The Breakfast of Champions
Modern science and common sense seem to be in a constant battle about the importance of breakfast when it comes to energy levels, concentration, learning, and weight loss. In the past, eggs and grains were the main items at the breakfast table, whereas contemporary choices include fruit or protein smoothies, breakfast bars, hearty juices, and even variations of burritos. But most would agree: Skipping the first meal of the day can derail your body’s natural rhythm of fasting and eating. At the beginning of the day, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work at their highest potential is usually low. Plain and simple: A healthy breakfast helps replenish your blood sugar levels.
If you’re a breakfast eater, you already know that a good breakfast can provide a boost of enough energy for the whole day. But it shouldn’t consist of empty calories that leave you feeling hungry a few hours later. The German Nutrition Society recommends that breakfast should always include these four components – grains, dairy, fruit/raw vegetables and a drink like coffee or tea, preferably warm. The grains can be a bowl of cold cereal, oatmeal, or bread (whole grain varieties are best). Yogurt, cheese or milk would count as a dairy product (soy or nut-based substitutes if following a vegetarian or vegan diet). A bit of fresh fruit or veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers are good choices) to pump you with vitamins. And a warm beverage to wash it all down.
Although not ideal, the occasional toasted bread with butter or even a sweet breakfast is not off-limits. But limit these to 1 or 2 servings per week. The important things are nutrition and variety. So, if you scramble up some eggs in the morning, you probably shouldn’t repeat with an omelet or quiche for lunch.
You don’t have to pile up your plate at breakfast, but it’s a good idea to have a bit of something within an hour of waking up. Even leftovers from last night’s dinner might be ok. The main thing is to resist a sugary pastry or doughnut. The ideal mix would be to have four main groups represented on your plate: complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Carbs will give you energy right away, and the protein will kick in later to push you through the day. And a rich fiber will keep you feeling full and may prevent some needless snacking. Remember this breakfast tip when you’re planning what to put on your breakfast plate. Start your day off right!