Breakfast may just be the most important meal of the day, but finding time to scrounge up something to eat in the morning can be a real challenge. In fact, you may be tempted to skip the hassle altogether, especially if you're trying to limit your daily calorie intake. However, cutting out breakfast can be counterproductive, in more ways than one.
Claire Anspach, RD, explained that eating a balanced breakfast not only kickstarts your metabolism, but also provides the energy (read: calories) your body needs in order to be focused and productive. So, how many calories should you be eating each morning? It depends on a number of factors, including your age and activity level. This formula can help you determine how many calories you should eat in a day, depending on your goals — which you can then portion out in meals and snacks. As for breakfast, "it's hard to say exactly how much one person should eat, but on average, a well-balanced meal should be around 400 to 500 calories," Anspach told POPSUGAR, adding that breakfast is typically one of the biggest meals of the day.
Aminta Bullard, a registered dietitian and weight-loss coach, echoed that "calories are not one size fits all." Bullard noted that people who exercise in the morning may need to add 300 calories to their pre- or post-workout breakfast to help fuel or replenish the body. The same can be said for professional athletes, as well as those who walk or bike for their commute, or who have jobs that require a lot of walking, standing, or other forms of movement.
Whatever your calorie requirements, Bullard recommends choosing a breakfast that's a triple threat — meaning, it contains protein and fiber, and is made with whole foods, like fruit, oats, or whole-grain bread. "High protein and high fiber keep you energized and satisfied," Bullard told POPSUGAR. That's opposed to foods that are high in refined sugar, like donuts, which she said can leave you "feeling sluggish" and cause you to reach for a snack. So, if you find that you're always craving a second breakfast, you might want to reevaluate what you're eating for the first.