Updated: Mar 9
Hands up, those of you who skip breakfast from time to time?
If you raised your hand then join the crowd. The No Breakfast, No Energy crowd. It's a crowd you don't want to hang with!
Many people don’t eat breakfast, or they simply down a coffee and call that their breakfast.
Put simply, most of us don’t eat breakfast in the correct way, and then suffer from an energy slump later in the day, which leads to unhealthy snacking and glucose spikes.
It’s a bit of a vicious circle in many ways, but the answer is easy – eat a balanced, healthy breakfast every single day and you will have more energy to last you until the end of the day.
Why is breakfast important?
When you have been sleeping for around 8 hours your body is running on empty when you wake up. Yes, you haven’t used as much energy as you would have done if you were awake, but your body is busy repairing itself and resting after a busy day, so a certain amount of energy is still used. When you wake up, your body is ready for a boost of energy, and that means fuel, e.g. food.
Experts say that breakfast should be consumed no more than two hours after you wake up in the morning, and that what you eat is just as important as the fact you are actually eating. Your breakfast should make up a huge 20-35% of your daily allowance of calories, which means you should certainly be eating like a king or queen in the morning. If you need a reminder, men should have around 2500 calories per day, and women should have 2000 calories per day.
Those who eat a healthy breakfast, which is balanced and full of the right kind of foods (which we will discuss shortly), are much less likely to give into temptation later in the day, which leads to snacking on sugary and fattening foods, such as packaged crackers and chocolate, or making unhealthy choices when it comes to lunch and dinner. Giving into this temptation leads to spikes in your glucose levels, which is a diabetes danger, as well as being a quick road towards weight gain. Breakfast basically helps you feel fuller for longer.
Breakfast also has several other important jobs to do, including topping up glucose levels, which is important for healthy brain function; not only does eating breakfast give you the energy for your body to function, but it also helps your brain function in the best possible way too.
You are what you eat
It’s no good grabbing the nearest cereal bar and considering it to be healthy. These are often sugar-laden, which is never a good thing; instead, you should consider what you eat at breakfast. The goal - to keep your stomach fuller for longer, your energy levels high, and your brain functioning at the right level.
Breakfast should be a balance between carbs and protein essentially, with fruit and vegetables thrown in to top up that five a day level. Carbs should be complex, which means they gradually release glucose (or energy) into the blood stream, which keeps you feeling fuller and energized for longer. Whole grains are a good source of complex carbs, such as 100% whole wheat bread. On top of this, oats, seeds, and nuts are fantastic.
These types of food can also be described as low GI, which is another fancy way of saying that they release energy slowly, rather than in one bulk effort. If you throw in protein too, this means your body will receive all the energy it needs to kick start your day, as well as kick starting your metabolism, helping you burn more calories at the start of the day.
All of this basically serves brain and body, giving you the important energy you need to get through the day without feeling tired, irritable, or as though you need to head to bed for a quick power nap.
So, the next time you feel the need to skip breakfast, stop and consider these points, and then re-assess your decision!