What’s Really The Most Important Meal of the Day?

Hint: it’s all about balance.

By: Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. From kickstarting your metabolism to fueling your body with key nutrients, the first meal of the day is certainly one that offers some serious health benefits. 

But is breakfast really the most important meal of the day, or is it more essential to focus on other aspects of your diet? Read on to find out more.

Is One Meal More Important Than Another?

Eating breakfast is linked to a slew of health benefits, from helping prevent nutrient gaps to supporting a healthy weight. In fact, data shows that habitual breakfast consumption is associated with greater micronutrient intakes, especially folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D.

Plus, breakfast skippers tend to consume significantly more calories, carbohydrates, total and saturated fat, and added sugars during lunch, dinner, and snacks vs. those who consume breakfast.

But just eating any old breakfast isn’t enough to help support your health. Eating a high-quality and nutrient-dense breakfast, however, is linked to many health benefits!

Generally speaking, breakfast is an important meal to include in your diet — but don’t forget about lunch and dinner. Eating breakfast and then starving yourself until the end of the day can result in nutrient gaps, weight gain, and reduced energy levels. Instead, focus on including healthy, balanced, and sustainable meals throughout the day. This is a key step to follow when supporting overall health. 

Why Balanced Meals Throughout The Day is Key 

Eating balanced meals throughout the day plays many important roles in our bodies. So, what should you eat? To support overall health, prioritize nutrient-dense foods that contain lean proteins, healthy fats, and high-quality complex carbs. 

Eating balanced meals throughout the day is linked to outcomes including sustained energy, balanced blood sugar, increased satiety, reduced cravings, and better focus and productivity.

4 Tips To Make The Most of Each Meal 

Eating balanced and nutrient-rich meals is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. And while there are tons of ways to make the most of each meal, here are four tried-and-true tips that can help you get the most out of your dishes. 

#1 Keep Your Meals Protein-Rich

Protein can give your dish that satiety factor that you need to avoid that mindless snacking later in the day. From topping your toast or oatmeal with an egg to adding some sliced chicken to your salad, giving your meal some satisfying protein can take you far. 

#2 Choose Complex Carbs VS. Simple Carbs

Simple carbs like white bread, candies, and white rice may spike your blood sugar thanks to the lack of fiber and protein in the compositions. But the good news is that not all carbs are created equal! Complex choices like whole-grain bread and quinoa make for a satisfying and nutrient-rich addition to meals.

RELATED: The Healthiest Types of Carbs According to an RD

#3 Add Some Color to Your Plate

Including a variety of fruits and vegetables will fuel your body with important vitamins and minerals that help support energy production. Different colors contain different nutrients, so make it your goal to “eat the rainbow.” By doing so, you’ll get a nice burst of fiber in a low-calorie vessel when you eat more produce, too!

#4 Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Naturally

Skip the sugary desserts and opt for fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sugary treats can cause a blood sugar spike with a subsequent crash later on. Fruit, on the other hand, contains no added sugar and many varieties are a source of fiber. 

Need some ideas? Dates stuffed with almond butter or dried mangos with a sprinkle of chili pepper are fun and delicious fruit-filled choices that are easy to make.

The Importance of Balanced Meals Throughout The Day

Sure, eating breakfast is incredibly important to your overall health. But obsessing over eating the “perfect” breakfast and then eating empty calories for lunch and dinner won’t do your body any favors in the long run. Instead, focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day. This will fuel your body with the nutrients it needs throughout the day. 

Plus, your body will be supplied with key vitamins and minerals to help support energy levels, immune health, and a slew of other positive factors. Get creative in the kitchen and make it fun!

Want access to delicious recipes with foods you’ll love to eat? Sign up for FitOn PRO and see just how fun healthy eating can be!