We’ve all heard the old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” – and there’s a good reason for that. What you eat in the morning can impact how you feel for the rest of the day and even have a long-term effect on your health. So how can you make sure your breakfast is helping to set your day up for success?
Avoid these 10 common breakfast mistakes you may not have even realised you were making.
Eating on the go can lead to increased calorie intake.
After your third time hitting the snooze button, you’re left to scarf down a quick bite sometime during your commute to the office. We’ve all been there. Though eating on the go won’t necessarily satisfy your hunger pangs any less than eating at a table (it’s more about what you eat than how you eat it), research has shown that those who focus on their breakfast are more mindful about portions.
A 2015 study concluded that distracted eaters tend to consume more food and higher calories than those who pay attention to their meals. Hurried eating has also been linked to an increased risk of obesity and heart disease, as found in this 2017 study.
Skimping on protein will leave you feeling hungry.
Some of the world’s most popular breakfast foods are carb-loaded, like pancakes, waffles, and bagels. But ingesting too many carbs at breakfast can actually throw off your body. In order to get your day off to a really strong start, you should go for a meal packed with protein.
Protein-rich foods, like eggs, cottage cheese, oatmeal, and yogurt, are essential in making you feel full and will fuel you with energy for the day ahead.
Only eating egg whites can cause you to miss out on nutrients.
Egg whites are a low-calorie source of protein often recommended to people with a history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes. But if you’re simply looking to curb cravings or prevent weight gain, ditching the yolks isn’t necessarily the best practice.
Yolks are actually packed with vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids that are good for your body. They also contain powerful antioxidants that protect the eyes. Plus, while whole eggs may be high in fat, the dietary cholesterol in them don’t impact your levels of blood cholesterol (which is what doctors measure).
Not eating enough can cause you to overeat later
Eating a balanced meal in the morning puts you on the path to make more nutritional decisions throughout the rest of the day. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to have a healthy-sized breakfast. A 2017 study found that those who ate their largest meal early in the day were more likely to have a lower body mass index than those who ate a large lunch or dinner.
And the case for feasting on breakfast doesn’t end there. As if curbing cravings and preventing long-term weight gain weren’t enough reason to make sure you’re eating enough in the mornings, a study from 2016 found that a large breakfast containing protein helped in the management of type 2 diabetes.
Choosing low-fat everything can negatively impact your diet.
If you’re steering completely clear of fat in your morning meals, you could actually be hurting your diet rather than helping it. There is such a thing as healthy fat that provides necessary nutrients for your body. Your breakfast should ideally contain a balance of healthy fat and protein. Nut butter, avocados, chia seeds, and whole eggs are all great sources of healthy fat.
Waiting too long to eat can affect your energy levels.
If you’re waiting until after you shower, get dressed, drive to work, and have your first morning meeting before grabbing breakfast, you’re not setting your day up for success. Experts suggest that eating your first meal within an hour of waking up will make you more active in the mornings and less hungry throughout the rest of the day.
Recent research has also backed up this claim. A 2015 study found that people who consume a high-protein breakfast between 6:00 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. have a reduced risk of body fat gain and experience less hunger throughout the day, as opposed to those who waited to eat until after 10 a.m.
Pouring cereal straight out of the box can lead to sugar overload.
Depending on the brand, a bowl of cereal can contain a huge amount of sugar. That’s why it’s best to stick to the suggested serving size, which is typically about 1 cup. Most people end up consuming about double that since they pour straight out of the box to fill their bowls. To ensure a healthier portion, try using a measuring cup to pour your cereal.
Drinking coffee before eating can disrupt your digestive system.
As Lorelai Gilmore once said, “I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and walking.” We get it, coffee is essential to the mornings of many adults. But as desperate as you may be to get that caffeine fix in the morning, it’s best to wait until after you eat to have your first cup.
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach- even decaf coffee – can increase the production of acid in your stomach. For those with sensitive digestive systems, the increased acid can cause indigestion, heartburn or the worsening of IBS symptoms. Plus, consuming caffeine before having a single bit can also heighten anxiety, according to PopSugar.
Bottom line: Unless you’ve been drinking coffee on an empty stomach for years with no side effects, it’s best to have your latte after or while you’re eating breakfast.
Not being mindful of your morning beverages could cause you to drink all your calories.
Speaking of coffee, it’s important to consider what you’re drinking with your breakfast. Even the most perfectly balanced breakfast can be thrown off by a sugar-laden juice or coffee. So be aware of how much milk and sweetener you’re adding to your morning latte. If you can’t stomach the idea of black coffee, try using cinnamon as a natural, calorie-free alternative.
Skipping breakfast can throw off your whole day.
One of the top mistakes you can make when it comes to breakfast is not eating any at all. Regularly skipping out on your morning meals can not only lead to overeating later but also an overall lack of energy and productivity throughout the day. According to the Harvard Business Review, our body converts the food we eat into glucose, which provides energy for us to stay alert. That’s why it becomes harder to concentrate on an empty stomach.
Eating breakfast, in particular, can have long-term benefits. The National Weight Control Registry reports that nearly 80% of people who successfully lost 30 pounds or more kept it off by eating breakfast every day. Research also shows eating a solid breakfast can decrease the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.
But it’s worth noting that other people dispute these studies and that positive things have been found about fasting. It’s all in what’s right for you and your body.
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