Given that breakfast is known as “the most important meal of the day,” it’s incredible how many Canadians skip it. While 60 percent have breakfast every day, according to an Ipsos-Reid survey, 7 percent never do, and 33 percent only sometimes get their brekkie on.  

As a Registered Dietitian providing private video appointments at TELUS Health MyCare™, people often tell me they don’t have time to eat in the morning, skip breakfast to lose weight, or are not hungry in the a.m. 

Is it bad to skip breakfast? 

It depends on the person. It’s important to listen to your body, so if you wake up without an appetite and choose to fill your tank later in the morning or at lunchtime, that’s fine. But if you nix breakfast only to find your energy levels sagging later in the morning or end up overdoing it at lunch or with evening snacks because you are starving, then it’s time to rethink your morning routine. 

Here are some other breakfast questions I often hear, along with the science-backed answers I provide:

How important is breakfast?

For many guys, skipping breakfast is like driving a long distance without filling up the gas tank. Without it, your energy levels and mental and physical abilities will tend to fade much sooner. 

This is supported by research. A study of 6,000 students from the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, for instance, found that students who ate breakfast had better grades and were more likely to graduate, while a British study revealed that eating breakfast improves mental performance, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to deal with stress

There are also longer-term health drawbacks to skipping breakfast. A 16-year study of nearly 27,000 participants found that men who skip it have a 27 percent higher risk of heart disease. Another study found that people who regularly eat in the morning have a significantly lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

How do you build a healthy breakfast?

Man eating eggs

A protein-rich breakfast is the way to go. Why protein for breakfast? For one thing, it provides a longer-lasting energy source than carbohydrate-packed pastries or sugary cereals. If you eat cereal, go for those containing no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

For another, eating plenty of protein prevents overeating later in the day by making you feel fuller longer. Proteins are great for our skin, hair, bones and heart, and last but not least, they build muscle tissue. That’s why the average adult male needs to eat 0.8 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of body weight, which works out to about 73 grams for a 200-pound man. 

Here are some breakfast-friendly foods that are packed with protein:


They’re popular for breakfast for a reason. As well as being simple to prepare, one large egg contains 6 grams of protein.

Greek yogurt

A typical serving of Greek yogurt contains about 15 to 20 grams of protein, double what’s in regular yogurt.

Cottage cheese

Try cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to increase your muscle-building power. Half a cup of cottage cheese has 15 grams of protein.


As well as containing 6 grams of protein per cooked cup, oatmeal is rich in vitamins and minerals.


From peanuts and almonds to cashews and walnuts, there’s no shortage of protein and healthy monounsaturated fats in the nut family.

What are some easy things to grab if you’re in a rush?

Pairing protein-rich foods with fibre-rich fruits and vegetables will give you the energy kick you need to start your day and the longer-lasting energy you need to make it to lunch. For example:

  • An apple and a handful of nuts.
  • A hard-boiled egg with a couple of slices of tomato or sauteed greens, like spinach. It doesn’t get much easier than boiling five eggs on Sunday night and popping them in the fridge for the week. 
  • A bowl of Greek yogurt with fresh berries on top.

What are some quick and easy breakfast ideas?


Gentlemen, start your blenders! Smoothies can supercharge guys’ engines with shots of protein and plenty of essential vitamins and fibre.

Some guys like adding protein powder to smoothies, but it’s likely unnecessary unless you’re in hardcore training mode. Add ingredients like Greek yogurt, milk, nut butter, or hemp seeds that are naturally rich in protein. 

Overnight oats

Instead of cooking oats in the morning, mix half a cup of them with half a cup of Greek yogurt, half a cup of milk, and a teaspoon of your sweetener of choice—maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, whatever works—cover and refrigerate overnight. Your taste buds and your mojo will thank you in the morning!

Breakfast wraps

Prep these handheld hunger-smashers the night before and grab them from the fridge in the morning. Add some scrambled eggs, veggies, or beans, and you will have a tasty and filling breakfast ready as you run out the door.

Is cereal for breakfast a bad idea?

Man eating breakfast

Most breakfast cereals aren’t great. The problem with most cereal is that it’s big on sugar and short on protein and fibre. It won’t give you energy for long; it will fill up almost immediately, and you will likely be hungry again in half an hour. The good news is that breakfast cereals have come a long way, and certain brands, like Kashi, are making some high-protein, high-fibre cereals. 

How you can know your cereal is healthy-ish:

  • At least 6 grams of protein per serving
  • Less than 10 grams of sugar per serving

Be sure to check the serving size on the label because oftentimes, it’s absurdly small, like half a cup. And half a cup of cereal is more suitable for a toddler than a full-grown man. 

Is there a grab-and-go breakfast food that works great for you? Share your tips in the comments below!

In 10 minutes, learn your risk level for the 8 most common health conditions affecting Canadian men. Men’s Health Check is free, anonymous and backed by medical experts.