To skip breakfast or not to skip breakfast? It turns out there are many ways to do things right and every body is different, but we wanted to do a deep dive on the constant AM debate. We asked leading functional medicine pro Dr. Mark Hyman for insights on the matter.
Some pros insist on the benefits of skipping in the name of intermittent fasting, others argue that starting the day with a balanced meal is key to maintaining stable energy throughout the morning. Here’s Dr. Hyman’s take on breakfast, intermittent fasting and what we eat when…
Does skipping breakfast and eating a large meal just before sleep sound familiar? It should. It’s the American way. We consume most of our daily calories shortly before bed. We rarely eat breakfast in an effort to streamline our mornings. We hardly make time to eat during the day. By the time we get home we are literally starving, so we often consume more than we need, then go to bed or sit in front of the television or computer while munching on more snacks. Then we do the one thing that guarantees to make us gain weight: We go to sleep.
Equally bad are those who make breakfast dessert. If you eat empty calories from refined foods and sugars, you will tend to eat more overall. You would never eat ice cream for breakfast, but many cereals, muffins and other grab-and-go options that pass as breakfast — even “healthy” choices — contain as much if not more sugar. You’re essentially eating dessert.
What’s The Right Way To Do Breakfast?
Eat breakfast, but do it correctly. Bypass the cereal aisle and whatever vitamin-fortified concoctions that carry a healthy halo and try to pass off as a smart breakfast. Instead, use a combination of healthy fats + protein + slow carbs for breakfast.
Breakfast doesn’t have to happen at a specific time. Some of my patients do well having a bulletproof coffee in the morning and eating their first meal around 11am. Sometimes I practice this form of time-restricted eating, otherwise known as intermittent fasting. Other days I have a big breakfast with eggs and veggies first thing in the morning. A lot of folks are not hungry in the morning, and they wait until late morning to have their first meal, which is totally okay.
The biggest mistake I see people making is eating pastries or sugary foods (dessert for breakfast) first thing in the morning or I see folks get too busy to feed themselves in the morning and throughout the day which leads to blood sugar imbalances. Breakfast means breaking your fast, and it is absolutely the most important meal of the day.
TCM Editor’s Picks:
5 Quick But Balanced Breakfasts To Try
Smoothies + Superfood Lattes | All you need is a blender and about 30 seconds to make a totally nourishing liquid meal loaded with protein, healthy fats, fiber and adaptogens. Learn how to make a smoothie that won’t spike your blood sugar here. If you’re more of a morning latte lady, simply whirl some key powders and healthy fats into your AM brew (here’s how we do it).
Bone Broth | In many countries having broth for breakfast is the norm – and a highly nourishing one at that. Serve it up in good ceramics and it’s essentially the same as having a superfood latte. Learn about the benefits here.
Baked Eggs | Baked egg dishes like this frittata or this veggie bake are easy to prepare in advance — and in bulk, which is especially useful if you want to prep breakfast for a few days in a row or if you’re feeding more than just yourself. They require little time and few ingredients and can give you an extra dose of veggies first thing in the morning.
Overnight Oats | It can be hard to get moving in the morning, which is why overnight oats are such a great breakfast solution. Spend a literal five minutes prepping the night before and leave in the fridge overnight (duh). By the AM they’ll be ready to go — try this balanced recipe or make up your own based on the same ingredient proportions.
Breakfast Bowl | If you need something a little more substantial than a superfood latte for breakfast, this veggie-packed breakfast bowl literally takes five minutes to make from start to finish. All of the ingredients can be prepped in advance and pulled together in a flash for a breakfast that’s easily portable and majorly nourishing. Add an egg for extra protein.