Snuggled inside the blanket that 10 minutes of extra sleep feels like heaven, doesn’t it? But those are the minutes we make up for by skipping our breakfast while rushing off to work. Consequently, we feel irritable and have that restless feeling all morning. Also, we tend to gorge on more fatty foods through the day to stave off hunger pangs.
For our body to function efficiently and carry out the basic tasks, we have to fuel it properly several times a day. In the morning, after many hours without food, it is essential to refuel in order to provide the necessary nutrients and energy to get us through the first part of the day as breakfast in itself means ‘breaking a fast’. “The body goes into hibernation post dinner and sleep, so typically an hour after waking up the body is ready for a meal, as it begins to adjust to gradual states of energy. If we don’t fuel it with food at this point, then you will experience imbalance in sugar levels and a dip in energy for sure,” says macrobiotic nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal.
Many believe that by avoiding breakfast one can lose weight. It is a myth, say the experts. In fact, when we don’t eat breakfast in the morning, our body thinks that it needs to conserve the energy it has, because it isn’t getting any more through nutrition. This slows down our metabolism, consequently decreasing the amount of calories we burn all day long. “It has been proven that breakfast intake has a direct relationship with mental health. Individuals who consumed a cereal breakfast each day were less depressed, less emotionally distressed and had lower levels of perceived stress than those who did not eat breakfast each day. Those who consumed breakfast had a healthier lifestyle than the others,” explains, senior nutritionist Gargi Sharma.
Eating a healthy breakfast, on the other hand, results in better concentration at work, more energy and less cravings mid-morning, which usually results in unhealthy snacking.
Breakfast should include a healthy source of protein and plenty of fibre. Low-fat meat, low-fat dairy products, or nuts, nut butters and eggs are a good source of protein. Highfibre foods are whole grains and vegetables. A bowl of brown rice porridge, millet poha, or roti made of any of the millets could constitute your whole-grain breakfast, which gives you sustained sugars for at least eight hours. Fruits also act as an important component; however they should be spaced out with the grain for an hour before or after. Sabherwal advises you to avoid white bread, as it is refined flour and yeast and does nothing for you nutritionally.
If your excuse for not eating a breakfast is that you don’t have time to cook, then you can go for easy options like one glass of milk with one fruit and a handful of nuts or bowl of fruits sprinkled with flaxseeds. Other options are: Whole-grain cereal topped with fresh chopped fruit eaten with skimmed milk; two hard-boiled eggs eaten with two slices of multigrain bread; two chapattis with egg or any leftover vegetable from the previous night; a large bowl of oatmeal with nuts and skimmed milk; paneer sandwich (multi-grain bread) or paneer-stuffed roti; sprouts chaat or kala chana chaat. These recipes are simple to cook and not very time-consuming. You can also pack your breakfast and eat it at office but make sure you have glass of milk or juice before you leave. “Preserved and frozen foods need to be avoided as they have high content of salt and other preservatives that are not good for health. These preservatives lead to water retention problem and various nutritional deficiencies,”says Sharma