When you think about it, when you've first woken up is the longest time you've gone without eating (the word "breakfast" is short for "breaking the fast", or eating after abstaining from food for a long period). There are usually 6 to 12 hours that have passed between dinner and when you first wake up in the morning. You may not be initially very hungry because you are not fully awake or because you are dehydrated. But by mid-morning you start snacking. This also sets you up to make unhealthy lunch choices and overeat at dinner. Having a heavy meal late at night makes it difficult to sleep soundly. A bad night's sleep leaves you with less energy throughout the next day, making you eat sweet foods or drink caffeine to keep your energy up.
It seems like we've got it all backwards. Rather than skipping breakfast and then continually increasing our food intake throughout the day, having a hearty, nutrient rich breakfast sets you up for success. A decent sized breakfast keeps you full, awake and focused, helps you choose a healthier midday lunch, and then at dinner a small meal keeps you satiated while you wind down for a deep sleep.
Of course, what you eat also has a lot to do with how well changing your meal sizes works for you. But doctors and nutritionists agree that some breakfast, even sugary cereal or a pastry, is better than no breakfast at all. But it's best to eat a high volume of nutrient rich foods. 50% or more of your meal should be fruit or vegetables and the remaining portion should be protein, whole grain or a combination of the two. Some good meal ideas are:
- Peanut butter on gluten free waffle with a banana
- Warmed up plums with real maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and oatmeal
- Smoothie made with frozen strawberries and OJ or milk
- Half of a whole grain bagel with egg, arugula and a slice of cheese
- Make quick soup by reheating leftover brown rice, frozen spinach and vegetable broth
- Granola over non-dairy yogurt with blueberries
- Sliced fruit with milk, walnuts, almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey
- Leftover steamed veggies with eggs or tofu, spoonful of salsa in a whole grain wrap
Try it out for a week and feel the difference in your day. Until next time, keep it clean!