SpunOut.ie volunteer Kelly McGill explains the health benefits of eating breakfast in the morning.
If you are not a morning person maybe the last thing you want to do is prepare breakfast. Just making a simple tea/ coffee might feel like enough for you.
However, they do not say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for no reason!
Our bodies are just like cars, in the way that they need fuel to run and keep them going. You would never let your car run without fuel, so why do it to your own body?
In a study done by Campus.ie, it showed that only 34.73% of students had breakfast in the morning, with lunch (52.82%) and dinner (59.71%) reaching over the halfway mark.
This means that those students wait until lunchtime to fill their bodies with the much needed nutrients to keep them functioning.
There are many reasons why people skip breakfast and here are the common meal dodgers:
Breakfast- Getting up too late, not feeling hungry, the effort of preparing a meal.
Lunch- Too much to do at lunchtime, tied up in meetings, forgetting lunch, not having cash.
Dinner- meeting after work, after school studies, too tired to make food.
Here are some cons when it comes to dodging breakfast:
Lower energy levels- it has struck lunchtime and you are now feeling sluggish and tired, not forgetting embarrassed as your stomach has growled through a college lecture/ tutorial etc. This is because you have not given your body the fuel to start the day.
Lower concentration- You have slept for eight hours, your body is empty and when you wake up you decided to skip breakfast. It can be really difficult to concentrate throughout the morning as your body has not got any nutrients.
With this lack of concentration, you will start to become less interested and aware of what is going on. This can lead to poor levels of engagement in class and bad exam results etc.
Increase in weight gain- Many people think skipping breakfast is an easy way to lose weight. Minus a meal, minus the calories right?
When you have breakfast you are filling yourself with important nutrients which will set a pattern for healthy eating.
If you find yourself skipping breakfast you may tend to move towards unhealthy snacks throughout the day that are high in fat and calories just because it’s easier and faster.
Caffeine cravings- Coffee might give you a kick start to the morning, as most people say they cannot start the day without it.
Caffeine however produces adrenaline, which sends some of the body’s stored glucose to the brain. Cut down on the caffeine and replace it with a glass of juice or even just water (preferably warm with a slice of lemon).
So you have decided that from now on you will make it your business to have breakfast. But where do you start?
First of all, you need to know what a healthy breakfast should consist of:
Whole Grain- Brown bread, crackers, melba toast, Muesli, whole grain cereals.
Lean Protein- boiled eggs, peanut butter, fish, poultry, lean meat.
Fruit and vegetables- Fresh fruit and juices (the best juices should say without added sugar) or freshly squeeze your own.
Dairy- milk, low fat yogurts.
Tips for breakfast dodgers
Prepare- If you cannot get into the habit of making yourself something in the morning, prepare it the night before. Whether its dicing up fresh fruit for a fruit salad/ smoothie or just picking up some mixed nuts on the way home for work/college, preparation is key.
Start off small- If you are somebody who is never hungry in the morning, you do not have to start off with a big breakfast. A small piece of fruit and even a yogurt could be easier for you to stomach.
Learn how to substitute- Many get up and go people enjoy a coffee and muffin as it is quick and simple. Learn how to substitute for the better by swapping the coffee and muffin for fresh juice and a bran muffin for example.
For more articles from SpunOut.ie on breakfast planning and handy recipes, just click on the links below:
Kelly is a SpunOut.ie volunteer and also is one of the founders of The Women's Sports Journal - @KellyAnnMcGill