It is always said that one should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a Pauper. It’s true; breakfast is the first and the most important meal of the day which should never be neglected or skipped. After having a good night sleep of 6-7 hours, the stomach is completely empty and it’s the breakfast that refuels the body and replenishes the blood sugar (glucose), giving the body necessary energy to start the day. It is of utmost importance for people of all age groups, right from elderly to children, to eat breakfast on a daily basis. In fact, breakfast is good for both physical and mental health. It also observed that children who eat breakfast daily are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination. They may also be more alert and creative.
So what happens when you skip breakfast?
Usually, people have a tendency of skipping breakfast owing to the busy schedule, running late of work or school or lack of hunger in the morning. But did you know, by skipping breakfast, we miss out on important nutrients that we won’t be able to make up for later during the day? These nutrients consist of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are crucial for a well-balanced diet. A study by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who skipped breakfast were almost five times more likely to be obese. And a recent study from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that children and adolescents who skipped breakfast had a higher body mass index for age than those who ate breakfast. Skipping breakfast could also lead to:
- Lower blood sugar level
- Slower metabolism
- Higher hormonal stress levels
- Lower stamina
- Menstrual irregularities in females
All the justifications of skipping breakfast can be overcome. For those not feeling like eating in the morning, start by eating breakfast in smaller quantities so that your stomach and schedule get acclimatize to it. For those running late or with a busy schedule, you can always do the preparation at night so that it saves your time in the morning or eat your breakfast on the go.
And what happens when you have a healthy breakfast?
Apart from a filled up and happy tummy, you will experience:
- Better concentration and more productivity throughout the morning and day: This may be due to replenishment of blood glucose which is the brain’s main energy source.
- Controlled weight and lower BMI: With breakfast intake, your hunger might scale back during the day and this will help the eaters to avoid binge eating junk and unhealthy foods at later meals.
- Greater strength and endurance: Folks that eat breakfast have known to have higher energy levels and they may engage in more physical activity than many people who don’t eat breakfast.
- Good for a healthy heart
What’s for breakfast?
If you kick start your morning with a healthy, wholesome breakfast meal, you’re less likely to nibble on unhealthy foods during the day, which we often do out of hunger. A healthy breakfast ought to encompass a range of foods. To make a healthy breakfast on a daily basis, choose one item from at least three of the following four food groups:
- Fruits and vegetables: Consider fresh, whole fruits and vegetables since they are a source of lots of nutrients and fiber. You can also take 100 percent fresh fruit juice without added sugar or preservatives.
- Grains: Choose whole-grain cereals, whole wheat bread and not the refined flour (maida) ones.
- Dairy: Go for skimmed milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.
- Protein: Choose lentils (dals), nuts, seeds, granola bar, hard-boiled eggs, lean slices of meat and poultry, or fish.
- Avoid breakfast loaded with easy sugars or dripping in oil.
Here are some recommended, healthy and tasty breakfast options:
Vegetable Dailya, Sprouts Salad, Upma with coconut chutney, Pesarattu Dosai with tomato and ginger chutney, Paneer Bhurji with chapati, Idli and sambar, Daal or Besan Dhokla and coriander and mint chutney, Poha, Besan or Moong Daal Cheela with coriander and mint chutney, Omelet with vegetables, Oatmeal, Boiled eggs with mildly buttered whole wheat bread, High fibre cereal with milk, low fat curd or fruits.
All these breakfast options can be accompanied by a mixed fruit bowl OR a glass of fresh juice (sugarless) OR nuts and seeds OR milk OR green tea.
Now, did you have a healthy and filling breakfast this morning?
Anjum Fathima | Clinical Dietician | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital Mysore