I am sure we have all heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Right?
I know a lot of people who ‘aren’t hungry’ or do not feel like making breakfasts in the mornings. I was one of them. It took me a long time to instill breakfast into my routine. For people who do not like eating breakfast, I will say it again: Breakfast is a really important meal so suck it up 🙂 and add it to your routine even if it means waking up 20 minutes earlier than usual.
But it is not just important to eat in the morning, what you eat is really what matters. As tempting that chocolate glazed donut is, it is bad news.
Let me give you a general scenario, representing mornings of most UTM students: You are running late for your 9am class and you rush out of the house without eating breakfast. On your way to your class in IB, you stop by Starbucks and order a latte and a muffin. Come 10am, you are hungry, your stomach starts to growl, and you are eagerly waiting for that 10 minute break. Your brain is exhausted and you are also sleepy—more coffee! The class finally finishes and you head to Davis and your friend brings a box of timbits. Do you take them? Absolutely! (Well I probably would too).
SUGAR. It is not meant for breakfast, but it is in a lot of breakfast foods. It is in cereals, instant oatmeals, muffins, flavoured yogurts, waffles, pancakes, and many more. So why is sugar a no-no, when it is almost in every food?
Most of the breakfast foods listed above consist of simple sugars, which have a high glycemic index, meaning a high rate of absorption of glucose in the stomach, resulting in rapid high blood glucose levels. When we eat something with simple sugars, the glucose levels in our body rises (sugar is broken down into glucose) and this signals our pancreas to release insulin. Insulin increases glucose uptake by liver and muscles and stores them as glycogen. After the release of insulin, the blood glucose levels drop dramatically often resulting in that tired feeling that we all have experienced (Pharr 2010). Typically, your ‘fatigue’ spurs a craving for a cup of coffee or another pick-me-up which is usually another sugar substitute.
From my personal experience, when I eat foods with simple sugars such as a donut in the mornings, I always get a headache, and a feeling that ‘my stomach is eating itself’. My energy levels are low, and I lose my focus within the first hour of the lecture.
I have learned that my best mornings start with a protein-filled breakfast or breakfast higher in complex sugars such as oats and barley, and fibre rich fruits such as bananas, and apples. My go-to breakfast is steel-cut lots, skim milk, fresh fruits, and nuts (usually pumpkin seeds). Sometimes I whip 2 eggs with cooked kale and mushrooms, eat a piece of toast with avocado, or eat a fruit bowl. I always feel full for a good 3 hours before it is time for a quick snack. A filling breakfast does not just satisfy the hunger it pleases the heart.
Check out my post on Healthy Snacking
Happy Friday, Friends! If you find yourself a little drowsy this afternoon, could it be your breakfast? 😉
What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?
Source:Pharr JR.2010. Carbohydrate Consumption and Fatigue: A Review. Nevada Journal of Public Health 7(1):39-43.