If the words vending machine or drive through are in your response to the question, “what’s for breakfast today” then you may be setting yourself up for sluggishness, shortage of energy, and difficulty concentrating the rest of the day.
Breakfast was once an event that a family could count on. In America’s agricultural past the first meal of the day was a big one, full of a host of foods that were intended to keep a working family running until the midday meal.
Today’s America is vastly different in many ways and breakfast is as changed as any one thing in our culture. Eating a health breakfast has not disappeared from our national consciousness but often what we know is best for us is lost in the hectic flow of daily realities.
If you skip breakfast one simple thing happens to your body. Scientific studies have shown that your body stays in bed so to speak even when you are up and moving if you fail to feed it right away. Think of your metabolism as a machine and breakfast as the switch that turns it on. Longer term effects are not entirely known but some studies point toward a body that is less apt to maintain a healthy weight when breakfast is habitually skipped in childhood and adulthood.
But let’s be fair. Not all people who skip breakfast do so because they do not like eating so early in the day. In fact hunger before lunch drives many of us to making very poor food choices out of an urgent need to satisfy the rumbling in our stomachs. Hence the drive through and vending machine food mentioned earlier. There are some very easy to manage breakfast choices that are healthy and give more energy than you might imagine. Take these for example:
Grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door. How much energy can a piece of fruit give your body? You might be amazed to know that an apple all by itself has the capacity to easily convert to clean, accessible energy for your body and also has other healthy effects to offer. Will a piece of fruit alone get you through long meetings, heavy physical work, or classroom activities? Probably not but it will not bog your body down the way processed foods will.
Turn to a childhood friend. Peanut butter isn’t something that you should make a staple of your diet unless it is incorporated specifically to meet high protein demands. Too much of this typically fatty food is just not good for the body. But it is an excellent source of protein, something your body desperately needs to operate properly. A piece of whole wheat toast with an ounce or two of peanut butter will give you energy to start your day. This option is very time efficient and beats most of the other fast food options you might turn to. Couple this with a piece of fruit like an apple and you should feel the difference in your alertness and energy level.
Breakfast in a cup. If you like the cool, silky texture of foods like yogurt then you have an easy, healthy option for a food that is fast, friendly for eating on the go, and an excellent source of many of the nutrients your body needs after waking up. Some of the vitamin content in yogurt helps your body convert food into energy much like the similar components in apples. Foods like these not only provide energy efficient nutrients but boost them with special aspects that assist in converting and using foods as energy in the body. Like peanut butter yogurt does have fat content and so it should be eaten in proper proportion to other foods. If you can do so try to avoid artificial sweeteners in yogurt. The shorter and simpler the ingredients list is the better your morning will be.
Stay hydrated. Energy drinks and fruit juices may be your favorite morning fare. Or maybe you are a coffee enthusiast and dream about the morning serving of aromatic brew. One thing to keep in mind though is that water intake, or lack of it, affects metabolism. You can be approaching dehydration and often not realize it. Many factors in your body can affect the rate of water depletion so it’s always best to assume that your body could use a little more water. Don’t take this to extremes of course. Within reason though try to alternate between drinking water and other liquids and if possible make your first drink of the morning a nice glass of water.