Meals and snacks

Nutrition I  Breakfast and Pacing

The importance of eating breakfast for maintenance comes from the NWCR survey reported in Maintenance and Long-Term Weight Loss.  It is a common rule of thumb in other diet and lifestyle change programs.  The Sparkpeople survey of 100+ pound losers found that this group ate a breakfast of at least 400 calories as a key nutrition behavior (along with 8 cups of water and 5 fruits or vegetables a day)(Downie, Chris The Spark pg 213).  When I implemented this breakfast suggestion, I found a decrease in my mid afternoon cravings.

The NWCR members ate several small meals spaced throughout the day (4.87 meals on average) as a strategy to decrease overeating.  Care must be taken to avoid a total increase in calories consumed.  In my experience, six meals a day was too many because I never really stopped thinking about food in between these mini meals.

One of the challenges to getting daily breakfast is time, especially if you work and have children to get to school.  Prepared breakfast items are often very carb-heavy which may not provide sustained energy. Consider supplementing them with milk, an egg, or nuts, keeping appropriate portion sizes in mind.  These protein and fat sources also pair well with fruit, though I always need some kind of complex carb with fruit.

If you are already a breakfast eater, what are some of your favorites, and what are their nutritional advantages?  If you struggle to eat breakfast, look for ideas that you can implement.  Start simple and work up gradually to the ideal of a balanced and substantial breakfast.

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