Even if you’ve done nothing more than lie around for eight hours, odds are you need some sustenance when the ninth hour rolls around.
That’s the scenario that greets most of us every morning.
Despite that, plenty of people don’t eat breakfast – though the trend toward morning eating appears to be increasing.
“Eating breakfast fuels your body and brain,” says Laurie Mitchell, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, who oversees Colonial Life’s corporate wellbeing programs. “Personally, I think more clearly and have more energy after breakfast. If I didn’t eat breakfast, I would definitely be more irritable – because I’d be hungry.”
Of course, what you eat matters. If you snarf down a donut, you’re not doing yourself any good. Might as well skip it and eat a healthy lunch.
And if you just aren’t hungry at 7 a.m. don’t force-feed yourself. Maybe later in the morning you will be, and you can eat something then. Even a small breakfast can help to prevent overeating or impulse eating later in the day.
To be sure, several studies in recent years show that skipping breakfast doesn’t necessarily keep the pounds off. But trying to stay trim shouldn’t be the main reason to eat or not eat. Instead, your health should be top of mind.
One reason eating breakfast is a good idea has to do with controlling blood sugar. Blood sugar is your body’s fuel and it comes from food.
The pancreas produces insulin faster in the morning, which helps lower blood sugar. But it starts to slow in the late afternoon and early evening. Eating accordingly helps keep blood-sugar levels stable – which is good for your heart and brain.
Here are a few food combos Mitchell recommends to start your day:
- Whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter and banana
- Plain low-fat yogurt with fresh berries, melon, slivered almonds and some honey for a touch of sweetness
- Egg sandwich on a whole-grain English muffin with tomato, arugula, avocado and a slice of cheese
Journalist Mitra Malek has taught yoga regularly since 2006. She was a senior editor for Yoga Journal and still does research for the magazine on wellness, fitness and nutrition. Learn more at www.mitramalek.com.