Nutrition 101: Breaking the Fast

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I have been a breakfast eater my whole life. I suppose partly because as a child, my wonderful mother got up and made me a warm breakfast to eat each morning before leaving for school. In college the Café Ole’, as we fondly referred to the cafeteria, did the cooking, and by the time I was on my own, the habit was ingrained.
Of course, I tried making a hot meal for my children before sending them off to school. They squawked and much preferred cold cereal or toaster waffles.
In any case, I have always found it funny that people say things like, " I can't eat breakfast" or "it makes me sick to eat breakfast." Why?

I'm ready for the fuel in the morning, especially now that I exercise first thing many days. I guess if you haven't gotten your body and metabolism accustomed to eating first thing in the day, your body isn't telling you it needs fuel. For me, it is what gets me going. A slice of whole wheat toast or some oatmeal, a couple of hard boiled egg whites and a glass of OJ, and I am good to go.

It seems that many fit and healthy celebs have learned the power of breakfast, too. It has been reported that Fergie starts her day with a protein packed egg-white veggie omelet. Today show weather man Al Roker has been said to include a spoonful of peanut butter, yogurt and rolled oats as part of his early morning breakfast. And long time fitness guru Jack Lalanne reportedly starts his day with a protein drink made with soy powder and soy milk, whole grain cereal mixed with fresh pineapple and apple juice made with his famous Power Juicer.

As the old saying goes, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. Why you ask? Well, because as the celebs have found, it is an important part of a healthy eating plan that can help you achieve and maintain your body's best weight. Breakfast is just what it sounds like: "breaking the fast" since your last meal. During the night, your metabolism has shifted into a lower gear to conserve the energy it has on board and that it needs to run the body (beating of the heart, circulation, nerve impulses, respiration, etc). By supplying energy and nutrients shortly after you arise in the morning, you are telling your body to wake up from conservation mode and to go back to normal. When people wait hours to do this by not eating, their bodies slow down utilization of energy even more, because they are now walking around and asking their bodies to do more on less fuel.

So, help your body run efficiently so it can achieve and maintain a healthy weight and make breakfast a healthy start to your day.

If breakfast already IS a healthy start to your day, share your favorite healthy morning meal to inspire others.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


If I don't eat breakfast I can't function during the day. IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL AND SHOULD NEVER BE SKIPPED!!!! Report
I have never been a breakfast eater. The only time I ever eat breakfast is when I am on vacation. Report
I have never skipped a breakfast in my life. At home the whole family ate breakfast together - it was always oatmeal with mom's blueberry fool because it became cheaper than cereals. I didn't always like the oatmeal but I never resented the breakfast itself. Actually, at one point I swore I'd never ever eat oatmeal again as soon as I'd be old enough to decide myself! Well, now I've been living alone for four years and oatmeal is still on my breakfast menu, only this time I make it and the fool myself... It keeps me going the whole morning until lunch. Report
I'm definitly a breakfast eater. I usually eat 1c. of kashi or fiber one with 1/2 c. milk and then have a yogurt a couple hours later. Report
I can't start my day without breaksfast. I usually eat an english muffin with peanut butter. Always water and sometimes coffee. I have to eat in the morning or I will be hungry and can't think until lunch when I have food.
I was always a skipper (unless we went out then I went overboard) but insisted that my kids eat. My oldest won't eat cereal, pancakes, waffles, toast, bacon, etc., my middle child prefers cereal or eggs but will eat the same as above and my youngest, well he's the pickiest. His usual breakfast is a piece of whole wheat bread with crunchy peanut butter and a least it's something.

Since starting SP I eat breakfast everyday - I alternate between kashi puffs (no sugar) with fruit & protein and plain oatmeal with the same (fruit, protein and ground flax seed). I believe it's really helped with the weight loss. Report
I missed breakfasts when I was a kid until university days. But, becoming a mother made me learn that this is not healthy. Luckily, my DH is a breakfast guy. My 3 kids are all breakfast kids... Report
Yerba Matte Tea that I buy at the Health Food Store. Report
I'm hit or miss with breakfast, but I usually can't face food until at least an hour or two of wakefulness. When I'm working early, it's a must-have. Report
Doggroomer571:I like to have lowfat vanilla yogurt, with sliced apple and granola. I put a little organic pure honey with this. It really fills you up. Report
My breakfast favorites are Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal and Quaker Oatmeal. Fat free Yoplait Yogurt is also good. Report
after years of ignoring breakfast, I have been trying to make it a more consistent meal. I often have breakfast after I get to work - lately I have liked having some Luna protein bars and maybe almonds or a fruit cup. Keeps me going until lunch and I love that the Luna bars have so many vitamins I am otherwise missing out on! Report
I have to have breakfast, not sure if eating fruit mostly banana's, then I will eat hot oat meal, grits, peanut butter and jam, I just recently starting eating Honey Nut Cheerios about 2 week now, My day just don't go well without morning breakfast. Report
I've always been unable to eat breakfast, as far back as I remember. It makes me to sick to even think about food for an hour or two after waking up. My "breakfast" normally is a large glass of OJ that I slowly drink on for awhile after waking up.
I am one of those people that would get sick from eating breakfast. I don't know why, maybe it was waking up early and feeling groggy. Now that i have started eating breakfast ( I had to force myself.) I feel better. I do not have the sickness problem anymore. Now I love breakfast. Report
I learned my lesson early in life that breakfast was not an option, my blood sugars where so low I actually fainted a few times walked 1/2 a block to the bus stop to get to school... once I started eating breakfast, never happened again.

I actually have started making our breakfast in the evening at the same time I'm making my lunch so that the time spent in the morning is still minimal. 6 egg whites, 2 yokes all cookedup together and then some great lean Canadian Bacon takes maybe 10 minutes, and then nuke it in the morning just to heat up. If I'm running or going to the gym before work it means I'm up by 5 - 5:30 and might only eat 1/2 of it, bring the rest to work with me and then my after workout protein boost is ready and waiting as well. Weekends I love Oatmeal with Blueberries and cinnamon as well, just is a nice comfort food, and I add a scoop of Vanilla protein power in it for the extra punch. Report
I never miss breakfast, and usually have it first thing in the morning, while I 'm checking e-mail and my spark teams. My usual breakfast is a nutrisystem breakfast entree, 1 cup of fruit and a low fat yogurt. I also drink 16 oz of water while I'm at the computer. Once I've had breakfast and hydrated myself I go do my morning exercises. Report
I used to not eat breakfast. But for the last six months or so, it has become an important part of my healthy eating plan. I have some kind of protein and some kind of carb and some fruit.

1 single egg (scrambled, hard boiled, over easy) with Shredded Wheat Cereal, blueberries, splenda and nonfat milk. This will keep me full for several hours.

Oatmeal (the kind that cooks on the stove is so much better then the instant) with walnuts and milk. (And a fruit)

Cream of Wheat (which is a high source of iron btw, I have this when I get my monthly visitor) but I add benefiber fiber suppliment to it. plus an egg and fruit.

When crushed for time:

a piece of toast with peanut butter, or a Kashi chewy granola bar with a glass of milk takes care of me with a piece of fruit.

I also like low fat yogurt with walnuts and fruit. But honestly, I don't find this fills me up much. It is perfect on those mornings when I don't feel like eating much though.
I always eat breakfast, although not right when I first get up. One of my favorite combinations is an apple and light vanilla yogurt. Report
I am not a big fan of breakfast, and I get up so early to go to work that I don't want to spend time making it, either. I turn to pre-packaged breakfast. Favorites: Quaker Oatmeal to Go; Quaker Oatmeal Bites; South Beach Bars and yogurt. I drink a bottle of water in the morning, too. I usually eat one of those mentioned above, then 2 hours later have some fruit or yogurt, then 2 hours after that a protein bar so that 2 hours later I can go work out during lunch hour. My life seems to go in 2 hour intervals these days! :) Report
Breakfast eater here. I go with oatmeal made with nonfat milk, tbls of brown sugar, dash of cinnamon, splash of vanilla extract and a handful of raisins. MMMM, keeps me full for about 3 to 4 hours. Report
I have always eaten breakfast. In our family, my grandmother is the breakfast champion. We like to ask her what she had for breakfast because the answer is usually something like this: "I had some oatmeal, with a little yogurt on it, and some granola. I had one pancake and an egg and, of course, a cup of coffee and some fruit juice. This gave me lots of energy for going to exercise class at the pool." (Grandma is 103!)

Lately for breakfast, I've been having oatmeal with blueberries in it, and soy milk. Report
I have to eat breakfast or else i eat all day! I like to make my own museli from porridge oats, flaked almonds & mixed dried fruit all soaked overnight in soya milk. I also love a great British fry up but that is obviously not part of my diet plan. Maybe how i got to need a diet in the first place? Lol! Report
I eat breakfast every day. 3 days a week breakfast is my post work out meal. A whole grain cereal, skim milk, fruit and protein start the day off right Report
I am motivated to eat breakfast because if I don't, I end up with a dull headache by mid morning, so I never skip. Report
I eat breakfast and enjoy shaking it up with different things every day like hot cereal or cold cereal with soy milk, sometimes I eat an eggbeaters omelet or a granola type bar and fruit, juice or sometimes a smoothie. Its more fun to eat different things as opposed to the same ole thing day after day. If I skipped ( or skip) a meal its usually lunch. Report
One time a really arrogant and insensitive doctor told me, "I never met an fat person who ate breakfast." I told him, "Well, you have now!" I've always been a breakfast eater.

This year, it looked for two whole weeks like I was diabetic, but it turned out to be a false alarm. During that time, I changed some of my eating habits, including breakfast. In order to keep my blood sugar level, I divided my caloric intake into thirds -- one third for each meal. That meant more calories than I was used to at breakfast. But that was great, because I'd also realized I needed some protein and fat at breakfast, so I added an ounce of walnuts (or other nuts) to my previous cereal, milk, and fruit routine. I added ground flaxseed and cinnamon, too. It looked like a sundae! My husband thought it looked so great, he started eating it too. Now he says that cereal with fruit and milk just seems to be missing something. BTW, he's lost 30 lbs. and I've lost 50, so our new breakfast routine sure isn't hurting us any! Report
I start most days with some high fiber cereal & cut up fruit in a half cup of kefir. And of course, a cup of coffee with soy or rice milk and stevia to sweeten. Every couple of weeks I will make a batch of fruit & flax filled muffins to have every other day instead of cereal. Report
I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal and it gets me up and going in the morning. It is the one time my children and I are not headed in different directions and can enjoy each other's company Report
I find that I loose weight better if I start the day off with some kind of breakfast even if it means getting a protien bar or shake just something to fuel the body Report
I have found that when I don't have an appetite for breakfast, a protein shake works very well. Report
No dry or cold cereal for me. I do not like dry cold cereal. Report
A tablespoon of peanut butter in my morning oatmeal (made with skim milk) gives me a protein punch to last until whatever time lunch arrives.

Thanks for another great article. Reading these is like attending a support meeting every single day! Report
Up until about 2 years ago, I was one of those who would tell you that eating first thing in the morning made me sick to my stomach. And now, NOT eating breakfast makes me sick to my stomach!

I'm a cereal or oatmeal girl during the week - it's quick and easy. But on the weekends, I enjoy cooking breakfast for my husband and son - blueberry pancakes (with lower calorie ingredients, of course!), eggs and turkey bacon, french toast, you name it. I even made hubby a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel (just like you find at McDonald's) but MUCH healthier! Report
I can't really function in the morning until I've had breakfast. On weekdays I stumble out of bed and eat my cereal in the near-dark. Its not until I've had breakfast that I can even take a shower! My husband claims sickness if he eats too early in the morning, and I've really never understood it. I too was raised eating breakfast every morning and my body now demands it! Report
I eat a bowl of oatmeal with a banana and brown sugar in the mornings. Yummy and it gives me the energy I need till lunch. Report
I have never been one to go without breakfast. On the rare times I have had to put off eating for a while after waking (say for vacation or visiting someone's house) I always have headaches and feel just terrible.

I usually have a whole wheat english muffin with reduced fat peanut butter or lowfat cream cheese and a piece of fruit with a cup of tea. Report
I love having breakfast. I've also noticed that I feel better when I have breakfast before I exercise. Report
Sometimes during the week the kids and I and hubby end up at the breakfast table all at the same time and we have another family meal. That is exciting to start the day that way. I was never a morning person (could sleep to 12 in college and before kids) but now I wake up at 5 a.m. to be sure that I can give everyone a hot breakfast. Losing 55 lbs helps me become a morning person too.

When most people are getting bored with breakfast and are coming up with amazing and creative meals for breakfast I have to say that the old and usual breakfast is still what gets my engines running.

Poached Egg
Whole Grain Toast
1 Portion Fruit
Sometimes Cucumbers or peppers

Still the IT breakfast for me. Report
I know quite a few people who don't eat breakfast, and I can understand why, as I used to be one of those people. I just wasn't hungry in the morning, and would wait until lunch to eat. I then read the advantages of a meal as soon as you wake, and started slow - a granola bar or the like. Now I'm up to a full breakfast (like eggs, english muffin & fruit), though not as much as some people eat. Report
Special K Protein Cereal
Cereal Toppers (Strawberries/Bananas)..these are freeze dried toppings
Fat Free Milk

This keeps me movin and groovin till lunch. Report
My favorite breakfast lately has been the breakfast burrito in the new Hungry Girl cookbook. It's fabulous! Report
If I don't have breakfast I end up eating much more food later in the day. Report
I can't leave the house without breakfast. I like Fiber one cereal, some Bear naked granola, and soy milk. Coffee too!! It is a must. Report
I make it a habit to eat breakfast every morning. It varies from old fashion oats cooked with 2 egg whites, some berries such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries with 1 cup of organic fat-free milk.
Egg beaters with 2 slices of canadian bacon, veggies with either 1 slice of whole wheat toast
or whole wheat english muffin.
A protein drink such as EAS, premium protein, (I buy 5lbs bag for about $36 at Costco)which is very high in protein, low in carbs along with
a cup of fresh berries, mixed in the blender with some ice cubes.
1/2 cup of 2% cottage cheese with some fruit.
I find that when I eat a good hearty breakfast, my energy level stays with me all day and my hunger level nevers get to the level where I am starving. Report
I never skip breakfast. I often wonder how some people can go without food for that long. Once I wake up I am always hungry. If I do a workout early I will just have whey protein and a bit of fruit an hour before doing my exercise. I am definitely a breakfast lover. Report
Agree that it's important to have a variety too - some days yoghurt with berries, other days cereal with milk. I've been adding either protein powder or other grains to everything in the morning and it helps me feel full. Report
Since starting with Sparkpeople I never ate a regular breakfast but now would not be without having one. Have found out that Dairy and Wheat products upset my whole system so have switched to Soy Milk and Yoghurts and Goats Cheese,so for me it is either Corn Flakes or Rice Crispies,miss my Muesli though Report
I never used to be a breakfast eater when I was younger, it didn't settle well. As I got older and in college though I had gained some weight and to lose weight I was focusing on eating scheduled meals and was able to incorporate breakfast. Now I am hungry right when I wake up and can't go without it!

Jazzercisegenie - there are other options for breakfast as well, I don't necessarily think you are limited to those you listed. Fruit, yogurt, or even a PB&J sandwhich could work as well.

Great thing about breakfast is you aren't limited to "breakfast foods". I don't have time to make eggs and bacon during the week, so I will opt for either a quick soy milk smoothie with fruit, a granola bar and fruit or even a bagel with some low fat cream cheese. I have even had tuna salad for breakfast or some sort of canned fish. Ceral tends to be expensive and the cheaper brands do tend to have more sodium, have to agree with that. Keep breakfast fun and make sure to toss it up once in a while. Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.