Let’s Have Some Breakfast by Corey Comeau
You’ve heard it before. I know you have because I’ve been hearing it since I was a kid and I can’t be the only one to have heard it. In fact I’ve heard it 3 times just today. What is it you ask? Eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your Mom told you, your doctor told you and even the cereal companies pedalling their sugary goods told you.They may not have been right in what they were pushing, but at least they were telling you to eat breakfast. So why don’t you do it? What’s stopping you? Time? Convenience? Are you just plain not hungry in the morning? My guess is that there have been a multitude of reasons over the course of time that have created this habit. A very bad habit at that. It’s time to break the cycle of skipping the most important meal and the basic foundation of our day. A new beginning starts now.
Now that we know your mom and the health community are right, let’s discuss why. Breakfast gives us the energy we need to navigate the beginning of our day. The decisions we make in the morning are no less important than the decisions we make throughout the day. So why treat them as such? Why not give yourself the best chance possible to succeed, be engaged, present and alert? For improved problem-solving skills, better concentration and even better hand-eye coordination, you can’t beat a healthy breakfast. Coffee will only do so much!
Improved alertness, physical skills and improved cognitive ability not enough? Ok let me tell you more.
The time between eating dinner and the next morning’s meal tends to be the longest period your body will go without food. Because of this, breakfast has a different effect on you than any other meal. Eating within an hour or two of waking up shifts the way you metabolize blood sugar (glucose) for the entire day. Blood sugar levels rise when we eat and insulin is produced to carry the glucose to our cells which our bodies in turn will use for energy. We eat breakfast to stabilize and balance glucose and insulin levels to avoid spikes and subsequent dips. This has meaningful and beneficial consequences on your metabolism and overall health. If this is not in balance and we are now on a prolonged abstinence from solid food we have a much greater chance of overeating at our next meal. Overeating at a meal comes with it’s own host of long term effect, some of which may include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The spike/dip imbalance and subsequent overeating have long term effects on our bodies as well as the short term effect of slowed metabolism and potential weight gain.
Eating breakfast, simply put, is the single best way to set ourselves up for success. Now that we know that and just some of the reasons why that is, let us make sure we are on the same page when it comes to what constitutes breakfast. A healthy breakfast is not, I repeat, is not a doughnut and a cup of coffee (the coffee is cool, just not the doughnut). It is not a sugar ladened bowl of cereal. It is not a glass of fruit juice and store bought granola. What is it? It’s things like oatmeal with fresh berries. It’s scrambled eggs (white are even better) with sprouted grain bread or fruit salad sprinkled with quinoa, greek yogurt and honey. You really want a breakfast that has good carbohydrates, fiber and protein.
Pressed for time in the morning? That is no longer an excuse. There are recipes we can make the night before for a quick, healthy, grab-and-go breakfast. I like a Peanut Butter Overnighter or a Mixed Berry, Pecan and Quinoa Parfait, or a Banana Protein Smoothie.