If we live by the phrase “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper,” our breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day. After all, breakfast is “a break from a fast.”
“Our studies suggest that in relatively healthy adults, eating less frequently, no snacking, consuming breakfast and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain,” according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. “Eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart and making the overnight fast last 18-19 hours may be a useful practical strategy.”
This study involved more than 50,000 individuals from Seventh-Day Adventist churches in the United States and Canada. During the course of seven years, they looked at the size, timing and frequency of participants’ meals, as well as any changes in their body mass index (BMI).
Those with the biggest decreases in BMI were those who ate their largest meal early in the day and ate less frequently. Those who ate more than three times a day and had their biggest meal later in the day, after 6 p.m., saw the biggest increase in BMI.
According to Dr. Hana Kahleova, director of clinical research at the nonprofit Physicians Committee, “Our body has an inner clock and regulates the levels of different hormones during the day. So, for example, insulin is secreted most efficiently in the morning. Therefore, our carbohydrate load should be the largest in the morning.”
Skipping dinner altogether also proved to be an efficient weight loss tactic, as people who ate less than three meals a day and had the longest overnight break between meals also saw a significant decrease in their BMI.
“This has to do with the fact that the body’s process of digesting larger quantities of food at once burns more calories than when the calories are spread equally throughout the day,” according to Kahleova. “So, basically, you’re less likely to gain weight consuming 2,000 calories at onces than 2,000 spread across many meals.”
This study examined long-term weight loss. Other diets might work more effectively in the short term, and this study might not apply to people with diabetes, who are encouraged to eat several times throughout the day so there are no spikes in their blood sugar levels.
So eating dinner for breakfast might mean eating carbohydrates with protein, such as breakfast pizza, breakfast pasta, breakfast sushi, breakfast tacos, breakfast chicken and rice or waffles or pancakes.
But should dinner be a bowl of cereal?
Best Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1-2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray, place in oven.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter. Make well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in well ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes before cooking.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out the oil, leaving a thin film of oil on the bottom and sides of the skillet. Griddles should be at 350 degrees. Using 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, portion batter into skillet in 4 places.
Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown and bubbles on the surface are just beginning to break, 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until the second side is golden brown, 2 minutes longer. Serve immediately or place on sheet in the oven.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, sliced, (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Cook until onions are softened and peppers are slightly charred, about 8 minutes. Add:
1 cup drained, rinsed, canned black beans
Cook until warmed through, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a dish.
4 large eggs and 4 egg whites
Stir into the mixed eggs:
1/3 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Reduce heat to low, add eggs, scrambling until cooked through, 3 minutes. Use four, 10-inch whole wheat tortillas (burrito size). Spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon each of:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
Layer with 1/4 of the black bean mixture and 1/4 of the scrambled eggs. Then grab:
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 small avocado, (4 ounces), diced
Place some diced tomatoes and 1/4 of avocado on top. Add hot sauce (optional) and season to taste. Roll up burrito-style and serve.
Here’s an easy and delicious recipe for avocado toast that I had at Brown’s Beach House at The Fairmont Orchid resort:
4 slices sourdough bread slices
One large avocado, pitted, peeled and halved lengthwise, and flesh removed with a spoon
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Fry, according to your preference:
4 large eggs
Micro greens or arugula
Place toast on a plate, then a dollop of avocado, fried egg and top with greens. Serve with hot sauce.
Email Audrey Wilson at email@example.com.