Breaking our nighttime fast every morning is a nutritional ritual that many of us do not observe. We all know what “the most important meal of the day” is. Scientific and anecdotal studies support that breakfast eaters are generally healthier and eat fewer calories overall than non breakfast eaters. However, many people, especially those who are overweight, actually do not eat anything until late in the afternoon.
Why does this happen? In my practice of health and nutrition counseling, I hear all kinds of reasons why folks choose not to “break the fast” in the morning. One perceived obstacle to breakfast is time. “I’m just too rushed in the morning.” But somehow, there is always time to wait in a long drive through line at Starbucks or other fast food establishments. This is more than enough time to throw together a quick and nutritious breakfast-even on the go, if necessary. I’ll give some examples at the end of this article.
Another thing I commonly hear is: “I get hungrier sooner if I eat breakfast than if I don’t.” Actually this is more a function of what we choose for breakfast rather than the mere fact that we eat breakfast. We often choose a pure carbohydrate (often low fiber) breakfast. Think about your bagel, muffin, or bowl of cereal. Unrefined, high sugar items are broken down into blood sugar very quickly and our insulin levels rise in response to this blood sugar surge. Often, our bodies overcompensate with too much insulin leaving us with those familiar hungry, shaky mid-morning blues. This often leads to overeating the rest of the day!
Here are some ideas for some quick, high fiber, protein rich breakfasts:
- Egg sandwich made with 1 scrambled egg, egg white, or egg substitute on two slices of whole grain bread (2 or more grams of fiber per slice).
- Whole grain English muffin with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 1 slice of lowfat cheese wrapped in whole grain flatbread
- Oatmeal made with 8 oz. skim milk or lowfat soy milk
- Cottage cheese with sliced apples and cinnamon
- Low sugar, breakfast cereal containing fiber and protein (check out the Kashi brands)
The best choices for breakfast (and for all meals for that matter) contain whole grain (high fiber) carbohydrate along with a lowfat protein source (lean meat, lowfat cheese eggs, peanut butter, etc.). Both fiber and protein slow down the blood sugar response and give us longer sustained energy throughout the morning. This is the way to appropriately fuel your body for your day. This simple ritual can enrich your life all year long!
About Judy Mitnick, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE
Judy has provided nutrition education and counseling to individuals and groups in a variety of settings including schools, worksites, public health, private physician practices and clinical research sites. At In Motion, she works with both physician referred patients, athletes and fitness clients. She also provides nutrition presentations and workshops to groups all over the community.
We will be publishing expert fitness and nutrition blogs from the In Motion experts through October as part of our Team Lean Challenge. You can also keep up with the weight loss group and learn expert weight loss tips on the official Bon Secours Hampton Roads Facebook page and Bon Secours In Motion Facebook page! Through this process, we hope our Bon Secours Wellness team will inspire others to begin or continue on their own wellness journey.