What to Eat When You Don’t Like the Most Important Meal of the Day

by Grace Rivers, RDN, CDCES

Breakfast is the first meal we eat in a day. Many think that breakfast involves sitting down for eggs, bacon, sausage, gravy, toast, bagels, or biscuits. That is not so. Breakfast is whatever you choose to put into your mouth. That includes leftover pizza!

Why is breakfast so important?

It has long been believed that eating breakfast helps control your appetite later in the day, aids with blood sugar regulation, clears the morning brain fog, and gives you more energy throughout the day.

Recently though, some studies are showing differently. One study showed that skipping breakfast lowered the overall intake of calories throughout the day. However, when the participants skipped breakfast, their hunger rating and intake were increased at lunch.

Yet, in another study, the participants who skipped breakfast had higher blood sugar levels after eating lunch and dinner and showed slower insulin response.

In a review of six studies totaling 96,000 participants, the risk of type 2 increased every day that breakfast was skipped. The increase leveled off at 5 days, and type 2 diabetes increased by 55% for those who skipped breakfast.

The National Weight Loss Registry monitors people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for extended periods. Eating breakfast is a habit of 78% of people who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept from regaining it for 5.5 years.  

So what do you do?

If you are not getting the outcome you want and don’t eat breakfast, you may want to give breakfast a try. Many perform better when eating breakfast, but if you prefer not to eat it, that is alright.

If you skip breakfast and notice that cutting back on carbs still results in unwanted high blood sugar, the insulin response time could explain that. Eating breakfast may help you.

Common reasons for avoiding breakfast

Time shortage

Not hungry

Makes me sick, kind of queasy

Saving calories for lunch and dinner

What you can eat when you don’t have much time

If you notice that you feel better if you eat or that your blood sugars are better, these food options may benefit you.

These small amounts can help with tolerance and get you out the door in a hurry. They are made of protein and a good source of fiber to help keep you full longer. Dairy milk and yogurt have protein but lack fiber.

  • One waffle and 20 walnut halves
  • 23 almonds with 2 Deglet dates
  • 1 boiled egg with 6 whole-grain crackers
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter on one slice of whole wheat bread
  • One original packet of oatmeal with a tablespoon of nuts and 4 ounces of milk with protein
  • One 8-ounce glass of milk (dairy or plant-based, make sure it contains protein)
  • One small container of yogurt (aim to keep added sugars less than 5 grams)

What if you eat breakfast and your blood sugar spikes afterward?

Spiking from eating is usually a result of too many refined carbs such as donuts, bagels, or sweet cakes with coffee. Smoothies could also cause spiking if fruit juice is used as the liquid. If you want a smoothie, try it with milk containing protein. Peanut or almond butter will help to thicken it and add healthy fat and protein.

Prep for the night before

Making these the night before will get you out the door even faster. Plus, the flavors have more time to meld.

Plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt with added fruit

¼ cup old fashioned muesli with ½ cup milk with protein

Eating breakfast is your choice. If you decide to eat it and are short on time, a simple change of what you choose can give you more energy to get you through your day.

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