I can’t think of a better way to begin than to focus on how to start the day right. Breakfast. Since we’re starting from the beginning, it only feels right to start with the definition. What does the word breakfast mean? Funnily enough, it’s something I never questioned until I began writing this. It’s defined as breaking the fasting period from your night of sleep¹. Up to 8 hours no food when we’re awake feels almost impossible for most, (myself definitely included), but then why do so many decide to skip breakfast in the morning when they wake up?
Growing up, I grouped myself in the ‘I’m not a breakfast person’ category. Throughout school, university and my work life there always seemed to be something more important than having breakfast when I woke up. Whether that was because of me oversleeping from a revision night or just being so wrapped up in prepping for the day that I conveniently forgot. Unfortunately, turns out I wasn’t the only one, with up to 25% of Americans regularly skipping breakfast². Coming from a biology background, I was keen to see the science behind this. I came across a research paper by Hitomi Ogata and the team in 2019 on the impact of skipping breakfast and having a sedentary (little physical exercise) lifestyle for 6 days on energy metabolism. Unsurprisingly, they concluded that those who skipped breakfast and had a sedentary lifestyle had more abnormal glucose fluctuations which could ultimately lead to Type 2 Diabetes³.
Despite knowing the consequences, breaking out of the skipping breakfast habit was a big challenge for me. Initially, it was difficult for me to consciously prioritise it every morning after neglecting this meal so much in my life. Over time, I could feel the deteriorating impact on my energy levels, and knew I needed to make time for this. I needed to take that first step (or rather, bite). Within a week of consistent breakfast eating, I quickly noticed the change in my energy levels. The increased energy levels and boost I felt in the morning was incredible and it made me think just how much I’d been missing out on through neglecting this before.
However, the habit of eating breakfast was only half the challenge, what I ate was the other half. First thing that comes to mind is caffeine. Being British, I can’t agree more that nothing beats a warm cuppa. As popular as drinking tea and coffee in the mornings may be, drinking this on an empty stomach may not go down well. When we drink tea and coffee, the stomach produces digestive juices to break this down. The mixture of both tea/coffee alone and digestive juices create a highly acidic mixture, therefore the presence of both on an empty stomach can cause acidity and/or heartburn4. However, not to worry as tea and and coffee are not directly the problem (phew), it’s the timing that’s crucial. Try not to drink tea or coffee on an empty stomach in the morning if you can. Pair your cuppa with some food. I’ve linked 3 healthy, delicious tried and tested breakfast meal ideas below from BBC Good Food. Definitely give them a try and and let me know if you love em’ just as much as I do!
I had never been the biggest fan of porridge growing up, but these oats are definitely a game changer. With a 10min prep time the night before, your brekkie will be freshly ready for you as soon as you’re up. This one’s great for all the late risers.
Here’s another oat recipe which I’ve been using a lot recently for my breakfasts. This banana oat smoothie is perfect for when you’re short on time, with a 2 min prep time. It leaves you with plenty of time to get on with the rest of your day. To boost this up, pair with some scrambled eggs or a simple toast to get a balance.
Avocado on toast
A deliciously creamy avocado spread on toast, definitely one of my favourites. With only a 5 min prep time, it’s quick and easy to do in the morning. For all the cheese lovers out there like me, feel free to add a light sprinkle of cheese on top too.
Whatever your current level of breakfast consumption is, I hope you enjoy trying out these three quick and easy recipes and that it encourages you to have healthy (and delicious) breakfasts every morning. No matter how busy life is, breakfast should always be a priority, especially after fasting for up to 8 hours throughout the night.
- https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/110/1/41/5490310? redirectedFrom=fulltext