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The Importance of Breakfast, As Told by Erin Christ

Photo: Courtesy of Erin Christ

Erin Christ is an aspiring dietitian, having struggled with an eating disorder before. She explains why breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

What is the most important message you hope to convey with your Instagram page? Who are you hoping to reach?

With my Instagram page, I hope to use my story and experiences to give hope to anyone struggling with having a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. After battling with an eating disorder for a good amount of my life, I knew it was my calling to help others. I am currently in the process of becoming a registered dietitian and plan on using that as a way to educate others about proper nutrition and how to fuel your body. I believe building a healthy life includes creating habits and a lifestyle that is sustainable and enjoyable. I want to help people understand that you can live a life without restriction, guilt, or fear around food and that the scale does not define your worth. I am hoping to reach those who feel helpless, hopeless, and defeated by diet culture and the toxic messages that surround social media. No one should feel alone on their struggle and I want to be that helping hand to anyone who needs it.

Why is it so important to eat breakfast every day?

By the name of my Instagram, I’m sure you can tell I am a breakfast fanatic but beyond the yummy pancakes, oatmeal, and eggs, there are actually many benefits to eating breakfast every morning. When you eat breakfast, it is you telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip it, your body instead gets the message that it needs to conserve, rather than burn any incoming calories. The name itself suggests that breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period. It replenishes your supply of glucose to boost your energy levels and alertness, while also providing you with nutrients to start your day. 

Why do you think people tend to skip breakfast? What about teen girls, specifically?

I know we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet so many people skip it. I think there are a few different reasons for this including not having enough time, not feeling hungry, not liking breakfast food, or in the hopes to lose weight. This is especially true when it comes to teen girls. Diet culture has convinced many that eating breakfast will sabotage any weight loss progress and cause weight gain. The media has been notorious for promoting unrealistic and unhealthy body shapes, causing self-esteem to decrease and insecurity increase. This is particularly seen in young, teen girls. There is tremendous pressure on these teens to fit the “standard of beauty” that society has created. This put them into a diet mentality chasing the desire to be thin, which ultimately results in weight obsession. It is important that us, as a community, move away from this messaging and steer more towards creating a culture that promotes healthy eating and body-positivity.

What is your all-time favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

My all-time favorite thing to eat for breakfast are pancakes! They are easy to make, can be stacked, and you can customize them to any flavor you want! 

How do you know if you’re getting enough nutrition in your breakfast?

Getting the right nutrients, especially to fuel your body all day long, is crucial when deciding what to eat for breakfast. The right combination of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats will keep you feeling full and prepare your mind and body to take on the day. Protein will help you feel full and satisfied. Carbohydrates will give you energy. Fiber will help keep your digestion regular. And healthy fats help both your body and your brain. Some examples of nutritious breakfast include scrambled eggs with veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla with avocado, whole-grain toast topped with nut butter, sliced bananas and chia seeds, or a smoothie with fruit, spinach, protein powder and flaxseeds.

Do you recommend nutritional supplements? If yes, which ones and why?

I always say “food first, supplements second” when it comes to nutrients but because everybody has different and unique nutritional needs, supplements can be useful for filling in gaps of someone’s overall diet.  Supplements aren’t meant to replace the eating of nutritious foods but rather to help make sure you are getting enough nutrients to prevent deficiency and feel your best. The supplements someone needs will vary from person to person and it is important to work with a professional to help determine a regimen that works for you and your needs. I personally take a few different supplements daily that have helped me. I include a multivitamin to get the vitamins and minerals that my body needs, omega-3 to keep my heart and brain healthy while also reducing inflammation, and a probiotic for my gut health.  

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