Growing up in a larger family meant that dinners were taken very seriously in my household. Everybody had different schedules since some were working, some were in college, and others were still in high school. Dinner time was not set at five in the evening everyday. Dinner time was when everybody was finished with work or school and came together to enjoy a delicious meal. This is why dinners are so big — it’s like a feast after a long day to celebrate family time.
Even though I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen for hours to prepare a lovely dinner every night, there’s one thing she’d always say that I never forgot. “You should eat breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince. And dinner as if you were a pauper.” And that’s exactly how they ate it in Morocco where she grew up. Breakfast was very filling, lunch was a solid meal eaten midday, and dinner was usually soup. Of course, just like anything else your parents told you when you were younger, you grew up to learn that they were right all along. Mother knows best! But is it really better to have a larger breakfast than a larger dinner? Have we only been hurting ourselves by skipping breakfast in a rush? Let’s dive deeper into the benefits.
Preventing Weight Gain
Studies show that people who ate their biggest meal earlier on in the day rather than later were more likely to have a lower BMI. They also found that those who skipped breakfast struggled more with maintaining a healthy weight. Of course, you have to be eating a balanced and nutritious breakfast that hits your macro and micronutrients. If you struggle with having an appetite in the early morning like me, start by drinking lots of water until your body works up hunger for a meal.
After a long night of sleep, your metabolism has slowed down a lot by the time you wake up. Starting your day off with a filling meal can kick off your metabolism to begin burning calories for energy. The longer you go without fueling your body, the more likely that it might hold on to fat stores. Especially if you work out, having breakfast will help build more muscle, which will only increase your metabolism more.
You think your day is going good. You didn’t have time for breakfast so you grab a banana. Lunch comes around and you have a salad. Now, you’re thinking, “Wow, I’m impressed with myself. I can do this health thing.” But then dinner comes around and you find yourself munching on a million things at once, a lot of which are usually unhealthy things. If you want to break this cycle, eat a breakfast high in protein and healthy fats and you’ll find yourself less ravenous at night. Having something like eggs and avocado, whole grain toast, or oatmeal will set you up well for the day to prevent blood sugar spikes.
So to help us come to a conclusion, we spoke to Jillian Michaels, celebrity trainer and creator of the My Fitness By Jillian Michaels app, and she said the bottom line is, “The macros should be balanced in EVERY meal.” Her recommendation is to eat every three to four hours and to try to create a 12- to 16-hour period between your last meal of the day and your first. If you’re eating a large breakfast, you should slowly start to see yourself having a more nutritious and smaller lunch, dinner, and snack. Don’t believe it? Try for yourself and see how your body feels.