Should I Be Eating Breakfast if I Want to Lose Weight?
Ahhh, the age-old question of whether or not to eat breakfast for weight loss. As meal prep enthusiasts, we understand the importance of starting the day off on the right foot with a nutritious and satisfying meal. But with so much conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know what the best approach is for achieving weight loss goals.
In this post, we’ll be diving into the latest expert opinions on the topic, exploring the pros and cons of skipping breakfast, and sharing insights on how breakfast habits can vary from person to person. We’ll also be sharing some delicious and easy meal-prep breakfast recipes, as well as highlighting providers that can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Whether you’re a breakfast lover or sceptic, we hope this post will provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about your morning meal.
Pros and Cons of Eating Breakfast
Here are some of the reasons you might want to include breakfast in your daily meal routine:
- Provides energy: Eating breakfast provides your body with energy and nutrients to start the day, helping you to feel more alert and focused.
- May help prevent overeating: Eating breakfast may help with weight management as it can help reduce feelings of hunger and prevent overeating later in the day.
- Improves cognitive function: Eating breakfast has been linked to improved cognitive function, including memory and concentration.
- May reduce the risk of certain health conditions: Eating breakfast has been associated with a reduced risk of certain health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
And some reasons you might want to think twice about brekky:
- Can be time-consuming: Preparing and eating breakfast can be time-consuming, especially for those with busy schedules.
- Not everyone is hungry in the morning: Some people may not be hungry in the morning and may prefer to eat later in the day.
- May cause gastrointestinal discomfort: Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating or indigestion, after eating breakfast.
What the Traditional Research Says About Breakfast
The traditional school of thought has always been that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There are plenty of studies that point to the benefits of eating breakfast when it comes to your metabolism and weight loss, and then there are studies that also suggest skipping breakfast can be a more effective tactic for losing weight. There are also studies that suggest whether you eat breakfast or don’t eat breakfast has no impact on your weight loss results.
The truth? It’s complicated. The traditional belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been around for a long time, and it’s rooted in the idea that eating a healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism and provide the energy and nutrients you need to start your day. However, the scientific evidence on the link between breakfast and weight loss is mixed and complex.
What the Experts Say About Breakfast
Leading Aussie dietitian and celebrity nutritionist Susie Burrell said breakfast is a personal choice.
“Ideally, we do need a decent period of time without food overnight, at least 10 to 12 hours, and in many cases eating too much at night is the reason we do not wake hungry.
“The best dietary strategy for most of us is to work on lightening our intake at night, so we wake and feel some natural hunger within an hour or two. Occasionally fasting after a big night will not harm either, but again, every day may be different depending on what your body is telling you hunger-wise.
“For those of us who exercise regularly, are up early in the morning and are of a healthy weight, in most cases the argument for including a nutrient-rich meal relatively early in the day stands.
“The key thing here though is to make the right choices with foods that will keep you full and satisfied until lunchtime.”
Meanwhile, celebrity trainer Michelle Bridges said one of the first things she’d tell a client who approached her about getting into shape is to eat a consistent breakfast.
“I’d get them eating breakfast, lunch and dinner consistently every single day. Lots of times people skip meals and then binge when they finally do eat, or they’ll eat pretty much continuously throughout the day. Instigating the habit of eating three set meals daily pulls things back into line and then we can fine-tune their habits more easily from there.”
Celebrity trainer James Smith – who’s been labelled the Gordon Ramsay of the fitness world – has a different approach.
“A lot of the time people overcomplicate stuff to make things seem like they’re not,” he said.
“I see things like ‘skipping breakfast is going to add 20 years to your life’, and what annoys me is by letting people make these absurd claims, we are taking people further away from the habits that actually help make changes.
“There is so much more to it and so much else we need to be taking into account — stress levels, mental health, sleep, step count — it needs to be a multi-faceted approach. I get very annoyed when people become so siloed on one thing.”
So, Should You Skip Breakfast to Lose Weight?
Ultimately, the answer to whether you should skip breakfast to lose weight is that it depends on your individual needs and circumstances. While some studies suggest that skipping breakfast may be beneficial for weight loss, others suggest that eating breakfast is beneficial for weight loss.
One of the main reasons for the conflicting findings is that weight loss is a complex process that is affected by a variety of factors, including calorie intake and expenditure, physical activity, genetics, and lifestyle. Additionally, the effects of skipping breakfast on weight loss may vary depending on the person, their dietary habits and preferences, and their physical activity levels.
It’s important to note that calorie intake and expenditure are more important than timing of meals when it comes to weight loss. Skipping breakfast may help some people to reduce their calorie intake and achieve weight loss, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some people may find that skipping breakfast leads to increased hunger and cravings throughout the day, which can make it difficult to stick to a calorie-controlled diet.
Ultimately, it’s important to listen to your body and consult with a professional, like a registered dietitian, to help you design a meal plan that works best for you and your lifestyle. If you’re hungry in the morning, it’s best to eat a healthy and balanced breakfast. However, if you’re not hungry in the morning, and you find that skipping breakfast doesn’t affect your appetite or cravings, it might be a good approach for you.
How to Build a Healthy Breakfast (if You’re Eating One)
Starting your day with a nutritious and balanced breakfast can have a significant impact on your overall health and weight management goals. Rather than reaching for sugary cereals or pastries, incorporating whole grains, protein, and healthy fats into your breakfast can provide the energy and nutrition your body needs to start the day off right.
- Reach for whole-grains: Whole-grain breads and cereals are a great option as they are packed with belly-filling fibre. Topping your whole-grain bread with nut butter is a great way to add protein and healthy fats to your breakfast.
- Protein is key: Aiming for at least 20 grams of protein per breakfast is also recommended, which can be achieved through options such as smoothies made with Greek yoghourt, fruit, and greens, cottage cheese and fruit, or eggs.
- Meal prep: If you’re short on time in the morning, overnight oats can be a great option as they are easily prepared the night before and provide a hassle-free nutritious breakfast.
- Go non-traditional: Consider nontraditional foods for breakfast such as turkey sandwiches, lentil soup, or veggie wraps – it can also be a great way to break out of a breakfast rut.
Ultimately, it’s important to find what works for your tastes, appetite, goals, and lifestyle when it comes to breakfast. If you’re struggling with your weight and are skipping breakfast, it’s worth it to try to eat breakfast and see if it helps you make healthier choices during the day or better controls your hunger. The key is to make smart choices and find a breakfast that works for you.
Breakfast Ideas You Can Meal Prep in Advance
Overnight oats: This classic meal prep breakfast is easy to make and can be customised with your favourite fruits, nuts, and spices. Simply mix rolled oats, milk, and any desired add-ins in a jar or container, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, grab your oats from the fridge and you’re ready to go.
These are a great option for busy mornings. You can prepare a batch of breakfast burritos on the weekend and freeze them for the week. Simply fill a tortilla with scrambled eggs, cooked bacon or sausage, cheese, and veggies.
These can be made in advance and frozen for the week. Simply prepare English muffins, eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, and assemble the sandwiches. When you’re ready to eat, simply heat them in the microwave. Easy!
You can prepare yogurt parfaits in advance by layering yogurt, granola, and your favourite fruits in a jar or container. These are easy to grab and go in the morning.
Another great option is to prepare smoothie bags in advance. Simply chop and bag your favourite fruits and veggies, and store them in the freezer. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, just add your frozen ingredients to a blender with milk or yogurt and blend.
These are just a few examples of breakfast meal prep ideas, but there are plenty of other ideas out there! The key is to find what works for your taste and schedule, fits within your calorie goals and keeps you on track.
Let a Meal Provider Help You Eat a Healthy Brekky
Eating a healthy breakfast is a great way to start your day, but it can be tough to find the time to make something nutritious when you’re short on time. That’s where a meal provider comes in – they can help you eat a healthy breakfast by delivering pre-made, nutritious meals right to your door.
With a meal provider, you’ll have a bunch of breakfast options to choose from – from classic favourites like oatmeal and eggs to more unique options like smoothie bowls and breakfast burritos. Plus, most providers work with dietitians and nutritionists to make sure their meals are balanced and nutritious, so you can easily get the nutrients you need to start your day off right.
Here’s a list of our favourite providers who offer a bangin’ breaky:
- BeFitFood – best for low calorie breakfasts
- Soulara – best for vegan breakfasts
- Garden of Vegan – best for light breakfasts (muesli, chia pudding)
- My Muscle Chef – best for high protein breakfasts
- A Life Plus – best for keto breakfasts
Do You Eat Breaky? Let Us Know in the Comments!
We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts on breakfast: do you love it? Hate it? Have you had any success losing weight skipping breakfast? Found weight loss success from eating breakfast? Tell us in the comments.
Revisions: - 26 June 2023: Removed link "https://www.womenshealth.com.au/michelle-bridges-weight-loss-tips/" (Women's Health Magazine closed down in Australia