The importance of Breakfast
Beep beep beep… Snooze… Beep beep beep… Snooze… OMG! It’s 9! I need to get to work! This is a common occurrence that most of us identify with. Now the catch here is, as we are late we would either miss our bath or breakfast, or both! At the risk of driving away our colleagues, in all likeliness we might take the shower but skip the breakfast. What is the big deal anyway, right? Wrong! The importance of breakfast has been discussed time and again, but we always end up doing what is most convenient to us. You must have definitely heard of the age-old saying ‘Eat Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’. Whoever said that knew what they were talking about.
That being said, we do not need to have a very heavy breakfast right after waking up, but having just tea with some biscuits is not a great idea either. You need to have a small yet healthy meal for your breakfast. As the name suggests, it is breaking your fast as you haven’t eaten anything post dinner for almost 8–10 hours.The time gap is huge and hence if you do not have breakfast, it’s similar to trying to run a car without any petrol in it. Just like we need to charge our phone once the battery has drained, it is essential to fuel your body too.
Why should you never miss your 1st meal of the day ?
1) Once you wake up, the brain is in dire need of glucose which only your breakfast can provide. It is essential to restore your blood glucose levels which have dipped during the past few hours while asleep.
2) Most importantly, breakfast provides you with essential nutrients and vitamins to get going. Thinking that highly nutritious meals for lunch and dinner will make up for the skipped breakfast, then you are sadly mistaken. Even if your entire day’s meals are loaded with nutrients, you will never be able to catch up with the ones you were supposed to get from breakfast.
3) When we do not eat breakfast and start our workday, the body starts craving for food after a few hours. From experience, you know you will eat what is easily available and possibly unhealthy, such as a pack of biscuits, chips, chocolates or even ice cream. End result? Weight-gain!
4) Have problems with concentration? Your habit of not eating breakfast early in the morning is to be blamed. An empty stomach can do nothing for you as your brain is constantly asking for glucose and you have ignored those signals. In such cases, your brain does not pick up speed and behaves sluggish and tired.
5) Irritated? Suffering from mood swings? Again, skipping breakfast is the most prominent reason behind it. Your stress levels increase and your mood plummets.
6) I am on a diet, but still not losing weight! You must have tried every possible fad in the world but the weighing scale refuses to budge. This is because skipping breakfast slows down your metabolism leading to no weight loss. Remember skipping any meal would do you no good and will not aid in weight loss, rather you will put on weight.
Remember to always make wise choices for your breakfast. Do not opt for leftovers lying in your fridge from yesterday’s lunch or dinner, especially pizza, burgers, cheesy pasta, pastries and whatever else that might be languishing in there. We need to understand that nutrition is acquired through wholesome foods. Your breakfast should have a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You might say that you know the importance of breakfast but find it difficult to have it diligently, owing to a hectic schedule ‘Too Busy’ are two words you can expunge from your vocabulary as a Nutritionist has a solution to your busy-bee woes.
Here are some foods that you can cook or consume easily just before you leave for work or college:
1) Grab a fruit of your choice and have 4 almonds/walnuts with it. This will give your body a tiny rush of glucose to help you get going.
2) Plan ahead. Your breakfast can be planned the previous night. In case you plan to make poha or oats upma, chop the veggies of your choice and put them in a ziplock bag. This saves you time in the morning and you can easily make one serving quickly.
3) A simple bowl of oatmeal or sugar-free muesli can be a quick and nutritious breakfast. Add milk and chopped fruits of your choice. If you like to add a bit of crunch to your meal, then add 4 walnuts /almonds. Oats and muesli are loaded with fiber and will keep you full till your next meal.
4) If you are an ovo-vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, then the best option for you would be two egg whites cooked in your preferred style with 1 slice of multigrain or whole wheat bread. It is not only healthy but will surely help with starting your day with a good dose of protein.
5) For all you smoothie lovers, you can quickly make a yoghurt-based smoothie for yourself before heading off to work. Add some roasted flaxseeds or chia seeds to it and Voila! You will get some much-needed omega 3 too.
6) For those of you who do not want to cook in the morning, apply some hummus/labneh/guacamole on a slice of whole wheat bread and enjoy. No muss, no fuss. So go ahead and have a good breakfast before you leave home for school or work. You will notice the difference as your brain will function efficiently without the deprivation of glucose. The efforts that go into prepping for breakfast are small but the benefits you reap are large.
Give your brain its daily early-morning dose of glucose and your mind and body will say Thank You !
– Huda Shaikh, Visit Nutritionist