B.E. Healthy: Breakfast

As important as mornings are for me, I was shocked when I realized that I hadn’t yet written about breakfast in a B.E. Healthy article! When you think of breakfast, I’d be willing to bet that one of the first things that comes to your mind is, “It’s the most important meal of the day!” While I believe this to be true for me, I don’t believe that it’s true for everyone. For me, eating a very large breakfast is crucial to my day. If I was, for some reason, forced to choose one meal to skip, I would never, ever choose to skip breakfast. When I do skip breakfast, I’ve noticed I am more tired and irritable, and have cravings for not-so-healthy foods. Missing this one meal, for me, can wreak havoc on my entire day.

If you’ve been a consistent reader of this column, you probably know how my morning routine goes. I wake up early, drink a ton of water, drink a cup of coffee, meditate, go work out and then return home and eat a big breakfast. I choose to do fasted workouts, but I realize that doesn’t work for everyone. I work out better on an empty stomach, but I know others can’t have a good workout without eating something before. My post-workout breakfast usually consists of oatmeal with fruit or bacon (or sausage) and eggs with a slice of rye toast.

On the other hand, I know some people who just don’t like breakfast. They skip it most of the time. My grandmother is one of these people. She says that when she does eat breakfast, she finds that she stays hungrier throughout the day. Other people, my husband, for example, needs a couple of hours to get fully awake before he is ready for breakfast. And for him, breakfast is most certainly not oatmeal or eggs. His ideal breakfast consists of leftovers from dinner the night before.

I mention these three scenarios to show you how different we all are. There is no “right” way. Breakfast does not have to be at a particular time of day nor does it have to consist of typical breakfast fare. Try out different things and see what works best for you. If you eat breakfast, do you find that you stay hungrier throughout the day? Or do you find that breakfast is a necessity to keep your hunger in check? Do you wake up hungry and ready to eat a large breakfast? If so, eat a big breakfast! If, on the other hand, you wake up not hungry at all, don’t force yourself to eat breakfast. Wait until your body is ready to eat and then feed it!

Regardless of when / where / how / what you eat for breakfast, I encourage you to listen to your body and eat something that will fuel it in the best way. This fuel will be different for everyone. Take into account how much you are moving throughout the day and how different foods make you feel hours later. You may find that eating a big bowl of cereal in the morning makes you feel fatigued mid-morning. In my opinion, a lot of cereals are full of sugar and don’t do the best job at keeping you full. If this is true for you, try to incorporate more protein into your breakfast. Whatever your breakfast fare consists of, make sure it’s something you enjoy eating (but still makes your body feel good), and that you are eating it at a time when your body is hungry for it.