Do you skip breakfast?
You’ve heard it before: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” - but WHY?
Start by breaking down the word: “break - fast”. This meal breaks the fasting period that your body experiences during sleep.
Think of your Body + Mind as the MACHINE and nutrition (food) as your FUEL. That fuel plays a crucial role in your mood and performance throughout the day.
If you’re like me, you aren’t hungry in the morning. Your body needs time to “wake up,” and you prefer to hold off until lunch before nourishing yourself, right?
FUEL THE MACHINE
We don’t eat because we feel hunger in our stomach. That’s simply the body’s way of TELLING US we need fuel. Rather, we eat to provide nourishment and keep the engine going!
If you’re a “cereal” breakfast skipper - see what we did there :-) - you likely experience an energy crash before lunch. You might feel groggy, tired, or simply uninspired throughout your morning.
That’s where breakfast comes in clutch. It provides a source of energy by giving your body nutrients that it hasn’t received since your last meal.
Think about it: if you eat dinner at 6:00 PM, and don’t eat until lunch the following day, that’s 18 HOURS without fuel. Would you go through an entire 18-hour day without eating? No chance.
Although you may not feel “hungry” in the morning, your body is yearning for fuel.
And if you’re an athlete - does preventing your body from receiving adequate nutrition sound like a way to INCREASE athletic performance?
Of course not. Those morning workouts are much less productive on an empty stomach.
Aside from physical fatigue, improper fueling of the body has serious negative effects on your cognitive processes.
President of the International Society for Sports Nutrition Tim Ziegenfuss spoke with stack.com on the importance of breakfast:
“When you don't eat breakfast, your metabolism slows down, limiting your ability to burn calories. This results in less energy, which inhibits your brain's ability to think and focus and reduces muscular strength and endurance.”
While your body lacks the ability to perform optimally, skipping breakfast also results in mental ineptitude.
For students + employees, your ability to focus and think critically is stiffened. Your decision-making is impaired as your body is forced to use energy elsewhere.
YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M HANGRY
Have you ever been “hangry” (the unfortunate combo of hunger + anger)?
I have. And it isn’t pretty.
That feeling directly ties in to your lack of nourishment. Your body wants the fuel that it should have received hours earlier.
Skipping that ten minute meal now has a lingering effect on your PHYSICAL + MENTAL performance, as well as your MOOD.
You don’t need to be a world-class chef to eat a healthy breakfast.
Tim Zeigenfuss of the Int’l Society for Sports Nutrition recommends eating a balanced breakfast of about 500 calories ( stack.com ).
Here are a few examples of quick breakfast options that take less than 15 minutes:
Bowl of oatmeal with fruit
Egg omelette with veggies
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Many athletes are known to prep their breakfast the night before. For example, smoothies can be pre-made and frozen. Meat can be pre-cooked and tossed into an omelette in the morning.
HAVE A PLAN
Like anything else, having a PLAN will keep you on track.
“I don’t have enough time” is not an excuse. Easy, nutritious options are available - and MUCH better than fizzling out by 11:00 AM.
Start by making a food log. Schedule meals ahead of time as opposed to “figuring it out” in the morning. It’s much easier to tackle a plan that’s already laid out.
BE CONSISTENT - this is a process that should take place habitually, not just when you “have time”.
Keep your hunger on the field.
Make fueling your body + mind a priority and FEEL how they thank you in return!