By 5:00 am there’s a hot cup of coffee in hand, a space heater on high, and a stare-off between myself and a blank Word document.
In search of a topic, my eyes scan the environment. I briefly contemplate writing about clutter or what to do with old mattresses but quickly decide that’s a personal issue.
At 6:30 am, I’m beginning to feel anxious, or perhaps just overcaffeinated. And that’s when I hear my calling for this month's column. From the depths comes a low grumble, almost like thunder rolling in the distant sky. My stomach speaks in desperation, “feed me, Seymore”.
No wonder I can’t think, it’s time to break-the-fast.
Of course, not everyone agrees on when to break-the-fast. It’s often described as the most important meal of the day, yet only 35% of adults eat breakfast 7 days a week. Can you guess why?
You were probably right, not enough time, followed by not feeling hungry and finally, trying to lose weight.
Obviously, breakfast is not the most popular meal, so what makes it the most important?
Eating breakfast is an added opportunity to eat nutrient-dense foods. Because we make healthier choices when rested, food choices after a night of sleep are likely to be higher in vitamins and minerals and lower in calories relative to those at subsequent meals. Additionally, eating breakfast makes you more likely to choose fruits and vegetables for a snack.
If you’re visualizing three giant buttermilk pancakes smothered in butter and maple syrup with a side of bacon, that’s not the opportunistic breakfast I’m referring to. Besides, that meal takes too long to prepare on a time-crunched morning.
A fast breakfast looks like cereal with fruit, a smoothie, yogurt and granola, a breakfast burrito/sandwich or a hard-boiled egg. When these choices include whole grain, low-fat ingredients, you have a nutrient-packed breakfast.
Have you ever noticed eating breakfast makes you feel hungry sooner than if you wait until lunch? It’s not all in your head (or stomach), but here’s what you may not recognize.
You’ve heard of circadian rhythm, though usually in the context of sleep. A similar rhythm occurs with satiety and hunger. Oddly, hunger hormones are lowest in the early hours of the day (4:00 am) and peak around 8:00 pm. Thus, the lack of morning hunger is not surprising. But in reality, skippers eat lunch earlier and often snack beforehand.
Name the first five breakfast foods that come to mind. What do you notice about these foods? Are they rich in carbohydrates like bagels, pancakes, waffles, donuts and potatoes?
My daughter just told me breakfast is her favorite meal, it has the most sweets she says. Case in point, homemade cinnamon rolls are coming out of the oven as we speak.
What you eat makes a difference. Unbalanced by slow-digesting nutrients such as protein and fat, these high-carb breakfast items will result in a quick spike and plummet in blood glucose. Following the plummet, you’ll feel hunger again.
You can have these breakfast items, but as I told my daughter, the cinnamon roll doesn’t need icing, and it’ll be served with scrambled eggs and blueberries. Oh, and one roll is enough.
What about additional calories from breakfast? True, studies show breakfast eaters consume a few more calories than skippers. What breakfast eaters also do is engage in more physical activity, specifically light physical activity such as a slow walk or fidgeting.
Will a quick breakfast become a part of your daily routine? Hard saying. But once it does, you’ll never go back.