Too often, we find ourselves scrambling in the morning…either caught up in our routine or putting out fires before we even leave the house. More than once, I have ended up behind the wheel of my truck, thinking, “I’ll just grab something later” which usually ends up being MUCH later. Or maybe the popular, “Shoot. I forgot to eat breakfast…” (except I’m pretty sure “shoot” isn’t one of the words I used.) Forgot to eat? Seriously? Not cool…because there are certain times of day that are designated feeding times (my body lets me know) and when one of them gets missed, it usually doesn’t end well. Ever been there? Yeah…I thought so.
We’ve all heard that you’re supposed to eat breakfast; I mean, this isn’t a news flash. But I am still shocked by the number of people I run into that don’t eat breakfast…for a wide and still invalid variety of reasons: I’m not a morning person. I’m trying to lose weight. I’m just not hungry in the morning. Or–my favorite–I drink coffee…that’s enough, right?
Now, if this sounds like you, believe me, I understand. I also am not a morning person, generally speaking. I have also tried to lose weight by skipping meals. And very rarely am I actually hungry in the morning…and yes, I love coffee. So this is familiar territory to me. But here’s a few tidbits to chew on:
Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. Period. The starvation thing will only malfunction on you, and here’s why. When you start missing meals (especially if you are accustomed to eating food), your body starts to panic and save everything it can. What this means is it burns the lean fuel first, i.e. your muscle…the very stuff I imagine you’re trying to hang onto. It also starts stockpiling…taking all the fat it can from the food you do eat (which, if you skipped breakfast, is probably going to be something cheap, easy, and terrible for you) and stashing it away, because your body doesn’t know that you’re going to eat again later (you know, at dinner, when you order that ginormous fettucine alfredo with extra garlic bread because you’re STARVING). All it knows is that it’s famine-time and there’s no telling when that’s going to end. Short story long, when you skip meals you lose muscle and gain fat. This, I would think, is not your end-state.
The second compelling reason to eat breakfast is to jumpstart your metabolism. You’re basically priming the pump, getting your body’s digestion system in gear for the rest of the day. This doesn’t mean eat immediately (neutralizing the whole “I’m just not hungry” argument), but it does mean eat generally within 90 minutes of waking. That’s an hour and a half for you to get it together and find time to nosh on something light. Now doesn’t that sound a little more reasonable?
Part of the emphasis here is not on what most Americans consider breakfast; you don’t need to eat a huge plate of eggs with a few sausage patties and toast to call it breakfast. Even if you do feel hungry, you don’t need that much of a calorie bomb. We’re talking about jumpstarting your system, not crashing it. Try some of your leftover grains from dinner (kasha, quinoa, even brown rice can make great breakfast cereals), adding almond or rice milk, some cinnamon and fruit, maybe agave nectar if you need to sweeten it. Or perhaps a little Greek yogurt and some fruit, or if that seems like too much, a glass of juice and a banana, and throw a snack in your bag or purse for when the munchies hit mid-morning. I will often eat a yogurt and then mid-morning have a protein shake or something of the like. Either way, it doesn’t have to be a lot.
Or, you can try the super-easy recipe below for an “egg in a cup”; I’m sure some of you have seen variations of this, but I tried it out and loved it, mainly because you can customize it with whatever you want.
2 T. milk (you can use soy milk, almond milk or even water)
your choice of ingredients: veggies, bacon, spices, cheese, etc
–Coat the mug with the nonstick spray
–Add eggs and milk/water, stir
–Microwave 45 seconds, then stir again. Add any spices, salt/pepper, or veggies, etc
–Microwave for another 45 seconds, then top with cheese if desired (you can use sharp cheddar…or try a little feta or goat cheese)
–Enjoy the awesomeness!
You get a lot of benefits out of this; first of all, it’s really quick (yay!). Eggs are also considered a perfect protein, in that they have all 9 essential amino acids; they also have vitamin A, choline, and leutine (good for your peepers!) in addition to all that protein. It’s really sort of a win-win thing.
Now go eat some breakfast!