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Why Breakfast Truly Is the Most Important Meal of the Day


Sarah Dimitratos

Registered Dietritian, American Society For Nutrition

You’re a high achiever who accomplishes a lot: You crush it at work, get the kids to school, practice, or friends’ houses on time, exercise, and make time for friends and family. You’re on your a-game: energetic, driven, diligent, and… healthy? Yes, healthy!

You lead a busy life, but making time for breakfast is an important way to stay healthy and to stay on a path to attain what achievement means to you. Consistently eating a heart-healthy breakfast in alignment with your body’s calorie needs supports a healthy brain and body. And good physical and mental wellness is foundational for achieving success in all arenas of life. 

Ease into the day

Think of breakfast as a favor to yourself. Breakfast can be a quiet time to calmly begin the day over a tasty, nutritious meal. Take advantage of the morning hours to fuel appropriately for your day.

A heart-healthy breakfast rich in fiber, whole grains, protein, and healthy fat gives you more energy and a positive mood to propel you through your day. Enjoying a healthy breakfast helps you avoid mid-morning blood sugar crashes, which translates into less brain fog, headaches, and lethargy during office meetings and conference calls.

The benefits of breakfast are numerous, but here’s the thing: There’s a time and place for indulgences like donuts, sugary cereals, and the like. The act of simply eating in that magic AM window isn’t quite enough, as breakfast food qualityis paramount. Not sure where to begin? There’s a template for that. Not sure how to fill it in? There’s inspiration for that.

The template

Imagine that your two hands (palms up) are your plate. Fill them up with nine fingers of produce (fiber!), one palm of lean protein, one palm of whole grain, and two thumbs of heart-healthy fat like nut butter, olive oil, or avocado.

The heart-healthy inspiration

  • Eggs with steel-cut oatmeal and berries
  • Whole grain French toast with a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Breakfast burrito with eggs, veggies, beans, and salsa in a whole wheat tortilla
  • Whole grain cereal with milk and fruit
  • Baked chicken and a whole grain waffle
  • Smoothie with whey protein powder, oats, cocoa powder, banana, milk, nut butter, and ice

Now, set a SMART (sustainable, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) goal like “I will pick at least one breakfast combo from this page, shop for the ingredients, and wake up early enough to give myself the time to eat it three times this week.” In no time, a heart-healthy breakfast will be part of your morning routine, and you’ll be achieving all you need to get done each day, while staying heart-healthy to boot. 

Sarah Dimitratos, Registered Dietritian, American Society For Nutrition, [email protected]

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