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.

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I ate breakfast in hs and before. (Handful of m&ms and a coke and I was out the door) It was the best I could do in High school. Before that I had cereal. Then I kinda just stopped when I started working and breakfast made me feel sick. I now eat breakfast every day. I boil 18 eggs on sunday morning and have two for breakfast plus a piece of bread in my car. I have to eat on the run. When i was hungry before I would stop at mcdonalds because it was fast easy and I could eat in my car. Planning helps that. So while I still eat in my car it is healthier eating. it does help me stay active for most of the day. I also eat fewer calories through out. When I was doing mcdonalds or no breakfast at all I would be eating like crazy all day. I think the most important thing is to plan it out and make/eat what is most convenient for you. Report
I usually eat a vegetable omlette, fruit, and glass of skim milk. If I don't have the time, I replace the omlette with a 100% whole grain item (bagel, toast, etc.) with avocado. If I don't have the time for the 100% whole grain item, then it's just the glass of skim milk and I'll take a fruit with me and some cheerios and nuts in a bag. I find the key is to get a healthy unsaturated fat (avocado, nuts, etc.) in my breakfast. If I don't get the fat, I get ravenously hungry for lunch. Report
Thanks for the breakfast plans. I am diabtic and need to know several meals for me. Report
6 days a week I make a soy protein shake for breakfast that I love and on Sundays I have a bowl of oatmeal. So boring but it works for me and has for years. Report
My favorite breakfast would have to be banana split oatmeal. At one time, I didn't think that I liked oatmeal until I discovered ways to make it delicious for me. Report
I love breakfast!! My parents stressed the importance of breakfast when I was young, so we always had cereal and milk (healthy cereal and skim, no sugary cereals), oatmeal, yogurt and granola, etc. As I got busier, I started taking Go-Gurts to school and ate in the car. Now that I am older, I love making breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day. I try to limit the carbs and up the protein, seeing as that quells cravings and keeps me going.

My favorites are: plain oatmeal w/cinnamon and yogurt, two egg omelet with spinach and salsa and toast, slice of toast with 2 tbl smart balance PB (has protein, omega-3s, and flaxseed) with cinnamon and a banana to take with me.

If I feeling like something different, sometimes a cold egg salad (mustard and horseradish, no mayo!), egg on toast, a yogurt parfait with a small whole wheat biscuit....oh the possibilities are endless!

I'm already looking forward to tomorrow morning!! Report
I have learned that I have fewer carb-cravings through the morning if my breakfast has lots of protein. A fried egg on toast (whole egg, fried in a little butter), with 1/2 c juice and 2 c water but without any craving-induced snacks in mid-morning, is healthier for me than a lighter breakfast with less protein (cereal or jam on toast) that is followed by either less healthy morning snacks or by a miserable morning of craving but denying. Report
I normally eat a few minutes after i wake up Report
Depends on my morning i like to eat Kashi GoLean crunch cereal with an orange, Kashi Bluberry waffles, or I'll have weight control oatmeal (banana nut bread is my fav) with some wheat toast and coffee :P Report
I am not a breakfast person but since I made a decision to eat healthy I force myself to eat breakfast Report
I have a very hard time even thinking about food until I've been up for a few hours!
This has been the hardest part of my weight loss program. Making sure I eat enough during the day instead of doing all my eating after 3pm! Report
I eat oatmeal with protein powder sprinkled over it. Report
I love to eat oatmeal & pancakes in the fall/winter. I do more cereal & toast & scrambled eggs in the spring/summer. But I will eat all outdoors if I havent' consumed breakfast, been doing so since a child too. Report
I know breakfast is important . I used to have it when I was a kid but not in my teens( I only have aglass of my teens )Now i try to include in my lifestyle it makes me sluggish, tired and sleepy... any ideas??????????. Report
I've always been a breakfast eater. Right now I'm trying to watch my calorie intake, so I usually have a banana and a cup of skim milk. It's enough to tide me over to lunch, but I am quite hungry by then. I think it's the coffee I also drink - seems like I digest faster or something, my food doesn't stick with me. Report
I am bad about it on the weekends, but during the week I am religious, I have two servings of egg beaters (60 cal), 4 peices of Hormel precooked bacon (70 cal) and 1/2 a Lenders Onion Bagel (70 cal). So my whole breakfast is 200 calories, delicious and full of protein. I probably should sub the bagel with a piece of whole grain toast or something. Report
I still can't eat right away in the morning, but I do eat breakfast now every day, where I used to not eat at all until noon or later each day.
My typical breakfast is 6 oz of yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup of cereal. Another favorite of mine is egg salad and sliced tomato on half an english muffin. Report
depending on the day of the week, i usually have cereal and milk. i try to mix total, fiber one and/or kashi to get many of the vitamins i need during the day. if i have time to cook at home, i'll usually boil an egg, have a slice of toast with butter. and on the weekends... ahh.... time to cook so i do it up right. lol. pancakes, bacon, and orange juice. it's a sunday morning ritual from childhood. Report
For breakfast I usually eat 2 whole grain blueberry waffles with sugar free syrup and lite yougurt with a cup of OJ or light grape juice or I have a bowl of raisin bran with 2% milk with lite yogurt and a cup of OJ or light grape juice. Report
Breakfast is important to me. For a quick breakfast, I like cold multi-grain, low-fat, low-sugar cereal with bananas and soy milk (unsweetened). Another quick breakfast would be two slices of multi-grain bread (either toasted or not) with 1 Tbl natural peanut butter on each slice and a half a banana on each slice. On days I have more time, I like to make oatmeal with raisins and walnuts and cinnamon and drink a glass of milk. Luxury days, an egg-beater, omelet with veggies such as onions, peppers, zucchini, broccoli and 2 slices of soy cheese. Yummmmmmmmm! I wouldn't dream of skipping breakfast, or any meal for that matter. Report
I used to think skipping breakfast was a good way to lose weight. Now that I know different, it's funny how I can't start my day without a good healthy brakfast. I really can't believe what adifference it makes! Report
Born and raised a breakfast eater. I still don't understand how people can not have breakfast. It is such a crucial part of my morning. I love oatmeal, or cereal with soymilk, mmm...sometimes a pb and banana sandwich. Report
Wow I've seen some Kashi products on the shelves in the store, but I have never tried them. I have tried things in the past that weren't appealing to my tastebuds. I would deffinately love to try these products. If they taste as good as they sound even my kids will eat them. Report
I don't like a huge breakfast, but I bring to work every day about a third cup of cereal, a yogurt smoothie, and/or a piece of fruit. I eat two things before lunch, and the third as a late afternoon snack. Yum! Report
I am not a big breakfast eater, so retraining myself has been difficult. I am getting better at it though. I really love Kashi cereals...they have helped a bunch. Report
I eat breakfast everyday. I have my breakfast with my two cats. We eat together so we stay on our special diet. Report
Breakfast is difficult on days that I need to be on the road by 6:15am. I find a nice bowl of cereal or instant oatmeal with flax seeds and a tablespoon of flax seed oil an excellent way to start my day! Report
Breakfast is the one meal I can't be without. Hot Oatmeal or Cheerios are a good way to start the day. It keeps me going for quite a while.

Leemil Report
I LOVE breakfast and the few times I haven't I've usually felt tired and sluggish. The high fiber/protein cereals (such as granola or kashi mixes with milk, sprouted bread with natural peanut butter and fruit or yogurt or fresh fruit & oatmeal are my favorites. They have taken the place of white flour pancakes and waffles or loading that brown sugar on my hot cereal Those are not my comfort foods any more .Yeah ! Report
I always used to eat breakfast when I was little, baby until age 12. And then I started junior high and had gym class first thing in the morning. We'd run and strech until I threw up. So I quit eating breakfast. It wasn't until after I started college I started to eat breakfast again. Now its a part of my everyday routine. My breakfast normally consist of oatmeal or Cherrios with yogurt and fruit. Sometimes an egg or toast with natural peanut butter. Report
I used to not be a breakfast eater. After I joined Spark, I started eating breakfast every day. Now, I can't start my day without it. My favorite breakfasts are:
Cream of wheat or old-fashioned oatmeal (it only takes 5 minutes to make, people!), made with vanilla almond milk. Sometimes I will stir in 1/2 a tablespoon of peanut butter and/or some raisins.
I also love a toaster waffle topped with peanut butter and blueberries, or peanut butter and pumpkin butter. Yummy! Report
I am learning that it is very important for me to eat breakfast. Over the years I have developed some bad diet trends, one of which was to skip breakfast. Of course, I would then overeat later in the day. Now I make an effort to take the time to get a healthy start to my day. Report
I have to have my breakfast.. most mornings it is extra thick rolled oats cooked with chia seed, blueberries and a couple of egg whites dropped in the last 2 or 3 minutes of cooking time.. otherwise I have a egg hit omelet filled with veggi's Report
I need to get back into breakfast habit. I feel better when I eat it, but I usually skip it because I'd rather sleep in. Report
I totally agree with this and though I hated bkfst as a kid, my parents practically force fed me - imbibing me with the habit and leaving me healthier for it. today, i can't live without bkfst! Report
I love breakfast, it's my most favorite meal of the day. I mix it up every morning so my body can get different nutrients. I am trying to get fruit, milk, and big carb in. Report
since I joined Sparks I have been changing my bad habits one by one. Never ate breakfast before. I would start my first meal at 12 noon. Now my breackfast is high fiver cold cereal with a cup of skim milk and some kind of fruit. Keeps me very satisfied until lunch. Report
I gotta have breakfast. Without it, I'm cranky and feel snacky the rest of the day. Report
Before I started exercising in the morning, I just couldn't eat breakfast for the first few hours. Then by 10:30 AM i'd be ravenous, and by the time lunchtime came around I would anything. That meant overeating unhealthy restaurant food, anything filling. That really changed now that I exercise as soon as I wake up. I come home hungry, eat a good breakfast, and I'm satisfied until lunchtime. I might snack on some fruit, but by lunch I'm a bit hungry but not out of control. No more binging lunchtime. Report
I used to be a coffee only or maybe toast and peanut butter. Just recently I decided to try the 2 scrambled eggs, Ezekiel 4:9 bread, & Fruit. In the past I would snack after dinner until midnite. No wonder I wasn't in the mood to eat breakfast. Been eating breakfast for past 2 weeks. I can get thru the morning until lunch. Then at 3pm I have a protein snack. Dinner is my last meal for the day. I go to bed 3 hrs after dinner. It's working, I'm not climbing the cabinets in search of that something extra. Gin Report
For some reason breakfast during the work week is not on my agenda but on the weekend - I am starving when I wake, so I'm ready for breakfast.

Since joining Spark, during the week it's generally a cereal bar with coffee and some fruit and I may eat breakfast out with my kids on Saturday. Although, I no longer go all out like before. Report
I eat breakfast every morning! I like cream of wheat or cereal Monday-Friday, and I Saturday and Sunday I cook a big breakfast for my family to eat together. Report
I don't mind eating breakfast, I just wish someone else made it. Same with all the other meals and snacks in the day. I would do them all just great if I wasn't the one in charge of getting them together. Report
Breakfast is my favorite meal, hands down. In fact, morning is my favorite time, much to the distress of my family and colleagues; if you are not a morning person, nothing is worse than someone who is. My meal of choice right now is oatmeal and yogurt (and, of course, coffee), then for a mid-morning snack, apple with a spoonful of pb (there is a great honey flavored peanut butter out right now). I know lots unhealthy people who are non-breakfast eaters, but I don't know any healthy people who don't eat this glorious meal! Report
I am a breakfast person. I eat oatmeal or cold cereal with a banana. In my oatmeal, I add raisins. I can't go without eating breakfast, I am use to it. Report
I'm a major breakfast person. My favorite is oatmeal and I have several different kinds to keep from boring. I use Steele cut, rolled oats, oats/flax all from Trader Joe's. I sometimes will eat a hearty cold cereal like Kashi or just plain Rice Chex with fruit. Hard boiled eggs or eggwhite omlets also get in there. I think I like the peace and calm I have with my meal before I start my day something that only comes after the kiddies are gone, ( I'm a grandma) Report
I always eat breakfast, too. Lately, I am digging this organic brand of old fashioned steel-cut oats. I make a bit to last an extra day or two and that way I can microwave it back up. It might sound funny, but it works, and I get a hot breakfast with less time. Plus, I add frozen blueberries to my oatmeal. I prefer it with agave nectar (a natural sweetener from the blue agave plant) and soy milk. Sometimes I also have whole grain toast with Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread. Report
I am not a good breakfast eater but since I started Sparks, I have gotten so much better. I know you are supposed to eat within an hour of waking and I try but sometimes it's a bit longer. I am working on it. Report
I try not to eat dinner past 7 so by the time I wake up every morning I'm usually starving. I just don't see how people function without starting their day off with at least a small meal in the mornings, but my husband can't eat for a couple hours after he gets up. He says he just feels sick all day if he eats too soon. Report
I never eat large breakfasts, so a So Delicious soy yogurt or a Luna bar is enough for me. Report