In today’s fast moving society everyone feels short of time and it can be very easy to skip or miss breakfast. As well as this some people may believe that skipping breakfast will mean that you are eating less or are able to eat more later in the day, or that it is a good weight loss technique, but unfortunately this is not the case. The old wives tale of breakfast being the most important meal of the day is actually very true and for more reasons than ‘because mum said’.
Breaking the Fast! When we look at the word ‘breakfast’ it literally means to ‘break the fast’. Our bodies are accustomed to eating or being fueled every few hours. When we are sleeping our bodies can go as long as ten hours without food, essentially going into a fasting state. That is one of the many reasons it is so important to re-fuel when you wake. So without going into nitty gritty details, having breakfast will provide your body with essential energy which has been used up while you have been sleeping and prepare you to take on the day.
Glucose! It’s what our bodies get from food and use for energy. Glucose gets broken down and stored in your muscles and tissues as glycogen and while you sleep the glycogen is released from these stores to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This means that when we wake up our glycogen and glucose stores are low. One of the major reasons breakfast is so important is that it helps to restore these glycogen levels. Restoring the glycogen that we have used during the night will help your body to regulate its blood sugar throughout the day. It will also help with concentration and focus.
But I don’t feel hungry in the morning and then I’m starving! Yes this may be the truth but that is because the first meal of the day will kick start your metabolism into gear. If you start with a solid balanced meal early in the morning you will not be starving and will be able to better control your portions, cravings and snacking as the day progresses.
Start strong!! It is well known that we are most in control of cravings and inhibitions when we first wake up. Have you ever found that your healthy eating tends to be great and on-track early in the day but can fall off the wagon as the day goes on? For this reason having a balanced and healthy breakfast will not only fuel you but it will keep you feeling fuller for longer and lower the chance of you making less healthy, knee jerk food choices which are driven by your hunger and not mindful. It has also been discovered that people who skip breakfast tend to snack more, this snacking usually results in less nutritious options (quick sugar hits). Most importantly, eating breakfast leads to healthier food choices at other meals. It will also get your body into a regular eating pattern, and we all know we do better with routine.
Vitamins, Minerals and essential Nutrients: Just in case you weren’t convinced yet, Breakfast is also a quick and easy way to get a lot of essential vitamins and minerals into your diet. If you make sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients first thing when you wake, you already start ahead by setting yourself up to do the same throughout the day. By skipping breakfast, you may also have a difficult time consuming the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy such as iron, folate, fiber and vitamin C and D. The negative of missing these nutrients at breakfast time is that even when eating larger meals later in the day to ‘compensate’ for missing breakfast these essential nutrients can rarely be replenished or made up.
Breakfast is easy to get right! Breakfast meals are very easy to make healthy and nutritious they usual consist of low GI grains, lean protein, dairy products, fruit and often vegetables whish are all essential sources of iron, folate, fiber and vitamin C and D. So by skipping breakfast you are missing an easy opportunity to include all of these goodies in your diet.
Don’t be scared! You do not have to sit down to a gourmet hot breakfast each and every morning. As long as you have a lean protein source, some low GI carbohydrates and plenty of plant foods you will be putting your best foot forward each and every morning.
Pic Credit: Well-Being Secrets