June 5, 2023

By Alison Fenske, MS RDN

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 25% of Americans skip breakfast for various reasons. Often, it’s a combination of a lack of appetite, time, and energy. Although there isn’t clear research indicating that skipping breakfast is “bad” for your health, plenty of research supports the benefits of starting your day with a tasty, well-balanced breakfast.

  • Weight Loss and Maintenance – Eating breakfast can boost your metabolism (how fast your body burns food for fuel) via the thermic effect of food.
    • Each time you have a meal or snack, your body’s metabolism revs up to digest that food. By starting your day with a breakfast meal, you are getting that process going. Studies show that smaller, more frequent meals burn more calories throughout the day than less frequent larger meals.
  • Appetite Control – Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more likely to eat smaller portions and snack less throughout the day.
    • When hunger reaches a certain level, cravings start to run rampant. It becomes difficult to make healthy choices and manage portion sizes. We often find ourselves reaching for quick, prepackaged, convenience foods with higher calories and added sugar and lacking fiber and essential nutrients like iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.
  • Improved Performance – Studies show that people who eat breakfast concentrate better and solve problems faster.
    • When you are hungry, it can be distracting, harder to focus, and energy levels plummet. Rather than reaching for a coffee or energy drink that offers little to no nutritional benefit and most likely leads to a sugar crash, try having a well-balanced breakfast to boost and promote longer-lasting energy.
  • Blood Glucose Control – Eating breakfast can help to maintain good blood glucose (sugar) levels.
    • Studies show that fasting until lunchtime can cause significant spikes in blood sugars throughout the day. Over time, these spikes can lead to insulin resistance and even diabetes. Eating breakfast can help stabilize blood sugars, helping you avoid a case of the “hangries” (irritability and fatigue).

What is a Balanced Breakfast?

  • Balancing your breakfast means choosing options that include a source of higher fiber, carbohydrate, protein, and dietary fat. Balancing meals will make them more satisfying, fill you up with fewer calories, and help keep you full. This helps to decrease overall calorie intake throughout the day.

Balanced Breakfast Ideas

Overnight Oats

½ cup old-fashioned oats

  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp of honey or low-sugar jam
  • ¼ cup fresh fruit
  • ¼ cup nuts or seeds of choice

Avocado Toast

Two slices of whole-grain toast

  • One medium-large mashed avocado
  • Two fried eggs
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese
  • ¼ cup diced tomato
  • 2 tbsp sliced green onion


1 cup frozen berries

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup leafy greens
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Open Face Breakfast Sandwich

One whole-grain English muffin

  • Two fried eggs
  • Two slices of Canadian Bacon
  • 1/2 cup leafy greens
  • 2-4 slices of tomato
  • 1-ounce shredded cheese
  • Garnish with pickled onion