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Breakfast is always a hot topic. If you google “is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?” you will find tons of opinions.
Now when it comes to gut health, should you eat it or should you skip it? The answer is… yes, you should eat breakfast for good gut health.
Breakfast is very important for gut health for two big reasons.
Skipping breakfast is more likely to bring out cravings. This one might seem a little out of place but cravings can impact our gut. The things we crave are most likely not the best things for our gut. I’m not here to vilify cravings because I do enjoy a good doughnut (one of my fave cravings). But, it’s when those cravings become persistent and seem like they’re happening every day that it becomes an issue.
Skipping breakfast leads to grazing and stacking calories at the end of the day. I see it all the time. Breakfast skippers will find themselves nibbling throughout the day without really much thought. They will also find that they push the majority of what they eat at dinner time because it’s at the end of the day when they aren’t working and running around that they realize how hungry they are and eat a lot more than they normally would.
Other reasons you want to eat breakfast
Everyone talks about that afternoon slump but no one talks about that mid-morning slump at 10 am. It’s that in-between time where it’s just a little too early for lunch and probably the most popular time for appointments or meetings meaning you need energy. Breakfast is going to give you that boost of energy to push you over through to lunch.
Helps with bloating.
I wrote a whole blog post about why breakfast can help with bloating. You can check that out here plus some breakfast ideas.
What is a gut friendly breakfast?
There is one thing I like to focus on when it comes to a gut friendly breakfast and that is protein. Protein is the main star of the show but you want it to pair that protein with either a carb or a fat.
Let’s backtrack a bit about why protein should be the superstar of your breakfast.
Breakfast is probably one of the most commonly missed meals; especially in the days of intermittent fasting. If you already don’t like breakfast foods (like me!) or don’t find yourself hungry when you wake up then you might be a breakfast skipper. Breakfast skipping can make your digestive symptoms feel worse that day.
I don’t know about you but when I get hungry the hunger goes through phases and when I’m busy I try to push that hunger away until I can’t anymore and crash. When this happens my stomach becomes a mess. My stomach will feel like its burning and gnawing on itself. Then if I really try to ignore it I become nauseous.
If hunger is the fire then protein is a fire extinguisher. Protein is the #1 thing that will take away those hunger pains and help soothe your digestive symptoms that have come from waiting too long to eat.
But what if you don’t wake up hungry?
If you aren’t feeling hungry in the morning, chances are you a chronic breakfast skipper. When we consistently ignore our hunger those hunger pangs start to go away. This doesn’t mean we aren’t physically hungry but rather we just ignored the signs long enough that we don’t feel it anymore. Hunger isn’t a bad thing so if you start eating breakfast and notice that you get hungry in the morning when you never used to, that’s ok.
My 3 Go-To Breakfast Ideas
The eggs and cheese plate on Starbucks is my go-to breakfast when I need to pick up something. This plate wouldn’t work if you can’t eat dairy or wheat but they do have other protein options like nut butters and chips that might work. The sou-vide egg bites are another good option that you can pair with a bag of popcorn for a truly on the go breakfast you can eat in the car.
Anything can be wrapped up in a tortilla. Whether your choice is flour, gluten-free or corn you can pretty much take anything and wrap it up for a quick on the go breakfast. My favorites are leftovers the night before, peanut butter and banana, or scrambled egg.
Yup. You read that right. I am a huge fan of leftover pizza in the morning for breakfast. I like my leftover pizza cold but you can warm it up if you aren’t on the cold pizza train. Ok, I’ll be honest, pizza probably isn’t the biggest protein food but it’s so tasty and it does keep me full on a busy morning. Plus, if you order veggie pizza you can even start your day with some veggies and that’s a win if you ask me.
Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.