Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? It turns out that consistent mealtimes is more important than just breakfast.
by on Monday, February 13, 2023

The Importance of Eating Patterns for our Physical & Mental Health

Is it what we eat for breakfast that matters? Or when?

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? What makes a meal more important than another? Should we pay close attention to our eating schedules? We have all likely heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But where does this information come from and what is truly the best meal schedule for optimal mental and physical health?

The Value of a Regular Eating Pattern

Breakfast, as it turns out, may not be as important as we think. As more research emerges, the exact timing of when you start your first meal may not be as important as maintaining a consistent eating schedule. Continuously eating around the same times during the day allows your body to adjust your energy levels to your lifestyle. Even if we eat breakfast at the same time everyday, eating inconsistently after breakfast may still have a negative effect on your body. 

Consistency & Pace

Scheduling mealtimes is important to our overall health and wellness. Scheduled eating gives us control over our energy levels, helping us adapt to our busy lifestyles day by day. Committing to at least a couple days of advance planning may really increase overall productivity levels. It may also help to achieve a consistently balanced diet. Our bodies like routine. Impromptu eating can disrupt the healthy flow our bodies prefer and unnaturally change our hunger levels.

What about eating a lot of food to stay full for longer? This trick does not work as well as you may think. Overating is quite unhealthy for us. Eating past the threshold of “full” expands the stomach,  creating that uncomfortable “ate-too-much” feeling after. This leads to feeling tired and sluggish, which is the opposite of how we should feel after eating a meal. Although the feeling is temporary, this is counterintuitive to the main goal of food and nutrition. Meals should be energizing and nourishing, as we refuel our bodies for the various tasks we must accomplish throughout our days. 

The Way We Eat

On average, it takes someone around 20 minutes to recognize that they are full. Slowing down our pace as we eat will help our bodies process the food and more accurately recognize when we are full. If we truly want to get the most out of each meal we eat, not only should we focus on what we put into our bodies, we need to change the way we eat. 

Assorted fruits: great for breakfast or any time of day.

Eating schedules are beneficial for everyone, but it is important to remember that everyone’s eating schedule will be unique. The most important thing is to listen to your body. When you listen carefully, your body communicates with you. Be aware of when you feel full, which foods improve your mood, and how energetic you feel after certain types of meals. As everyone’s body is different, everyone may require a different amount, type, and speed of eating a meal. Increasing your mental and physical awareness to better understand yourself and your needs is the best way to take care of your body. 

Our Biological Clocks & Our Environment

Our eating schedules should sync up with our circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm or clock is the biological timing system found in virtually every cell of the body that coordinates with the timing of our daily behaviors. Essentially, it is our body’s way of using signals from our external environment to align our internal biology with our surroundings. Remember, our bodies like routine. As you can imagine, food is a vital factor to our circadian rhythm. From our circadian rhythm our bodies become accustomed to using certain types of fuel from the food we eat during specific times of the day. Our job is to create an eating schedule based around our circadian rhythm and daily lifestyle. 

The Importance of Breakfast

So we know a consistent schedule and pace plays a major role in the quality of our meals, but how does timing factor into all of this? Let’s find out if breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. First, let’s define breakfast as just the first meal of the day. We all have so many different lifestyles and sleep schedules in our world that giving breakfast an exact time is not very realistic. So is our first meal of the day the important meal of the day? The answer is… maybe. Depending on when you need the most amount of fuel in the day will determine your most important meal. Your most important meal may change from day to day. As your body is expecting fuel from your meals at certain times of the day, coordinating your external life with your internal biology will build an eating schedule that keeps both your body and mind healthy.

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