You've heard it before - breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And yet, most of us ignore that advice. If you want to control your weight or lose weight, it is the most important meal of the day. If you want to decrease your likelihood of diabetes, it is the most important meal of the day. If you want to keep a stable mood throughout the day, it is the most important meal. If you want to learn and keep your mind clear and focused, it is the most important meal. I'm sure there are more I could come up with, but you get the point. There's lots to be gained by paying attention to and taking time for this important meal of the day. Our usual choices - refined cereals, bagels, pancakes and waffles are not serving us well at all. For any of the above goals, you'll have to start the day with more protein, healthy fats and maybe some whole grains.
What we eat for breakfast (means breaking the fast from the night's sleep) gets the digestion and metabolism started and working for the day. If you start off with cereal or cereal bars made from mostly refined grains and laced with sugar, you might as well have the danish and a glass of milk. Same process will occur in your body - the sugar and the refined grains metabolize quickly - like within 2 hours and you plummet - energy and mood, making you willing to shove in that candy bar or birthday cake your office mate brought without even thinking. You also crave more carbs. and more sweets and it starts a roller coaster ride of a day. Weight gain, risk of diabetes, and mood swings can all be controlled in part by avoiding sugar and carbohydrates for breakfast, as can keeping a clear mind and being able to focus. Having something for breakfast will help with this one - studies show that kids who do not eat breakfast, do poorly on tests and have more behavior problems at school. When they are served a healthy breakfast, there is great improvement! Also, those who eat whole grains at breakfast are happier throughout the day!
So, we should pay attention to this first meal of the day. The RealAge folks have been talking about this topic for quite some time now. They recommend eggs for breakfast or any high protein choice. Proteins take longer to digest and keep you from getting hungry for longer periods and also do not cause those blood sugar drops that cause the mood swings and the cravings. If you don't get a certain amount of protein each day, especially in the morning, your appetite will roller coaster along cravings for snacks and sweets. You'll tend to eat high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar snacks and foods. If you skip breakfast, your body will go into storage mode which makes it harder to lose weight and it sets you up for hunger later in the day.
Good choices for breakfast? Eggs and oatmeal are a #1 choice from just about any expert I've found. I often have both - a simple scrambled egg and a bowl of oatmeal cooked with fruit (usually dates) rather than a sweetener. Whole grain cereals with a high protein yogurt like a Greek yogurt are great as well. Check both for sugar on the label in the form of fructose, sucrose, and cane juice. Add your own sweeteners with fruit instead. Whole grain breads with nut butters (again check labels for sugar) are also good choices. Or, make yourself a breakfast sandwich with an egg on whole grain toast or in a whole grain tortilla wrap. Quinoa and Kashi can also be whole grain, high protein options you can experiment with.
How will you improve your life and start your day well this week?