Your mother probably told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for energy, and large studies suggest it’s also great for weight loss: Of people who have lost major weight and kept it off, almost all of them eat an a.m. meal religiously. So the question becomes not whether you should eat breakfast, but what exactly should be on your breakfast plate, and how much you need to switch that up every day—or not.
According to award-winning dietitian and regular TV guest Kristin Kirkpatrick, author of Skinny Liver and manager of nutrition for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, it’s not as black and white as you might think, because it all depends on what you’re eating, and who you are.
Here’s why it could be a bad idea:
If you’re a foodie, eating the same thing every morning might make you bored. And this may lead you to start making poor dietary choices as you crave novel flavors and textures.
It’s also potentially bad news if you’re first meal of the day is a bowl of sugary cereal. “You may just be having the wrong breakfast to begin with, in that it’s a high carb food that’s also high in sugar and low in protein,” Kirkpatrick explains. “Many studies point to the benefits of having a higher protein breakfast in terms of helping with weight control and reducing cravings, so if you’re eating a big bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and dried fruit it may inhibit effective weight loss.”
Here’s why it could be a good idea:
“There is a benefit to automation in breakfast choices, especially if your breakfast is one that is protein-rich, and ideally includes a vegetable—because we get so few, crossing one off the list early in the day is ideal,” Kirkpatrick says. “If it’s a ‘without thinking’ type of thing you have every day, you are also less likely to search for other options that may not help with weight loss (think danish, doughnut, sugary cereal).”
Healthy, high-protein breakfast ideas include Greek yogurt with berries (blueberries are nutritional powerhouses) and a handful of nuts, a breakfast burrito with beans, peanut butter or almond butter on whole grain toast.
Making one meal, like breakfast, the same every day can lead to healthy food choices for the following meal, which can encourage healthy eating and weight maintenance. Just be sure to choose your meal mindfully, steering clear of foods both high in carbs and sugar, and instead opting for a higher protein breakfast. Here are 27 great breakfast ideas to consider.