The most important meal of the day
You’ve probably heard people often say “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Yet statistics show that 10% of Americans, that’s 31 million people, skip their first meal. There are many reasons why you might skip breakfast but as a registered dietitian nutritionist what I hear most often is “Why am I not hungry in the morning”.
The question is why? You would think that after a solid night’s sleep you would wake up to a growling stomach.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Understand why breakfast is so important
Energy sets the tone for your day. Eating a well-balanced meal that includes good sources of vitamins and minerals will allow you to focus on your tasks for the better portion of your morning. Breakfast also jump starts your metabolism. Getting your metabolism started bright and early keeps it moving at a faster pace.
If you skip breakfast you might find yourself starving by lunch. That starving sensation may cause you to overeat at your next meal leading to dips and spikes in your blood glucose. Overtime, if your body pumps out a ton of insulin to compensate for that surge of blood sugar, your pancreas can burn out, leading to diabetes.
Controlling your blood sugar is important for everyone, not just for people with diabetes. The best way to control blood sugar is by consuming multiple, small, wholesome meals and snacks throughout the day. Breakfast is exactly where to start.
But here’s where the question arises, “What if I’m not hungry in the morning?”
There was probably a point in your life when you were hungry in the morning and the issue may lie in your routine and/or your misconception about early morning eating.
Scenario No.1: your morning routine
You wake up in the morning with barely enough time to shower, get dressed and head out the door to work. You don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast, so you figure you’ll wait until you get to the office.
But then you get to the office and it’s chaotic. You are busy putting out “fires” and don’t have the time to eat.
Scenario No.2: you are on a diet
You want to lose weight and you are on a diet. You find that when you eat breakfast, you end up eating more food throughout the entire day. So, if you skip breakfast, you’ll eat less and lose more weight.
What do both these scenarios have in common?
In each of these situations, you are ignoring your natural biological hunger signals. And when you ignore these signals long enough, they actually silence. You stop hearing them. So it’s not that you’re not hungry in the morning, but instead your actions have caused those hunger signals to atrophy.
Retrain your body to hear these signals again
Start by incorporating a light breakfast in the morning, such as a yogurt and a fruit. Once you begin to get used to eating in the morning again, you will start to hear your hunger signals and respond with a more complete breakfast meal. This will help you increase your energy, mood, be more alert throughout the day and yes, even lose weight.
How should I start my morning?
If you’re looking for advice on what to include in your morning meal, here’s what I recommend; choose 2 – 3 foods from the different food groups. This includes whole grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and proteins.
Get up 15 minutes earlier than you normally do so you have enough time to prepare and eat your breakfast. Or, partially prepare food (i.e. chopping the veggies for your omelette) the night before to save time. Also, head to the grocery store and seek out portable items that you can take with you on the go – so there are no excuses if you wake up a little late!
Getting your daily breakfast is important and getting your body on the right track will help you feel your best for the whole day. Before long, you’ll be looking forward to your morning meal. Start today by planning your breakfast for tomorrow.
Read more from Expert Bonnie Giller.