Relationship Between Hunger and Psychosocial Functioning in Low-Income American Children." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, February, 1998.
Warren JM, Henry CJ, Simonite V. "Low Glycemic Index Breakfasts and Reduced Food Intake in Preadolescent Children." Pediatrics, November 2003.