Some of us skip breakfast because we say we are too busy to eat in the morning, while others may miss it out of habit.
Whatever be the reason, research shows us that eating breakfast is important for a variety of reasons.
As the name suggests, breakfast is about breaking a fast. A long night’s sleep keeps our body starving and if we leave it that way, the digestive juices will run amok in our tummies and create trouble. A good breakfast is said to improve children’s performance at school and in cognitive tests. This is because by eating, we bring up our blood sugar levels that reach an all-time low during the starvation period. These sugars are needed to help our brain function properly. Skipping breakfast means a poorer performance at school, and a lack of efficiency and concentration.
No breakfast also means depleted energy reserves for games and extracurricular activities.
Cultivating the habit of eating a healthy breakfast makes it easier for one to keep conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease at bay. These may sound like problems plaguing adults, but good habits need to be cultivated early in life to avoid lifestyle diseases. Of course keeping ourselves active is very important in staying healthy, now and in the long run.
Ideally we should get 25 per cent of our daily calories from breakfast. This meal keeps our metabolism running higher and skipping meals causes the body to kick into ‘starvation mode’ and makes us crave more (and most times unhealthy) food. It’s more likely that people who regularly eat breakfast also make good dietary choices the rest of the day.
Now that we know its importance, the next step is to find out what exactly a balanced breakfast is. Though carbohydrates that provide energy to the body are important, it is necessary to make sure that the breakfast is not just a carbohydrate meal. When choosing your breakfast, remember to include a healthy source of protein and plenty of fibre. The protein can come from eggs, dairy products, or nuts and sprouts. Some good sources of fibre are fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
While any breakfast may be better than no breakfast, there are some foods you might want to avoid because they’re high in added sugars, salt, saturated fats and calories. Today the supermarket aisles are choc-a-bloc with cereal boxes — plain, frosted, with nuts and dried fruits, made with wheat or oats or rice. Most of these are not exactly health food when eaten on their own. However, adding a few pieces of fresh fruit and nuts with warm or cold milk does improve their nutritional value. Had once in a while, these can be a good way to start your day.
Now that you are armed with information, the next step may be to find out which other foods can be included in your first meal of the day, what say?