Top 5 Common Breakfast Mistakes Print

originally published inListen to my monthly radio program with Angela Kokott, host of Calgary Today for our segment, “You are what you eat” to get the goods on healthy eating.

Listen to Episode 43 here: Top 5 Common Breakfast Mistakes

Health advocates often say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It is also the meal that often gets the least attention.  Here are the top 5 common breakfast mistakes we see in our practice:

1.  Skipping or delaying breakfastoatmeal with apples

Breakfast means “break the fast.” You need food to help your body burn energy efficiently throughout the day.  Breakfast is essential to maximize productivity, energy and a healthy weight.  If you can’t stop munching all evening, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Did I have a balanced breakfast?” If you skip breakfast and try to rely on willpower to control overeating in the evening, you will likely fail.  From a psychological standpoint, if you skip breakfast you may also be justifying overeating in the evening.  This “starve early, binge later” mindset does not help you manage a healthy weight and can create an unhealthy relationship with food.

2.  Running on coffee alone

Make a deal with yourself that you can’t have your morning brew until you have eaten.  This strategy has switched many of my clients from frequent breakfast skippers to avid breakfast eaters. Coffee provides a false sense of energy, adds to nausea, and may mask feelings of hunger.

3.  Missing carbohydrates

Carbohydrates from foods such as grains, starches and fruit are essential for key vitamins, minerals and fibre. Carbohydrates are also important for energy for your muscles and provide the exclusive fuel source for your brain. Without them, you will likely feel tired and unfocused, and experience negative mood changes.

To illustrate this, assess how you feel later in the day on a breakfast with a vegetable omelette versus the same vegetable omelette with toast or oatmeal.  Note the difference between fullness and satisfaction. Protein provides fullness and prolonged satiety while carbohydrates provide satisfaction for your brain.

4.  Not having enough protein

A meal such as oatmeal and fruit or toast and juice is a good start, but without protein-rich food the meal will not sustain you for much longer than an hour or two. Protein-rich foods such as nuts, eggs or meat will provide you with longer satiety and energy.

Note that dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as soy milk, are also good sources of protein. Did you know one cup (250 mL) of milk (as well as most soy milks) supplies nine grams of protein, while an egg has six grams of protein?

5.  Frustration with failure

While some people are able to make a change and commit to it 100 per cent, the majority of people find that as soon as life gets busy or stressful, the new change is difficult to maintain.

Why not set a goal that challenges you to feel positive and succeed?

If you often skip breakfast start with a commitment to having one meal choice you enjoy and nailing breakfast three days this week.  Once you get going, you can work on variety and commit to a daily habit.

Tasty ideas:

1. Yogurt parfait with yogurt, fresh or frozen berries and granola
2. Oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts and milk or soy milk.
3. Reduced-fat bran muffin with cheese or cottage cheese and a pear.
4. Granola bar and a smoothie with fruit, yogurt and unsweetened juice.
5. Whole grain toast with scrambled eggs mixed with ham, red peppers and green onions.
6. High fibre breakfast cereal with milk or soy milk and a grapefruit or apple.
7. Leftover pasta with tomato meat sauce and a glass of unsweetened juice.
8. Whole grain tortilla wrap with nut butter rolled around a banana.
9. Latte or tea latte and a snack bag of dried cereal, dried fruit and nuts.
10. Unsweetened applesauce or orange as well as a toasted open faced cheese bun with sliced tomatoes.

Brekkie score:

Want to determine if you are choosing a balanced breakfast? Score yourself two points for each of the below items (maximum score is 10 points).

  • Ate within one hour of waking
  • Included grains or starchy foods (such as toast, cereal, pasta or rice)
  • Included fruit and/or vegetables (such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, canned fruit, unsweetened juice, vegetables or vegetable juice)
  • Included a source of protein (such as nuts, nut butter, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, soy milk, protein powder, meat, poultry or seafood)
  • The meal size was enough to keep you energized and full for three to five hours

Click here to download a printer-friendly PDF of the Top 5 Common Breakfast Mistakes.

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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