The holiday season is now over and most of us are back to our busy daily routines. However, you might have noticed that after a period of feasting and indulging over Christmas and New Year, it is harder than ever to stay on top of regular meal patterns and you’re feeling more hungry and irritated than before.
To get your routine back in place and give yourself enough fuel to last for the day (or, at least until lunchtime!), it is important that you re-consider breakfast and, perhaps, bring its glory back to everyday life. Although it is ever-so-tempting to snooze the alarm that extra couple of minutes, I would like to challenge you to allow time for having a good, healthy breakfast every day for two weeks and see if it brings about any change in how you feel.
So, why is eating breakfast worth the effort?
Between 7-9am the stomach is in its optimum phase - meaning whatever food you eat at that time will be easily digested and moved on to the intestines ready for absorption of nutrients. Pack your breakfast with healthy fats and proteins or even a little more complex carbohydrates, as they will be used throughout the day ahead of you. Having your main meal late in the evening may result in feelings of indigestion, heaviness or bloating and, in long term, may lead to weight gain.
Making sure you eat breakfast within the first couple of hours of waking up helps you control hunger and cravings for the whole day. Once you wake up after an overnight fast the blood sugar levels start to fall. Although initially you may not feel hungry, it is usually within the next couple of hours that you’ll experience a huge dip in energy levels often combined with irritation and/or shakiness. At that stage, you’re more likely to make unpopular food-related decisions and crave for simple sugars to balance the blood glucose levels quickly. This starts a vicious cycle of peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels that have an impact on your mood, energy levels and weight.
"Having a cooked breakfast at home allows you to set your mindset for the day."
By having a hearty, nutritious breakfast and, therefore, looking after your basic needs, you’re getting ready for a day full of activities, joy and stress. It’s likely that the needs of other family members might get the priority later in the day so make your mornings your new ‘me time’.
How to make breakfast better?
Plan it – think of what you’re having for breakfast on most days of the week and make sure you have all ingredients available. You can also prep for breakfast the night before, which will speed things up in the morning,
Eat cooked (warm) breakfast as often as possible – it is easier to digest and much more filling than cold food,
Avoid meals and products that contain simple carbohydrates – such as bread with jam, cereal with milk or fruit yoghurt. Instead, opt for protein-rich meals, such as eggs, beans or organic sausages,
Don’t force yourself to eat breakfast if you don’t feel like it early in the morning, but make sure you have a meal within the first two hours of waking up. If you can’t have breakfast at home, have it as soon as you get to work,
If you haven’t got much time in the morning – reach for dinner leftovers. Soups make also a great breakfast alternative, especially in winter,
For take-away breakfast, invest in good quality thermal flasks and non-leaking glass storage containers,
When in doubts – reach for good old porridge, just make it more exciting and glamorous with different nuts, seeds and fruit. It can be prepared for a couple of days ahead,
In the summer, o for a smoothie that can be thick enough to eat with a spoon – you’ll be fuller for longer,
Try to combine main macronutrients in your breakfast – best combinations are protein with fats or carbohydrates with fats,
Allow time for breakfast, sit down and chew it well, even when the world is on fire.
Want more inspirations?
Sign up to a Healthy Breakfast Cooking Class that will take place on Friday, 2nd February 2018 at 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the heart of Winchester. The class is taught in small groups (up to 3 participants) and cost £45 per person (all inclusive). For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook page: www.facebook.com/YourOptimumNutrition.
About the Author:
Emilia Skrzypek is a CNHC-registered nutritional therapist, passionate cook and a founder of Your Optimum Nutrition. She helps clients develop personalised, balanced approach to eating to enhance health, body shape and well-being. She offers one-to-one nutritional programmes in Winchester and online, which are particularly helpful for people with digestive problems, including IBS, and for those with food allergies.