© Marazem | Dreamstime.com
Why is breakfast so important? If it is, why do so many people, adults and children alike, leave the house in the morning without having breakfast at all? Maybe you feel rushed to put together a meal, think that skipping breakfast with help you to lose weight, or believe it won’t matter if you eat more later to make up for the missed meal. The truth is, skipping breakfast can result in some truly negative consequences for your health. So why is breakfast important, and how can you be sure to get in a healthy, wholesome morning meal each day?
Importance of Morning Breakfast: Key Source of Daily Nutrients
Eating a good breakfast can help you to get the recommended daily values of various nutrients essential to good health. Studies show that kids who eat breakfast have higher levels of iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D compared to skipping breakfast, for example.
Why Breakfast is So Important for Your Health
The problems associated with missing out on your morning meal are widespread. If you skip breakfast, you may be putting your health at risk. The reasons why you shouldn’t skip breakfast make that clear:
1. Skipping is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
There have been many studies on how skipping breakfast affects heart health. One study examined nearly 200,000 different people. It found that those who skip breakfast are 21% more likely to have a cardiovascular event and diet from it, and 32% more likely to die from all causes.
2. Skipping breakfast is linked to weight gain.
Eating breakfast will likely cause an increase in the number of calories consumed in a day, which in turn, could cause weight gain. Although without breakfast, people may have less energy to move and exercise. One study found that nearly half of the nursing students that didn’t eat breakfast were overweight. This was consistent in both male and female students.
3. Skipping may negatively affect cognitive abilities and academic performance in children.
Regular breakfast consumption is associated with better behavior in school and better academic performance, including better grades and achievement test scores. We know that food is fuel, and breakfast is the meal that will fuel children before long days at school. This isn’t just found in adolescent students. A study with nursing students found that the highest majority (91.7%) of those who didn’t eat breakfast had a “C” average, while two-thirds of the students who ate breakfast had an “A” average.
4. Skipping breakfast may contribute to an increased risk for diabetes.
There is a wide body of evidence showing that consuming breakfast regularly can protect against type 2 diabetes. This could be due to the affect a longer fast from dinner to the next meal has on metabolism and blood sugar levels. A large meta-analysis of studies found that people who skip breakfast have a 6% to 55% higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those people who eat breakfast regularly. This percentage depends on how often breakfast is skipped, by plateaus at 55% once breakfast is skipped 5 times a week.
Easy Breakfast Ideas
Even if you are short on time in the morning, fitting healthy breakfast foods in is very important for your health. If necessary, wake up a bit earlier to make the time you need to prepare your food (or better yet, set yourself up the night before to make breakfast as easy as possible).
Quick and simple breakfasts include oatmeal; yogurt with mixed berries out of the freezer; gluten-free pancakes with oats, quinoa, and other hearty whole grains; or a vegan scramble with potatoes, kale, peppers, and onions.
For more delicious ideas, check out “Healthy Breakfast Ideas That Don’t Sacrifice Flavor or Satisfaction.”
Originally published in 2015, this post has been updated.