Healthy Habit #3: Breakfast is for Champions


A traditional Nicaraguan breakfast. Trust me…they know what they’re doing.

In case it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed the data on the importance of breakfast, here are some interesting studies done recently about the meal more Americans skip than any other:

1) Eating a big breakfast fights off obesity and diseaseScience Daily just reported a study a few weeks ago featuring two groups of women on 1,400 calorie-per-day diets. One group had a big breakfast, moderate lunch and small dinner, the other group had a small breakfast, moderate lunch and big dinner. The big breakfast group lost over 10 pounds more than the big dinner group.

The big breakfast group also showed a more significant decrease in insulin, glucose, and triglyceride levels than those in the big dinner group.

2) How important is breakfast in keeping you alive?Time Magazine had a report in June from Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers “studied the health outcomes of 26,902 male health professionals ages 45 to 82 over a 16-year period. They discovered that the men who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from heart disease than those who honored the morning meal.” Twenty-seven percent!!!

3) What you eat for breakfast makes a difference – The same article in Time talks about the importance of avoiding a sugary breakfast, especially if you are in a weight loss battle. According to Judy Caplan, a registered dietitian nutritionist for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You get an insulin [spike], and [then] your blood sugar drops too low so you get hungry again. That’s why people get into a cycle of overeating junk.”

4) You wouldn’t drive your car without fuel, would you? – If you’re truly living a healthy life your going to have to include exercise, and you won’t find to many health experts telling you to do that on an empty stomach. This story from illustrates why it’s the most important meal of the day.

Since 2008, I’ve gotten in the habit of rising 30 minutes early to cook a big savory breakfast which over the years has included bacon, eggs, omelets, rice, beans, sausage…even spinach. 

My standard breakfast today is gallo pinto (a rice/bean mix pictured above that I learned to make in Nicaragua), two eggs, salsa and a half of a can of spinach. With 24 oz. of coffee, it’s about a 575 calorie meal I use to fuel my morning.

That breakfast gives me the energy to get through the first six hours of my day, including a mid-morning or lunchtime workout. I’m not tempted to dig into the breakroom treats at 10 AM, nor am I battling any sugar cravings or energy dips.

If you’re a breakfast disciple like myself, feel free to share your favorite breakfast recipes that fuel your day. If you’re not (yet), challenge yourself for a day or two to wake up early and make a healthy, savory breakfast before starting your day. Notice how different you feel by mid-morning. See if some of your usual cravings dissipate or if you’re able to enjoy a more sensible lunch.

And on the weekends, do what I do and treat yourself to a good, healthy brunch. Durham has some of the best brunch locations I’ve ever seen. What are some of the favorites in your area?

Author’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of stories I’m writing about healthy living as I prepare for my first 150-mile fundraising bike ride in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. To learn more about the ride or support my fundraising effort with a donation, click here

About Matt DeMargel

Public Relations Flack, Health-Conscious Cyclist, Personal Finance Nerd, Global Wanderer and slightly deranged fan of St. Louis and Mizzou Sports. I only write when I have something to say, but I talk constantly!
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