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Is Breakfast Still the Most Important Meal of the Day?

breakfast at home with croissant and coffee

Photo by @skeeze

We have all been hearing since childhood, that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Was it a clever lie crafted by generations of smart parents willing to develop a healthy eating habit in their kids? Or is there truth behind this cliche statement? As adults, we hear the same thing from countless dietologists and fitness gurus. Does it stop you from skipping it once in a while or even on a regular basis? We are all busy almost every second of our lives, so cooking a proper meal in the morning seems something many of us simply can not afford. We feel like we are “stealing” this time from our sleep or from other more important things to do. Let’s examine if breakfast is that important and if there are ways to keep it fuss-free.

Is breakfast the same everywhere?

First of all, no matter how universal the concept sounds, breakfast or to be more exact “a proper breakfast” is a different concept in different cultures. Think of Brits travelling to Mediterranean countries and finding on their buffets nothing more but croissants, juice, fruits and coffee. No hot meals, no bacon. Basically, a total shame of a breakfast. While we know that hotels do try to save on their guests, here it’s not the point.

A typical Mediterranean breakfast is something super light and most of the times it’s something you can have on the go. Coffee is a must. You can have it with a toast or drink a takeaway coffee on your way to work, in most cases both.

If you travel to the Middle East, the idea of a breakfast as something light remains unchanged, but breakfasts might include nuts, dried fruit, a local bread, which is a real delight for foodies, along with baked beans.

In the USA and in Canada breakfast is a bigger meal. Alongside the language and a significant part of traditions, the settlers brought from Britain ideas of what should be on your plate first thing in the morning: sausage or bacon, eggs. Both Canadians and Americans can also start their day off with some pancakes.

Traditional English breakfast is a substantial meal that will provide you with energy for the whole day ahead. Eggs, and bacon, with beans, tomatoes and what not. Oh, and don’t forget about a toast.

Though you can see that traditional breakfast can be different, more and more people around the world tend to have their breakfasts much lighter. Are we moving in the right direction here?

Breakfast and Science

One of the main arguments for not skipping your breakfast is that you are more likely to be catching up on calories later in the day if you do so. And we all know this no food after 6 pm mantra. So, is it all about the waistline?

  • If you skip breakfast, you get tired easily. Some studies show, that it might happen before noon. The participants who had had breakfast also showed better results in memory tests.
  • Having your toast with a cup of tea can be an easy fix for lowering “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • According to a recent study, kick-starting your day with breakfast regularly can help to keep the weight stable and prevent gaining extra kilos.
  • Developing a habit of eating breakfast every day can lower the chances of developing depression.
  • Breakfast helps to “switch on” the brain by restoring glucose level and by providing carbs to fuel it.

Summing it all up, if you want to be productive, happy and feel well, skipping breakfast isn’t an option for you.

So what are the rules of a healthy morning?

With the following breakfast hacks you’ll find it easier to make a nutritious meal a part of your morning routine:

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning

Remember you are going without liquid overnight, so hydrating yourself is one of the best things you can do for your body in the morning. It is easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so people that don’t take enough liquid, may find themselves overeating. Thus, a glass of water, herbal tea or juice is a perfect way to start your morning.

Start with small portions

If you belong to the type of people that have no morning appetite, it’s high time you started training it! Start with a tiny healthy snack like a yoghurt or a smoothie and you’ll see that soon you’ll develop a habit of having something yummy in the morning. Also make sure you don’t do late-night munching, as this easily can be a reason for no appetite in the morning.

Stock your kitchen with healthy breakfast ingredients

Would you like your breakfasts to be more diverse and easy to cook? Make sure your pantry, fridge and freezer have everything you need for a healthy morning meal.

  • Yoghurt, eggs, whole grain foods (bread or cereals) and oats for porridge or smoothies are an absolute must.
  • Nuts, dried fruit and seeds (like chia seeds or flax seeds) make a great topping for almost any breakfast bowl.
  • Quinoa is another great ingredient for a superfood-packed breakfast.
  • Nut butters are ideal for quick breakfast sandwiches that can be easily taken to go.
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and berries work great for refreshing and energising breakfast drinks. Also, don’t forget about veggies! Beets, carrots and spinach have a mild taste and thus can be added to smoothies.

Take it to go

Portable breakfast is always a great idea if free time in the morning isn’t something you have in spades. But in which way is it different from getting a snack from a cafe or a shop? Well, being able to control what goes in is one of the most important things about a healthy breakfast. By cooking at home you can gradually reduce the amount of added sugar and sodium in your food and use only healthy types of fat, instead of just buying whatever they have.

Get organized

Are you too busy in the morning for thinking about cooking a healthy meal? Save time! Organise your breakfast in advance. If you have 5 spare minutes before calling it a night, chop some fruit for topping your cereal or adding them to your smoothie the next morning. Overnight chia seeds or overnight oats are extremely easy to prepare and make a truly decadent hands-off breakfast. Having some free time during the weekend? You can use it to hard boil eggs in advance or make some whole grain muffins for the upcoming breakfasts.

Enjoy your meal!

Let’s face it: of course, there are mornings when we are so short of time that everything we can do is just eat a sticky-sweet granola bar on the run. Still, having a healthy breakfast every day isn’t an unrealistic goal at all as long as you work on developing this habit. Especially when there are so many delicious breakfast ideas that require almost no effort when put in practice.

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