Monday, April 4, 2011

The Importance of Breakfast: But I don't wanna!

Alright, give me your best excuse- why don't you eat breakfast?

Ok, well I've probably heard them all:
  • "I don't like the food options"
  • "It's too early to eat"
  • "I don't have enough time"
  • "I'm not hungry"
  • "I'm trying to lose weight so I'm cutting the calories out at breakfast"
The fact of the matter is that breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day.  Why?  Well it wakes your body up from it's state of hibernation overnight and starts your metabolism.  It's actually one of the fundamentals rules of losing weight!  Not eating breakfast is like trying to run your car with a nearly empty (or sometimes completely empty) gas tank.  You'll not only be hungry sooner in the day, but you'll also have a harder time focusing throughout the morning.  You just don't function as optimally as you would if you had a "good" breakfast.

I can always tell when I haven't had a "good" breakfast.  I'm usually up by 6:30AM and have breakfast around 7 before I head to work.  Now, if I had an appropriate breakfast (now this doesn't always mean a typical breakfast food) I'm not usually hungry again until 10:45-11ish.  If I didn't have a great breakfast, I'm usually scrambling for something closer to 9:30.

So, what's a "good" breakfast?  I personally try to focus on protein and fiber for breakfast, because they stay with you the longest and I try to minimize the sugar (sad to say because my favorite cereal is lightly sweetened shredded wheat, but they don't keep my full very long).   Some of my typical breakfasts include:
  • Oatmeal with some sort of fruit (homemade applesauce, blueberries or bananas)
  • English muffin with peanut butter or with a hard boiled egg (Time saving tip: if you hard boil half a dozen on the weekend, you'll be prepped for several breakfasts!)
  • Muffin omelet-  these are super simple to make, basically whip up eggs with your favorite omelet fillings (cheese, meat, veggies), pour into a muffin tin and bake. I freeze them and then pull out an individual serving, just toss in the micro for a minute and enjoy!
  • Sandwich or wrap with lean meat - I'll opt for turkey or Canadian bacon and veggies (like I said, breakfast doesn't always have to be "breakfast foods")
  • Protein smoothie - I use milk, frozen fruit and some protein powder (I have, on occasion, tossed in peanut butter and cocoa powder- it's like dessert!)
I also add in a cup of milk and a piece of fruit (grapefruit, bananas, or berries) to round out my meal.

Typically, I don't run first thing in the morning, usually that only happens on race days.  Sure, in those situations I have some of the same excuses; I'm not hungry, it's too early (more or less it's my nerves causing the biggest issue!) but it's important to fuel your workouts.  So, if you're an early morning workout type, be sure to have something small first - toast with some peanut butter, a banana, even a small protein bar.  Then after your workout be sure to eat some more to round out your breakfast.

So for this week, make yourself a commitment to working breakfast into your schedule.  Set a goal for the number of days you're going to eat breakfast this week, challenge yourself but make it reasonable.  If you never eat breakfast, trying to eat breakfast everyday this week may be too challenging, aim for 3-4 days.  Identify foods that you like and help yourself by prepping as much as you can in advance (then you can't have an excuse of having no time!)  It does take a some effort, but you can do it!


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