Eating the right foods in the morning plays a bigger role in how healthy or unhealthy you eat for the rest of the day. Breakfast sets a whole chain of events in motion, from maintaining even energy levels (thanks to blood sugar levels) to keeping cravings in check through lunch and dinner.
As a metabolic typing advisor, I work with my clients to optimize their metabolism largely through the foods they should eat and should avoid. In a nutshell, people tend to fall into one of three groups: carb types, protein types and mixed types. The foods people should eat within these groups vary greatly. How you feel after you eat breakfast is very telling of how you should be eating.
In my humble opinion, the two greatest problems I find with my clients when we start working together is that they skip breakfast altogether, or eat a breakfast that is almost entirely carbohydrate (read: sugar). Balancing an appropriate amount of carbs, protein and fat will ensure even energy levels, control cravings and promote weight loss - if that's a goal for you!
How do you feel two hours after breakfast?
e) I never really noticed, but I'm not hungry until lunch
If you answered A through C, it's possible that you're eating too many carbohydrates for breakfast. You're probably throwing off your insulin (blood glucose) levels which in turn makes you feel hungry, tired or shaky - among other things. Here are a couple examples of what to avoid.
Too Many Carbs
Avoid this: Fat free cereal + skim milk or orange juice + toast w/ jam or plain bagel w/ fat free cream cheese + coffee
Problem: No fat
Solution: Add a little fat, such as a few almonds, a slice of cheese, or if that's too much, change your skim milk to low fat.
Too Much Food
Avoid this: One big bowl of cereal, followed by another big bowl of cereal because you still feel hungry
Problem: No fat, but you may also be eating too much food.
Solution: Try to eat slowly and stay away from the kitchen after you've finished your meal. Give your body a chance to know it's full.
Making a Mess of Breakfast
Avoid this: A coffee shop blueberry muffin + coffee or restaurant pancakes with loads of syrup + orange juice
Problem: A lot of sugar, way too much bad fat and too little fiber
Solution: If you regularly get a sugary breakfast at a coffee shop, try to break the habit. If that's not going to work, a lot of coffee shops now offer healthier options, including whole wheat English muffins with eggs, or yogurt. If going out for a big sit down breakfast of pancakes or waffles, try to make it a special occasion instead. Alternate breakfasts with eggs and whole grain breads in lieu of super sugary meals.
A word on cereal. Cereal is such an easy go-to in the morning, but a lot of popular cereals contain loads of sugar and not enough fiber. The next time you're at the store or pulling a box of cereal from your cupboard, scrutinize the amount of sugar. This can be found right under "carbohydrates" in the nutrition facts. The lower the number next to "sugars" the better.
A word on water. Try your best to drink eight to 12 ounces. Everyone needs it. It hydrates your body after not drinking anything all night. It also makes you feel a little fuller before eating.
Not everyone has the same metabolic type. Where one person does a lot better with a low fat diet, another person does better with a higher protein diet. Paying attention to your body is really important to knowing how you should eat.