Breakfast: To Eat, or Not to Eat, That is the Question
Breakfast. You either love it, or you don’t.
So, why is breakfast so important?
I’m so glad you asked. In regard to food related choices, what you eat for breakfast sets the entire tone for the rest of your day! Now why does this matter? Because if you were to grab a bowl of cereal, a muffin, a bagel, a pastry, etc., and call that your breakfast [as most American’s do], you would be consuming a whole bunch of highly refined, processed carbohydrates, minimal protein and a dose of unhealthy fat. Now, compare this to scrambled eggs with sautéed vegetables, whole grain toast with sliced avocado and a fried egg, or steel cut oatmeal with nuts and berries. Notice any differences? Each of these have a base of protein and healthy fat, along with a low glycemic carbohydrate.
Maybe you’re still thinking “okay, but why does this matter….” It matters because once you have eaten something highly processed, your body starts to crave more of that same thing, telling you to eat more of those same types of sugar laden products. This can lead to a few things: a chain reaction of poor food choices throughout the day, the dreaded post-lunch head-bob, lurking feelings of ‘hanger’ creeping up around dinnertime, or eating anything you can get your hands on after you’ve eaten dinner.
Now, oppositely, if you’ve had a “hearty” breakfast of something that contains all three macronutrients, chances are you’ll have a different experience. Perhaps you won’t be hungry mid-morning and even find yourself choosing a nutrient dense lunch. Maybe you won’t feel like you are going to pass out face down onto your keyboard around 2 o'clock. You might eat dinner to an adequate fullness instead of leaving the table with a bellyache. Or you possibly didn’t have any desire to continue eating whatever you wanted after dinner. All of these things could be a side effect due to the choice you made for breakfast!
Before I forget, you do not need to drink a glass or orange juice - or any juice - for breakfast. You can consume more Vitamin C in actual foods than what you get in a glass, and you'll skip 30+ grams of sugar with absolutely no other nutrient density.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that mornings can be chaotic. I understand you might be thinking ‘but how could I possibly have time to make something nutritious and still arrive to work on time?!’ and I want to assure you, it’s totally possible. Making the effort to set yourself up for success each and every morning will do wonders, for both your mind and your waistline.
Wake up earlier.
“Ohh, but I just don’t have the time! My routine is down to the minute and my sleep is so precious!”
I. Hear. You. But saying "you don't have the time" isn't true, you are just not committed to making better health a priority, because you probably "have the time" to stop at your go-to coffee shop every morning for an iced coffee.
Maybe that means waking up 5 minutes earlier to cook some eggs so that you don’t eat 5 donuts when you get to work. Seems like a fair tradeoff to me.
It will make your life easier. Spend a little bit of time one or two days a week getting your meals in order, and actually save yourself time in the morning! Don’t want to dedicate a day to it? Prep your breakfast the night before.
If you're a “but I don’t like breakfast foods!” person, then eat something that's not a breakfast food. Have something left over from the night before? Great! Heat it up and eat it for your first meal of the day. Who says you can’t eat dinner for breakfast?
“But I hate eating breakfast, I’m never hungry in the morning.”
As an adult, you innately have the ability to choose when you want to eat. If you aren’t hungry first thing in the morning, then don’t eat first thing in the morning. This does not necessarily mean wait until lunch time to eat. This means go about your morning routine, including preparing yourself something to eat, and then eat it a little later on.
*If you are not hungry in the morning, you may be eating too much in the evening or eating too late at night. Try and eat no less than 3 hours before you go to sleep, to help curb the effects of a food hangover.*
I'm not here to force you to change your lifestyle. For some people, eating in the morning makes them feel sick, for others they absolutely have to eat upon waking or they feel sick. Figure out what works and doesn't work for you and then make the best choices you can based off of what you've learned.