We know what you’re thinking. To save room for all the goodies, skip breakfast and head into Thanksgiving with an empty stomach. However, you might wish to rethink this decision. Dietitians agree that this game plan can significantly affect your physical and mental health. In this holiday feast guide, expert dietitians reveal eight compelling reasons why you should not skip breakfast on Thanksgiving–you don’t want to miss this.
8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Skip Breakfast (Especially On Thanksgiving)
1. You can throw your blood sugar levels out of whack.
Fueling your body with wholesome food in the morning really does set the tone for your entire day. Research shows that people who eat breakfast have stable blood sugar levels that continue for the rest of the day–even after subsequent meals. “[This] results in less cravings, especially for carbs,” says Alyssa Pacheco, RD, a registered dietitian with over a decade of experience. On the other hand, when you skip breakfast, Pacheco notes that you can send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster, which will trigger food cravings–most likely non-nutritious cravings, to be specific.
2. You could create an unhealthy relationship with food.
Skipping breakfast with the intention of overindulging later in the day may foster an unhealthy relationship with food. “You should never make a food or meals forbidden–you are giving it more power over your mind and body than it deserves,” says Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, LDN, FAND, a registered dietitian, nutrition professor at Boston University, author of Nutrition & You, and the host of the nutrition & health podcast, Spot On!
3. You could see more weight gain.
There’s no denying that skipping meals will eventually cause you to overeat later–it’s your body’s natural response. Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD/LDN, a registered dietitian with over 25 years of experience teaching thousands of clients, including many celebrities and royalty, says, “This generally leads to weight gain because once the person starts eating, they can’t stop–the body senses that the restriction is over temporarily so as much food as possible needs to be consumed as they know a famine is on the way.”
4. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable.
Walking into the Thanksgiving meal, starving, is a recipe for overeating. We’ve all done it before–that bloating, cramping, and nauseous feeling is not the best. “You will likely have an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach and not be a happy camper when you are watching all those Thanksgiving day football games,” notes Blake. Thanksgiving really can end with a perfectly satisfied feeling, and it all starts with a wholesome breakfast.
5. You could get feelings of food guilt.
Now, we know that skipping breakfast and overeating will more than likely lead to some sort of discomfort. But many people often feel guilt and shame to go along with it. This can spiral into plans to skip meals the following day, too. “This disparaging cycle often leads to disordered eating habits, which has several negative impacts on physical, emotional, and mental health,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, a family-friendly registered dietitian and owner of Bucket List Tummy.
6. You might raise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Skipping meals in general and binging on one large meal later can seriously impact your health. “It’s linked to higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels and can lead to irregular blood sugar levels, too,” says Pacheco. When your body is hungry, a sudden intake of high-calorie, high-fat foods in large amounts can strain your entire digestive and cardiovascular systems.
7. You could slow your metabolism down.
Breakfast gets its name from being the first meal of the day that “breaks” your “fast” after sleeping. Essentially, eating a meal in the morning after hours of not consuming food signals your metabolism and body to wake up and start the day. Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, a cardiology dietitian and owner at Entirely Nourished specializing in heart disease management and prevention, says, “When an individual avoids breakfast, they potentially slow their metabolic rate, which can impede on weight loss and overall health goals.”
8. You could feel less satisfied.
Passing on breakfast to binge later sounds like a great idea, but in reality, it can backfire. Routhenstein notes that when you eventually eat again, your body will be starving–making it harder to satiate your appetite when you actually sit down to eat. “When you listen to your hunger signals and respond to them with proper nutrition, your body can metabolize and utilize those nutrients more effectively, making it more beneficial for your metabolic health,” continues Routhenstein. This means you get to leave Thanksgiving dinner feeling satisfied instead of uncomfortable.
Mindful Breakfast Ideas for Thanksgiving Morning
When you’re looking at what to make for breakfast this Thanksgiving morning, there are a few things you should keep in mind. “People should aim to eat a balanced breakfast of complex carbohydrates with fiber, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins,” says Schlichter. This tried-and-true combination will satisfy you in the morning, help balance your blood sugars, and give you stable energy levels and clearer thinking to navigate the whirlwind this holiday can bring.
Here are some breakfast ideas from the expert dietitians in this guide to fuel your body for the long day ahead:
- Eggs with a side of mashed avocado toast
- Greek yogurt bowl with berries, cinnamon, and a handful of walnuts
- Overnight oats with fruit
- Chia pudding with berries
- Cottage cheese and fruit with a sprinkling of nuts
- Vegetable-rich omelet with a slice of high-fiber bread and avocado
These healthier options for breakfast will help get you on the right foot for your big day. And don’t forget to drink water and listen to your fullness cues, too. Find that great fullness medium and stop when you feel satisfied.
Skipping breakfast and binge eating later isn’t the only answer. Setting a priority to recharge your body this Thanksgiving morning with a wholesome breakfast, including proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and fiber, is a smart decision that will provide satisfaction throughout the day. You really do get to have your turkey and eat it too.