Why is Breakfast so Important?
Out of the three main meals of the day, breakfast is the meal that is most likely to be neglected or skipped. If you don’t eat breakfast, you are likely to feel tired, restless, or cranky in the morning. Why do so many people not eat breakfast? Many people say that they are simply not hungry in the morning, because they’ve eaten a big meal the night before or simply snacked late at night. As a result, the body is still trying to digest food when they are going to bed. During sleep, the digestion rate slows and, as a result, there is still food in the stomach in the morning.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and it is the meal that the body uses to top up its glucose levels after eight to twelve hours of fasting. Glucose is vital for the brain and it’s the main energy source for the body. As well, it also fuels the muscles that are necessary for physical activity through the day. If you skip breakfast, you will have a shorter attention span, be less alert, take longer to react, have low blood sugar, and decreased productivity.
Breakfast and Weight Loss
Many people think that skipping breakfast will help them to lose weight but the opposite is true. Breakfast is literally breaking the fast and it helps to curb hunger and stop you from binge eating later on in the day. By eating a hearty, nutritious breakfast, you will actually consume fewer calories through the day. Breakfast should actually contain one-third to one-half of the daily dietary needs of the body. Skipping breakfast can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When we do get hungry, we tend to gravitate towards high-fat, high-sugar foods that provide an instant energy boost. Unfortunately, these foods cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels and only satisfy us for short periods of time – leading us to eat more and thus putting on weight.
Some ideas for a healthy breakfast include:
- wholegrain cereal with fruit and yoghurt & green tea
- wholegrain bread with a boiled or poached egg
- an omelete with a bran muffin and fresh juice
- wholegrain toast with natural nut butters
- an English muffin topped with lean ham and fresh juice
- wholegrain toast with fresh fruit
- hot cereal such as oatmeal is high in fibre and low in sugar
Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, Dinner like a Pauper
We need the most energy at the beginning of the day, and the least energy at the end, when most daily tasks are over and we are relaxing. For this reason, it is wise to stick to the old adage, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. Eat according to the needs of your day. If you have an office or other sedentary jobs, eat lighter meals. If your job is more active, eat foods that provide sustained energy.
If you are very athletic and train hard, then you will need more nourishment towards the end of the day, to sustain your training needs. Always apply these principles to your own individual needs, nothing ia ever written in stone.
At lunch time, still eat a substantial meal to fuel you for the afternoon but make sure that it isn’t too heavy. A hearty soup with salad is ideal or perhaps lean meat with vegetables or salad. Essentially, it should be a medium-sized meal – smaller than breakfast but larger than dinner.
If you eat a large meal at dinner, which is traditional in most homes, weight gain can occur as the body cannot use all the energy in the food and thus stores it as fat instead. A heavy meal at dinner can also cause sleep disturbances.