What are the Benefits of Eating Breakfast? Plus 3 Weeks of Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Published on October 02, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

Breakfast used to be a given in most households and was even touted as “the most important meal of the day.”

However, new diet trends and fasting have breakfast on the chopping block for many health-conscious people.

So, should you give up on breakfast…or is it the most important meal of the day?

Although intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating, and juice cleanses have benefits, many health gains are associated with eating breakfast.

Here, we’ll explore what the evidence says about the benefits of eating breakfast to optimize performance, concentration, nutrition, and more, plus 3 weeks of healthy breakfast ideas.

9 Benefits of Eating Breakfast

Busy schedules, weight-loss goals, and prioritizing sleep over food are all common reasons people skip breakfast.

New research on the potential benefits of intermittent fasting for specific individuals has made breakfast a disposable meal for many.

Yet, most people would rather eat after a long night of fasting in their sleep (hence the term “break-fast”) than skip eating in the morning.

So, what are the benefits of eating breakfast (besides feeling full)? 

The research on the benefits of eating breakfast isn’t conclusive, and some studies show a clear advantage while others do not. 

This could result from various factors, including individual health variables, habits, and the nutritional aspect of what people eat for breakfast (coffee and donut vs. kale, eggs, and fresh fruit, for example).

Regardless, research has shown several physical, mental, and emotional benefits to eating breakfast. Let’s explore those now.

1. Eating Breakfast May Help Memory and Other Cognitive Processes

Some people wake up alert, energetic, and ready to conquer the day, with or without breakfast.

Others have to drag themselves out of bed, drink a cup of something caffeinated, and eat a decent meal to get their brains going.

Although the reasons behind a person’s level of cognitive performance before eating breakfast can vary (blood sugar may play a role, for example), research has shown eating breakfast can provide cognitive benefits.

Although the research is mixed, studies suggest eating breakfast can help improve memory and mood in adults.REF#2975 REF#2976 REF#2977

This is especially true for children, as eating breakfast has been associated with greater cognitive performance, attention, memory, and engagement in school.REF#2978 REF#2979 REF#2980

For best cognitive benefits, experts recommend eating a nutritious, balanced breakfast with protein, fiber-rich carbs, and healthy fats.

2. Eating Breakfast May Boost Nutrient Consumption

Numerous studies have analyzed how nutrients consumed at breakfast contribute to overall daily nutrient intake. 

The vast majority of such studies show a clear nutritional benefit of consuming breakfast to meet daily nutrient requirements.REF#2981

Plus, additional research has shown people who skip breakfast tend to miss out on key nutrients, including:REF#2982

  • Calcium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D

Choosing nutritious foods is essential to gaining these nutritional benefits from eating breakfast.

Therefore, experts recommend eating a balance of proteins, carbohydrates (ideally from fruits, vegetables, or whole grains), healthy fats, and avoiding too many processed foods, excess sugar, or pro-inflammatory fats.

3. Eating Breakfast Could Have Social-Emotional Benefits

We’ve all heard the studies about how families who sit down at the table to eat dinner are happier and more successful.

Sitting down to eat breakfast with your family, partner, friends, or roommates creates the same excuse for social connection.

It also gives us a moment to relax and nourish our bodies before the day's demands start flooding in.

Even if you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, preparing a meal for yourself is a powerful form of self-care, self-love, and nourishment.

4. Eating Breakfast May Support a Healthy Weight (But it’s Not a Guarantee)

You’ve likely heard skipping breakfast is counter-productive to losing weight.

Yet, countless health gurus and social media influencers swear by the weight-loss power of intermittent fasting…so which is it?

There is research to support both approaches, meaning it probably depends on the individual.

On the pro-breakfast front, several studies have shown people who eat breakfast tend to maintain a healthier weight than those who don’t.REF#2983

The theory is by filling up our bodies first thing in the morning, we prevent blood sugar crashes, support metabolic function, and prevent over-eating later on.

However, other studies have shown the addition of breakfast may not be a good weight-loss method.REF#2984

The debate is just as split in the nutrition and integrative medicine field, with some experts recommending a protein-rich breakfast to support adrenal, hormonal, and metabolic function (all of which can affect weight) and others saying intermittent fasting is the way to go.

At present, most of the studies suggest eating breakfast is a healthy way to maintain a healthy weight. However, more research is needed.

In the meantime, experiment or check with your doctor or healthcare practitioner about whether eating or skipping breakfast may support a healthy weight.

5. Eating Breakfast Normalizes Eating (Which Sets a Good Example for Children)

Imagine if you told your children they could only drink coffee or tea and could not eat anything else until lunchtime.

Of course, no parent would ever choose to do this.

Yet, skipping breakfast sends our children a message that eating is not important or healthy for mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, etc.

It could also convey that mom, dad, or caregivers are too busy to nourish or care for themselves.

If you have a medical reason for skipping breakfast, like your doctor has prescribed intermittent fasting or you need to wait to eat until you take your medication, that’s different, and you can explain that to your children.

However, research has shown children learn from what we do versus what we say. And children, especially young children, want to emulate their parents.

Research (and commonsense) has also shown children do need to eat breakfast for various physical, cognitive, and emotional reasons.REF#2985

Therefore, it may be beneficial for them to see you eat breakfast so they see the necessity and value for themselves.

6. Eating Breakfast May Help You Remember to Take Supplements or Medications

If your supplements or medication must be taken with food, breakfast and dinner are usually ideal times to do this.

This is called habit-stacking, combining a task or to-do with a habit you already implement.

In this case, eating breakfast is associated with taking whatever supplements or medications are supporting your health.

7. Eating Breakfast May Support Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Function

Several studies indicate cardiovascular benefits of eating breakfast, such as normal blood pressure, normal insulin, and a reduced risk of heart disease.REF#2986 REF#2987

This is why The American Heart Association issued this scientific opinion in 2017 on “Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.”REF#2987

“On the basis of the combined epidemiological and clinical intervention data, daily breakfast consumption among US adults may decrease the risk of adverse effects related to glucose and insulin metabolism. In addition, comprehensive dietary counseling that supports daily breakfast consumption may be helpful in promoting healthy dietary habits throughout the day”.

Bottom line: eating breakfast (preferably a heart-healthy breakfast) appears to be beneficial for reducing your risk of heart disease.

8. Eating Breakfast May Help Your Sleep Cycle

It may be strange to think about your morning meal in terms of how it may affect your sleep that night.

However, research has shown that skipping breakfast may have a negative impact on circadian rhythm, also known as our sleep cycle.REF#2988

This may be related to how eating breakfast impacts blood sugar, but more research is needed.

Bottom line: if you have trouble sleeping, eating breakfast may help.

9. Eating Breakfast May Help Reduce Caffeine Consumption

Many intermittent fasters or people who skip breakfast make up for it by consuming many caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or tea.

The caffeine gives you energy while acting as an appetite suppressant.

However, excess caffeine consumption (more than 4 cups of coffee a day for most people, although some people cannot tolerate that much) has been linked to various ill health effects, including an increased risk of heart disease, sleep problems, anxiety, headaches, and more.REF#2989

This may be a moot point if you can skip breakfast without relying on excess caffeine and maintain energy. 

However, if you’d like to cut back on caffeine, try eating breakfast for a natural energy boost and feeling of satiety.

3 Weeks of Quick & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

It can be tempting to skip breakfast if you don’t know what to eat or haven’t planned ahead.

However, with just a few minutes of planning and prep, you can have a healthy, homemade breakfast every day of the week.

Here are 21 (3 week’s worth) quick and healthy breakfast ideas to try, all of which incorporate protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbs that satisfy:

  1. Protein smoothies with fruits & veggies
    • The fruit: A banana or mango for sweetness plus a cup of berries. If you’re looking for low-glycemic options, skip the mango or banana in favor of more berries and veggies
    • The veggies: Spinach, kale, green or red cabbage, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, and frozen cauliflower all make neutral-tasting additions
    • The protein: Choose the best option for your body (plant, whey, collagen, whole nuts or seeds, nut butter, canned beans, etc.). Just make sure the protein supplement is tested for contaminants, as many brands (including organic products) have tested positive for concerning levels of heavy metals REF#2990
    • The liquid: Water, coconut water, milk, plant milk, or 100% juice—either alone or mixed with water. Half to 1 cup per serving will do
    • Other healthy additions: hemp seeds, chia seeds, greens powders, barley grass, spirulina, sea vegetables
    1. Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
    2. Eggs with whole grain or gluten-free toast and leftover veggies
    3. Frittata or egg scramble with left-over veggies and greens
    4. Steel-cut oatmeal: with fresh fruit, yogurt, honey, and walnuts or hemp seeds: To reduce cooking time, cook in an InstantPot, soak overnight, or use your slow-cooker recipe
    5. Chia pudding with fruit: Add protein powder or use a recipe with Greek yogurt if you feel you need extra protein.
      • Make a batch the night before, and it will be waiting for you in the morning
      1. Greek yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) with fresh fruit and chia or hemp seeds
      2. Smoked salmon, turkey, or ham on half a whole-grain bagel with hummus or a sensible portion of regular or dairy-free cream cheese, sliced tomato, and onion
      3. Avocado toast on whole grain or gluten-free bread with a fried egg, hummus, or organic meat- or plant-based sausage patty
      4. No-Bake Chewy Maca Granola Bars Recipe with Maca Powder: These come together fast with the added benefits of Maca for energy, stress support, and nutrients*
      5. Overnight Oats with TurmericBoost Uplift
      6. Homemade, high-protein muffins with veggies: You can find quick blender recipes that incorporate protein powder or canned beans. Make a batch to freeze, thaw one overnight, and you’re ready to go
      7. 2-3 slices of turkey or tempeh bacon with whole grain or gluten-free English muffin, tomato, and avocado. This makes a great fuss-free breakfast sandwich
      8. Loaded InstantPot baked potato with leftover veggies, bacon and/or sausage
        • Pop the potato in the InstantPot while you get your coffee or juice and take a shower. It will be ready in 10-15 minutes
        • Load up with leftover veggies (or a quick saute of spinach, onions, mushrooms, etc.), your favorite breakfast protein, and garnish with salsa or cheese.
        1. Nut butter wrap with jam and/or banana and honey
          • Grab a wrap and spread on your favorite nut butter, jam and/or honey, and sliced banana
          1. Savory smashed chickpea breakfast wrap
            • Smash some canned chickpeas with a bit of your favorite seasonings—dressing, mayo, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, salsa, eggplant dip, canned artichokes, and guacamole are all tasty additions
            • Grab a wrap and spread out the smashed chickpeas
            • Add some fresh lettuce or spinach, tomato, cheese, etc. 
            • Wrap and eat
            1. Low-sugar or grain-free granola with yogurt, milk, or plant milk and berries
            2. Egg salad sandwich with tomato, or hard boiled eggs with toast and tomato
            3. Acai Bowl with Maca Powder
            4. A low-sugar protein bar with a banana or applesauce 
            5. Egg cups: There are many recipes available for egg cups, which are just eggs mixed up with your favorite additions, baked in muffin cups. Store in the fridge or freeze and heat up the morning of

            Whether you’re a sweet or savory morning person, you’ll find several things in this list to make eating breakfast easy and tasty.

            And if you’re still resolved to skip breakfast for whatever reason, these nourishing recipes and ideas can double as breakfast-for-dinner or lunch recipes.

            Regardless, make a point to enjoy the benefits of breakfast for your physical, mental, and emotional health.


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