4 Breakfast Mistakes
Surely you have heard that breakfast is “the most important meal of the day“? But is that actually true? Or is the breakfast overrated? There are many reasons to prioritize eating a healthy breakfast.
Firstly, if you eat well-balanced healthy meals with enough fiber, vitamins, protein, and healthy fat, you are more productive and energized and do not tend to overeat during the day.
Second, if you start a day with a healthy meal, you also start up mentally. And thanks to this you can maintain a positive mood throughout the day. Because if you fuel your body well, the body will repay in many ways.
I know it is hard to make time for breakfast on a busy morning. Let‘s show you some tips on how to start and what mistakes to avoid at the beginning.
Top 4 breakfast mistakes
1. Too much sugar in the morning
The number one mistake that I often encounter in practice is too much sugar in the morning. What does it mean? The reason why you feel tired and lack energy right after breakfast is when you consume large amounts of sugar (high glycemic index meals).
Your blood sugar levels rise as you can see on the graf below.
So as fast as it rises, it falls too. Therefore, it is important to have in your breakfast complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index meals), enough protein, and fat. The body absorbs them longer and your energy lasts much longer.
2. Bad ratio of carbs, protein and fat
Now we know our breakfast should contain all three macronutrients – carbs, protein and fat.
But how much? Every balanced meal should be composed of 50 % carbs, 30 % fat, and 20 % protein. Of course, these numbers can change depending on our goal, weight, age, sex, amount of activity during the day, etc.
Basically, if we are in a caloric deficit and losing weight, we should increase protein and decrease carbs.
If we are building mass and want to gain weight, we do the opposite.
Here are examples of macronutrients that should appear in your healthy breakfast:
Carbs: oats, bread (white, whole grain, etc.), whole-grain cereal, instant rice porridge
Protein: eggs (whites), dairy products such as yogurt, cottage, quark, milk
Fat: avocado, eggs (yolks), nut butter, nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, and almonds
We should not forget fiber, which is one type of carbohydrate. Fiber helps us regulate blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. Fiber can be found in plant-based meals.
These are mostly in fruits (apples, pears, berries, grapes, and others), vegetables (spinach, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.), and grain – (wholemeal bread, pasta, tortillas).
3. Too small or too large breakfast
If we look at what the experts say about the size of breakfast, their opinions are quite different. Breakfast on a balanced menu should make up roughly 20-25 % of the total daily intake.
Eating a high-calorie breakfast was found to be associated with lower feelings of hunger and sweet cravings throughout the day.
Compared to a larger (high-calorie) breakfast, a low-calorie breakfast is more likely to cause you to snack throughout the day.
4. Coffee in the morning
Coffee first, I know. So many people still make this mistake and the first thing they do in the morning is to drink coffee (instead of water) and often skip breakfast altogether. But it’s so important to give your body the precious liquids it needs after a long, dry night. Why is caffeine bad for you in the morning?
Scientists and nutritionists claim that drinking coffee (and other caffeinated drinks) reduces the production of the hormone cortisol, which has high levels in the morning.
This hormone helps regulate metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Cortisol levels naturally peak in the morning when you wake up, decrease throughout the day, and peak again during the early stages of sleep.
Simply put, when you drink coffee every morning regularly, your body may not be able to make cortisol on its own and you will become addicted to coffee.
The first thing you should do every morning is to drink a glass of water. No soda or sparkling water, but just plain tap water.
Hunger is usually the first thing you think about in the morning. But if you hydrate first, you’ll take the time to make breakfast and then enjoy the meal more.
4. Skipping breakfast
The most important point at the end. It’s logical. After 8 hours of sleep, your body is dehydrated and needs to be replenished with energy in order to function fully.
In addition, skipping breakfast slows metabolism and causes cravings. But there are still people who skip “the most important meal of the day”.
What does the expert say? Dietitian nutritionists recommend eating within an hour of waking up, but only if you feel hungry.
It is okay when you are not hungry and don’t feel like eating in the morning. It may suit some people to skip breakfast. It’s about habit. But one thing is clear according to the experts, the positives still outweigh the negatives regarding breakfast.
If you learn to include breakfast in your morning routine, it will probably have a lot of other, already mentioned, benefits.
Hi! I am Karolina, a nutritionist, fitness trainer, and a master's student at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, based in Prague, Czech Republic. I have been dedicated to a healthy lifestyle for about 7 years and today it is a substantial part of my life and work. What I love most about my job is that I can help people on their way to their goals, whether it's better and healthier eating or performing in sports. I believe you will enjoy reading my posts and learning something new about a healthy and fit lifestyle.