Though it’s important to start the day with a healthy breakfast, a large a.m. meal won’t necessarily prevent overeating later in the day, according to a new German study, in which participants recorded their meals for about 2 weeks.

Those who ate a “big” breakfast (defined as being about 400 calories more than a “small” breakfast) ended up consuming 400 more calories over the course of the day. This suggests that people eat the same amount at lunch and dinner, regardless of whether they had a large breakfast.

You can read more about the study here.

Obviously, if you have, say, just an apple for breakfast, you’ll probably find that you need a more substantial lunch (or a mid-morning snack) than if you started your morning with eggs, toast and fruit. However, adding a side of pancakes and some sausage probably won’t keep you from reaching for a dinner roll (with butter, of course) later in the day. You’re much better off spreading out your meals and snacks.

dsc03097 - Do You Really Need a Big Breakfast?I don’t know about you, but I feel best with a balanced breakfast that’s filling enough to hold me over until lunch—this usually means oatmeal with some kind of fruit, maybe flax and either cottage cheese or almond butter mixed in. If you want to get all technical, I shoot for a serving of whole grains, a serving of fruit, and a serving of either dairy or protein and/or healthy fat. On the odd occasion I’m really running late, a piece of fruit and a nonfat latte fill the void.

What are some of your favorite breakfasts?

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