Source: Web exclusive: May 2010
Mom was right: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You’ve spent all night fasting, you have a busy day ahead of you, and you need energy! Furthermore, breakfast also plays a large role in setting the tone for your day, says registered dietitian and nutritionist Susan Fyshe, of Toronto’s Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition Consulting.
‘Our emotions and mood are centred in our brain and nervous system’there’s a strong link between diet and emotional health. A healthy breakfast provides nourishment for our brains and nervous system, as well as energy for our whole body. It’s an important way to start the day off the best you can be,’ says Fyshe.
So why are 40 percent of Canadians regularly skipping brekkie? If you’re guilty as charged, now’s the time to commit to a healthy change. Read on to find your excuse for skipping breakfast’ and get solutions that will help you fuel up to seize the day from now on.
Excuse #1: No time
You don’t eat breakfast because: ‘My mornings are a mad dash preparing lunches and/or getting beautiful, and then rushing out the door! I just don’t have time to eat!’
May we suggest: ‘Whole grain cereal, low-fat milk and berries,’ which comprise a healthy and complete breakfast, says Fyshe. All it takes to enjoy this fast and easy meal is five minutes of prep-work each night, and moments each morning.
The night before: Put out glasses, cereal bowls and spoons at the table. Prewash berries and set them in the fridge.
In the morning: Just pour cereal and berries into each bowl and add a splash of milk, which should take no more than a minute. Then chow down and get yourselves out the door in record time.
Another option: Take your cereal to go. Bake a batch of dried-fruit-and-cereal-based muffins (look for recipes online or on the cereal box) and enjoy ’em en route with a container of milk or a low-fat latté.
Excuse #2: No appetite
You don’t eat breakfast because: ‘Nothing appeals to me! I’m just not into breakfast.’
May we suggest: Thinking outside the box. Why not try something less breakfast-y?
Try a liquid breakfast: Whip up a homemade smoothie, suggests nutritionist Fyshe. Blend low-fat yogurt, a banana and berries with low-fat milk, soy milk or juice.
Or think small: A juice-glass-sized ‘shot’ of vegetable cocktail (four ounces is easy to drink, even you’re not a fan), and a handful of almonds can get your metabolism humming until your appetite picks up.
Consider the unexpected: Try dinner leftovers. (True confession: My favourite breakfast is leftover squash-and-chickpea roti.) Last night’s pizza can be highly palatable cold or heated, and healthy too, provided you opted for a veggie pizza on a whole-wheat crust’not bacon-ham-pepperoni with extra cheese.
Excuse #3: On a diet
You don’t eat breakfast because: ‘I’m on a diet and breakfast is the easiest meal to skip. And skipped meals equals calories avoided!’
May we suggest: Rethinking this equation. Studies have actually shown eating breakfast helps, not hinders, weight loss. Eating breakfast keeps your metabolism chugging along, gives you the energy you need to live an active lifestyle, and helps to prevent cravings and overeating throughout the day.
Fyshe suggests a breakfast featuring low-glycemic index (GI) foods. These are foods that don’t significantly raise blood-glucose levels. The Canadian Diabetes Association says low GI foods keep hunger at bay longer, while also lowering your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease down the road.
Try a light but wholesome low-GI breakfast of ‘two poached or boiled eggs, with one slice of whole-grain toast and sliced melon,’ suggests Fyshe. It’ll rev you up for the day without making you feel weighed down.
Excuse #4: Morning workout
You don’t eat breakfast because: ‘I work out in the mornings and can’t eat or I’ll cramp up or feel lethargic.’
May we suggest: Downing something light. ‘Many of my clients try a banana or a glass of milk if they don’t really want to eat, and that can do the trick,’ says Fyshe. Eat a complete breakfast post-workout. (One healthy option? A slice or two of whole grain toast, natural peanut butter and fruit salad.)
In fact, says Fyshe, morning exercise is probably one of the few situations where you can justifiably put off eating breakfast (not skipping it entirely, but delaying it). ‘Some people really don’t like or benefit from eating pre-workout,’ says Fyshe. If that’s you, fine. But limit your workout to under one hour, and then fix yourself a balanced breakfast and sit down to enjoy it afterward.
Don’t miss out! Sign up for our free weekly newsletters and get nutritious recipes, healthy weight-loss tips, easy ways to stay in shape and all the health news you need, delivered straight to your inbox.