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Trying to Lose Weight? Don't Skip Breakfast

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Updated May 16, 2014

Oatmeal with raisins, honey and walnuts
James Baigrie/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Eating breakfast is an important part of a weight loss diet. Research studies show that people who eat breakfast have a better chance of reaching and maintaining 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 that's probably not what happens -- it takes three or four 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.

Make a Healthy Breakfast

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 should come from low-fat meat, low-fat dairy products, or nuts and nut butters. Eggs are also a good source of protein.  

High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Oatmeal is an excellent high-fiber breakfast food.

A healthy breakfast doesn't need to be extravagant or take a long time to prepare. Try an easier 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 first thing in the morning, split breakfast into two smaller meals. Eat a hard boiled egg, or a small cup of yogurt before you leave for work, then about an hour or two later, take a break from work to snack on an apple and a handful of healthy nuts like pecans or walnuts.

Sources:

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.

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