Although the term “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has been thrown around as a marketing strategy, the truth is…breakfast is still very important. In fact, there are many ways that sitting down with a plate of eggs and toast can help you achieve your health goals – including your weight loss goals. Experts and research studies have proven how eating breakfast can help you lose weight long-term, turning the famous slogan back from fiction in fact.
Some of the ways that breakfast can help with your weight loss goals include helping you get enough protein, fiber, and healthy fats, as well as helping you stay energized. But the most important thing to note with these benefits is that the type of breakfast you eat matters. Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense breakfast will benefit you more than one full of added sugars and no nutrients.
What if you don’t want to eat breakfast?
“If you don’t have breakfast, though, don’t worry,” he says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author Finally Full, Finally slim. “Children should definitely eat breakfast when they wake up before going to school (even a virtual school!). However, adults don’t need to eat breakfast right away in the morning unless they’re hungry. It’s best for them to wait to eat. rather than shoveling some food in.”
However, eating breakfast can lead to overall weight loss, which means it’s still good to have something small in the morning to keep you going until lunch.
“I would recommend eating something – even a snack or small breakfast – within a few hours of waking up to keep blood sugar steady,” says Young. “Yogurt and berries or an apple with two teaspoons of peanut butter, for example, would be great options. Including protein in the morning is best for weight loss because it is super filling.”
So, if you have the time and energy to make yourself a healthy breakfast, here are some of the great weight loss benefits you can get from this morning meal. Read on, then try these 20 Healthy Weight Loss Breakfast Recipes for inspiration.
6 weight loss benefits of eating breakfast
Starting your day with a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast can help your weight loss goals in the following ways.
Eating breakfast can give you energy.
One of the most enjoyable benefits you can get from eating breakfast—besides eating some of your favorite foods—is that this morning meal can help maintain your energy levels throughout the day. According to the Cleveland Clinic, breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to function at its best.
“Breakfast will help you stay focused and alert, improving overall physical and mental performance, allowing you to be more productive,” says Young.
Although this is not directly linked to weight loss, having more energy throughout the day can help you lose weight as you may feel more alert and motivated to reach your exercise goals or eat a healthy meal to cook for yourself. When we are feeling sluggish, exhausted, or lethargic, we can be more inclined to skip a workout or reach for junk food.
Young says to make sure you’re starting your day with a nutritious breakfast, one that includes “a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats,” she says.
It is important to have this balance of nutrients because breakfasts that only contain refined sugars such as donuts, muffins, etc., will not give you energy and can have the opposite effect on your energy levels. According to the magazine Obesitydiets high in refined sugar intake may lead to increased fatigue or sluggishness.
It can keep you feeling full.
It may seem obvious, but taking calories first thing in the morning can help you fill up and control your appetite for the rest of the morning hours and you can set yourself up well for the rest of the day .
“Breakfast prevents feeling very hungry during the day – which can often lead to unhealthy food choices,” says Young. “If you eat breakfast, you feel fuller longer and it helps control portion sizes for the rest of the meals,” she says, which can directly help with your weight loss goals because you’ll be eat fewer empty calories.
Young also says that “Eating breakfast can help you lose weight because you are creating a sense of structure and not waiting for you to eat ravenous, which makes you eat too much,” says Young.
A study published in Current Developments in Nutrition it was found that there was an increase in satiety and improved appetite among the participants who ate breakfast.
The key to feeling full after eating breakfast is to incorporate all the key elements you need for a healthy meal: protein, healthy fat, and fiber-rich carbohydrates. If you include foods from each of these groups in your meals, you will feel full hours later.
Eating breakfast can help you avoid nighttime cravings.
“As a registered dietitian, I have listened to hundreds of people tell me what they eat, and hands down, people who skip breakfast usually crave carbs at night,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook.
“A breakfast of high-fiber carbohydrates and protein sets your blood sugar at a steady pace for the day and can help keep cravings at bay later. Although many people think that skipping breakfast saves them calories, often eating they put those calories back in junk later in the day,” she says.
You can get more fiber.
Eating breakfast gives you the opportunity to add more fiber to your day, a nutrient that is vital for weight loss.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition says that fiber is linked to greater weight loss and diet adherence, and the Mayo Clinic says that high-fiber foods are more filling than many other types of food, meaning you can feel full throughout fewer calories.
According to the American Heart Association, the average person should be eating at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, but the average American only eats about 10 to 15 grams.
Fortunately, most healthy breakfast foods are surprisingly high in fiber! Oatmeal, whole grain bread, fruit, and even some morning cereal are great sources of fiber. Additionally, adding a third meal to your day rather than just lunch and dinner will give you a better chance of meeting your fiber needs.
“Many Americans do not meet the requirement for fruits and veggies, and they are a great source of fiber,” says Jinan Bond, PhD, RD. “Fiber is key to helping you stay full to prevent overeating when trying to lose weight. Fiber adds very few calories to the diet. Try adding fresh fruit to cereal at breakfast to add fiber.”
You will get more of a protein boost.
In addition to getting that increase in fiber, your breakfast can be another opportunity to get an adequate amount of protein for the day.
According to a study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, higher protein diets showed a greater effect on fullness compared to participants who ate a lower protein diet. Not only that, but a high protein diet is linked to greater weight loss due to its positive effect on metabolism and satiety, and its ability to lower hunger hormones and overall food intake.
When it comes to how much protein you should take in, Goodson recommends getting at least 20 to 30 grams of protein in your breakfast, along with a fiber-rich carbohydrate and a healthy source of fat.
Shannon Henry, RD with Clinic EZCare, recommends eggs or yogurt as a nutritious high-protein breakfast. She points out how these two foods can increase fullness and reduce food intake later in the day, which can contribute to your overall weight loss.
You can also get a boost in healthy fats.
Breakfast foods such as avocado, nuts, eggs and smoked salmon contain healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, which have been linked to appetite control and satiety – which can directly help with your weight loss goals.
According to a report published in the magazine Foodsmonounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help regulate major hunger hormones, resulting in more appetite control.
A previous version of this story was published on May 18, 2021. It has been updated to include additional copy and proof reviews, additional research, and updated contextual links.