Yet 31 million Americans do not eat breakfast!
In the Journal for Obesity Studies, women who front–loaded their calories toward earlier in the day i.e. – breakfast, tended to lose more weight than other women whose calories were distributed towards the end of the day. However, the quality of the calories counts, too. Keep in mind, many consider energy drinks and sugar-laden specialty coffee drinks with whipped cream to be “breakfast.” A large frappichino made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream has almost 500 calories, 18 grams of fat, and the sugar equivalent of 18 chips Ahoy cookies! Well shiver my timbers!
So what does this mean? That skipping breakfast might not be the best choice in the long term. And eating a crappy breakfast isn’t too smart a choice either. As a society, we tout the importance of breakfast, yet 44% of us do not have anything to eat in the morning. An even more tragic statistic is that nearly half of the population feels that trying to make breakfast healthy takes the enjoyment out of it.
In our recent history, the idea of eating “healthy” has almost morphed into some form of punishment where “healthy” is slurping down some premixed diarrhea-inducing “detox” swill every morning with grim determination, feeling famished 30 minutes later, white-knuckling it until lunch where we feast on carrot sticks, a can of tuna, and if we’re really livin’ it up; a dollop of fat free mayo. (Unless synthetic preservatives, low-grade oils, sugar, and undisclosed “natural ingredients” are considered healthy these days, there is no reason anyone on this planet should partake of this particular condiment. Try making home made mayo or just using a smear of avocado or hummus instead!) If breakfast and lunch are full of nothing but deprivation, it is usually by dinner time that we are all sorts of hangry and fresh out of will power. It is at this point that we end up giving into temptation at the local drive thru or take out.
We feel guilty, we feel like crap, and most likely, despite our best intentions, we do the same thing again the next day.
Food does not have to be awful and eating should be an enjoyable experience. Somewhere along the line though, as a culture we have developed a psychosis around food and even the way we talk about and interact with food has become full of labels, distortion, guilt, and shame.
“No thanks, Brad – I only eat clean now.”
“Well I did blow on this cheesy-poof after it fell on the floor…”
Why is it so difficult to commit to a healthy breakfast? Why for so many, is it a punishment- going-on-torture to have a little healthy somethin’ somethin’ before we officially start our day?
Aside from just not being excited about breakfast, it seems that there is one main reason we skip breakfast: not enough time. We may have visions of spinach and goat cheese omelettes floating in our heads, but when reality kicks in; pop tarts it is!
A wonderful way to save time in the morning AND have a healthy breakfast is do a little prep the night before. Remember, we want it to be easy and enjoyable to have a healthy breakfast. One of my favorite make-ahead recipes that can be thrown together in about 5-10 minutes (hands on with 20 minutes in the oven) is a simple breakfast casserole that will set you up for the week. You can toss in any kind of veggie you like, it can be portioned out and eaten on the go if need be, it can be doubled, it can be frozen, it can be put together entirely during commercial breaks, it’s filling and healthy, and most importantly, it will make your taste buds happy!
When we have a little more time in the morning, things will go a lot more smoothly – the whole dynamic of the day changes. When our days begin with good nutrition we have set a solid foundation and our bodies thank us. Say goodbye to blood sugar spikes, cravings, mid-morning munches, and late-afternoon brain fog. Doesn’t it always seem if we are running late, the rest of the day is spent trying to catch up? A little peace and nutrition in the morning goes a long way in helping us to make much better choices throughout the day.
Next time we will be talking about how all it takes is one In-A -Gadda- Da-Vida the night before to help get on the right track in the morning.
I don’t think he knows about second breakfast…
-J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring