I'm sure the phrase "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is engrained in everyone's heads. But despite that fact, a significant number of people still don't eat a healthy breakfast every day. In fact, around 15% of Americans skip breakfast.  I, probably more than anyone else, am guilty of supplementing a protein bar for breakfast, or sometimes completely skipping the meal. However, I'm still going to tell you to stop doing that because truthfully, eating a protein bar is not the same thing as eating breakfast.

I've been in your shoes and understand the thought process behind skipping breakfast. From just wanting 30 more minutes of sleep, wanting to spend an hour showering, or even needing to cram for that Orgo final you have at 8 am. The biggest constraint people have is time. That doesn't mean you should go grab the quickest option just to get the whole breakfast thing out of your way. A protein bar may seem enticing for its ease, convenience, and "healthiness," but it's not going to be as good for you as a complete balanced breakfast.

What's a balanced breakfast?

Vy-Anh Nguyen

A balanced breakfast contains lean protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and a little bit of fat. A healthy breakfast should have whole grains such as oatmeal or wheat bread for the complex carbohydrates, a lean protein like legumes/nuts or Canadian bacon, dairy such as yogurt or low-fat cheese, and finally some fruits or vegetables. That all may seem like way too overwhelming to pull together before class before starting your day, but a bowl of granola with milk and some fruit on top checks off all of those categories. You can also make some healthy smoothies that fit the criteria of a balanced breakfast.

Why is a balanced breakfast important? 

Judy Holtz

Maybe you never believed the hype about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, and yes that is a bit of a misnomer. You can switch around your diet in some healthy ways in order to have a light breakfast. You can, for example, have a heavier dinner or eat a bunch of small meals throughout the day.

Even if it isn't the most important meal of the day, it is important to how your day goes. Eating a healthy breakfast helps improve concentration, weight control, strength, and endurance. It also increases the likelihood of having a diet meeting daily vitamin and mineral requirements.  

The Bottom Line

Vy-Anh Nguyen

Protein bars are nothing more than a snack. Don't get me wrong, they're much better snacks than doughnuts, candy bars, or a bag of chips. I would also much rather you had a protein bar over just a cup of coffee for breakfast if you're running out the door. However, at least attempting to eat a healthy and balanced breakfast every morning is the best way to start your day off positively.