Getting more of your calories at breakfast than at dinner may have health benefits.
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The time of day when you eat your main meal may make a difference in the amount of weight you lose. A study published in "Obesity" in 2013 found that people who ate their main meal for breakfast with a smaller lunch and dinner lost more weight than those who ate their main meal at dinner with a smaller breakfast and lunch.
This type of diet, also called the Reverse Diet, often involves limiting processed foods and focusing mainly on whole, minimally processed foods. You don't have to eat breakfast foods in the morning, you just need to make this your largest meal. Dinner is then your smallest meal, which might consist of a bowl of soup or cereal, a smoothie, scrambled eggs or a sandwich. The amount of calories you consume will depend on your size, gender and activity level. The 2013 study published in "Obesity" had participants in the large breakfast group eat 700 calories for breakfast, 500 calories for lunch and 200 calories per dinner. This can help you determine the right proportions of calories for each meal, even if you eat a different amount of calories each day.
Eating breakfast instead of skipping breakfast will help you get the recommended amount of nutrients and keep from overeating later in the day. People who eat breakfast also tend to make healthier choices throughout the day, have more energy, have lower cholesterol and be better able to control their weight. Not eating a large meal at night may help you sleep better, according to HelpGuide.org, since fatty foods take more time to digest, potentially interfering with sleep.
Eating a big breakfast filled with high-calorie and high-fat foods like sausage, ham, bacon and pancakes covered in melted butter and maple syrup isn't going to help you met your nutrient needs or lose weight. You need to stick within the recommended amount of calories and choose nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, lean protein foods, fruits and vegetables for your large breakfast. Make sure you eat only a medium-sized lunch and small dinner to avoid going over your recommended calories for the day.
Tips for Fitting in Breakfast
If you don't typically eat breakfast, start small and work your way up to a bigger breakfast. Preparing breakfast, or at least getting the components ready, the night before can help if time is an issue in the morning. Some types of breakfast foods are well suited to eating on-the-go, such as sandwiches, smoothies or oatmeal in a thermos or a whole-wheat pita filled with eggs, vegetables, salsa and a little cheese. People who aren't typically hungry in the morning sometimes find it helpful to bring healthy breakfast options to work to eat a bit later in the morning, such as leftovers from dinner the night before that can be reheated in the microwave or oatmeal packets, individual servings of yogurt and fresh fruit.