Are you thinking about skipping breakfast on Thanksgiving to save room for the big meal ahead? You may want to rethink that. Skipping breakfast on Thanksgiving morning can have a negative impact on everything from your mood, to your energy, and even your food choices at the main meal. Here’s what you should do instead:
The downside of skipping breakfast
It seems like a great idea: You skip breakfast and “save” all of your calories for the main Thanksgiving meal. But in reality, skipping breakfast can be a recipe for disaster. “Saving your calories for the big holiday meal can lead to overeating later on. Our bodies need to be properly nourished throughout the day so that we are able to make smart food choices and listen to our hunger and fullness cues,” explains Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LD, and owner of Beautiful Eats & Things.
And it’s not just your meal choices that may suffer when you pass on breakfast. “Not only does fasting before the big meal interfere with your mood and energy level, it causes you to be ravenous by the time you sit down to eat. If you become too hungry, it can distract you to the point that you are hyper-focused on the food and not the special family and friends around you,” adds Beth Stark, RDN, LDN, owner of Beth Stark Nutrition.
Is it ever OK to skip breakfast on Thanksgiving?
Although eating breakfast on Thanksgiving can offer many benefits, there are times where it makes sense to pass on the meal. “You might want to consider forgoing breakfast on Thanksgiving if you plan to enjoy the main meal much earlier in the day, such as with a mid-morning brunch,” explains Amanda Liptak, RDN, CA. But even then, a light meal may still be needed based on your individual needs. “The important thing is to eat for your nutritional needs and hunger cues,” adds Liptak.
How to fit breakfast in on Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day can be busy, but you still want to make time to fuel yourself for the day ahead. And thankfully, it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Consider make-ahead breakfast options rich in filling nutrients such as protein, fiber, or healthy fats like overnight oats or hard-boiled eggs. “Using casseroles or slow cookers to make dishes such as an egg bake for an easy breakfast are simple with minimal cleanup too,” shares Liptak.
The best breakfast ideas on Thanksgiving morning
Before you grab just anything to eat for breakfast on Thanksgiving, remember that not every breakfast dish is created equal. “I advise against filling up on sweets for breakfast, such as cinnamon buns and pastries, which may lead to a mid-morning crash and more intense feelings of hunger due to spikes in blood sugar,” explains Stark. Instead, choosing a balanced breakfast that combines slow digested carbohydrates with lean protein and healthy fat is the best way to help regulate both hunger and energy.
“A simple breakfast containing a slice of whole grain toast, a hard-boiled egg, and a handful of berries will provide you with the nutrition you need to help you feel more satisfied and head into the Thanksgiving meal with more clarity and control,” states Christa Brown, MS, RDN.
Remember, choosing a breakfast on Thanksgiving Day doesn’t have to be complicated. “I recommend sticking with the same nutritious and balanced breakfast you would normally eat,” states Stark. “Breakfasts such as whole-grain toast with mashed avocado and a hard-boiled egg, overnight oats with fruit and nuts, or a whole-grain waffle with nut butter and berries all deliver a balance of protein, fiber, and good fat to keep you energized and satisfied for the day ahead.”
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