You’ve probably been told time and time again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But do you know why? If you’ve been asleep for 6+ hours, naturally your fluids, nutrients and sugars will be extremely low – you haven’t eaten for over 6 hours! And then you wander why you can’t function so early in the morning, it’s because you haven’t topped up your nutrients. Studies have shown that the impairment of neurological functions such as motor skills (brain/physical interaction), information processing and memory are all linked to hypoglycaemia (lack of sugar) and under-nutrition.
Sports scientists have known for some time that optimised nutrition can sustain work output and concentration over extended periods of high physical and mental stress. Basically, the right breakfast helps your memory and your ability to focus and concentrate!
There are a number of reasons why people skip breakfast; no time, not hungry (doesn’t make sense to me either!)…Whatever the reason, breakfast should not be skipped. Ever heard of the saying ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a peasant’? Well, turns out, it’s true! If you eat a big dinner, and head to bed shortly after, your food doesn’t have enough time to digest, which can leave you feeling nauseated and bloated in the morning, as well as ruining your sleep. So, ideally, a small dinner a few hours before bed, will give you the perfect night sleep, and just the right amount of hunger in the morning to have a good breakfast. Having a glass of water before bed also reduces the amount of acid build-up overnight. A good breakfast also makes you less likely to snack during the day.
You don’t need a big breakfast for it to be a good one, as long as you get the nutrients and sugars you need, you’re good! The nation’s favourite breakfast is a cooked one – although during the week, over 40% of people opt for cereals, presumably because they are quicker to have. Fortunately, cereals these days come as breakfast bars and all sorts, so they can be eaten on the go – they have better nutrients and sugars than what they used to as well.
So what should a healthy breakfast contain? Experts say it should contain at least 5 grams of fibre, one serving of calcium (equal to a cup of milk or yogurt), and some protein and fat. Eggs are a good source of protein, if you have time to cook some in the mornings. Some cereals like Cheerios contain the perfect balance of sugar, fibre, protein and fat to keep you going till lunch-time. Eating breakfast at the office is often the most convenient, so you have to think about your options to ‘grab and go’, which can include things like cereal bars and fruit.
Most work places have started ‘breakfast clubs’, prompting employees to eat breakfast. This not only helps the employees focus from the start of the day, but improves work morale and gives you a better working relationship with colleagues.
All in all, a good breakfast, with the right nutrients will keep you going until lunch, and keep your brain fully functioning! So don’t think you need a big breakfast to get the nutrients you need, there are plenty of ‘grab and go’ options, and plenty to take into work!
Healthy Breakfast Image: Food and Health
Cereal Image: Peanut Butter Fingers