Breakfast literally means ‘break’ the ‘fast’.
It is known as ‘the most important meal of the day’. The saying “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a Pauper” has been around for years and recent studies have proved this to be true.
Let’s have a look at the reasons why you should never skip breakfast:
- Starting the day hungry. Your blood sugar levels are naturally low when you wake up as your body has being using your reserves for fuel throughout the night. Without breakfast, your blood glucose levels haven’t yet restored and you have no fuel for the day, resulting in low energy.
- Grabbing snacks instead. Without breakfast, the body now has an increased need for energy, making you hungry and more likely to grab a coffee/sugary snack. This is only a quick fix, feeding the body with a fast burn stimulant, therefore, leaving you craving and needing more sugar/caffeine.
- Weight Gain. Skipping breakfast, increases snacking and overeating throughout the day, especially sugary snacks. Staying hungry doesn’t make you lose weight. Eating a healthy breakfast makes it possible. A study of 50,000 people found that those who made breakfast their largest meal of the day had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than people who waited until supper, even after eating a similar amount of calories (Dr Kahleova, Loma Linda University, California).
- Low mood. As you have no energy, your body has to work on empty, causing low mood and irritability which can result in low productivity at work.
- Concentration. Your brain is trying to work hard and concentrate without any fuel, similar to a car running without petrol. This causes a lack of focus and mental clarity.
- Heart Health. Researchers from Columbia University analysed previous studies on breakfast and heart disease and found that people who eat breakfast every day were less likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Those who skipped breakfast had a 27% increased risk of a heart attack and a 15% higher risk of a stroke.
- Diabetes Risk. The same study showed that those who skipped breakfast and snacked throughout the day were at a higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.
What to eat for Breakfast?
The same points above, also apply to those who eat a highly processed carbohydrate breakfast, for example, sweetened cereals, white bread, sugary cereal bars and other processed foods. A healthy protein rich breakfast allows for the blood glucose levels to balance and last much longer, keeping you full and not craving sugary snacks.
Healthy Breakfast options:
Porridge – sprinkle with cinnamon, chai seeds and berries
Scrambled/poached eggs on sourdough/rye bread
Chopped eggs and avocado
Omelette/frittata – add any toppings – mushrooms, spinach, onions, tomatoes and herbs
Homemade nutty granola – click here for a recipe
Sourdough/rye bread with nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew)
Yoghurt sprinkled with nuts
Chai seed pudding – chia seeds soaked overnight with almond/coconut milk
Breakfast options for people on the go:
Overnight oats – oats, almond/coconut milk and berries soaked overnight
Hard boiled eggs – cook for 8 minutes the night before
Breakfast smoothie – a base of spinach/kale with banana, oats, avocado and chia seeds
Natural breakfast bars – click here for a recipe
Nuts and dried fruit pot – your choice of nuts, seeds and dried fruit
Apple/banana with nut butter
By eating a nutrient rich breakfast, ideally within 2 hours of waking, it replenishes your body’s fuel reserve. Kick-starting your metabolism so that you start producing the energy you need for the day ahead, keeping you full and helping to prevent future health problems and weight gain.
For further benefits, engage in physical activity prior to eating to wake up the body and increase the absorption of nutrients.
St-Onge MP et al. (2017) “Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.” American Heart Association, Inc. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/135/9/e96 [Accessed 31/01/2018]