The alarm goes off and you are rushing around preparing for a busy day ahead, whether you have children to get ready for school, or you've got to get organised for a morning meeting, by the time you’ve watched the news, brushed your teeth and sorted your make-up, you are already exhausted – sound familiar?
It’s no wonder so many busy people end up skipping breakfast and just grabbing an expensive coffee which is drunk in the car on the way. But there are many reasons why this habit is bad for our health.
A Plant-based Breakfast Provides Many Benefits to Our Health and Wellbeing
If you think about it properly, when you wake up in the morning, your body has had no fuel since your evening meal the night before – potentially 12 hours beforehand – so your body is in starvation. Think about the words – “break” “fast” – literally the meal which breaks the fast you have been on while sleeping. You need the energy to kick-start your system and get your body ready for the day ahead.
According to nutritionists, a healthy breakfast should give you around 30% of your daily calorie requirements. It should provide us with energy, protein, calcium, iron, fibre and B vitamins which are all needed to get you through the day. If your body doesn’t receive these first thing, studies have shown your body is less effective at taking them on during the rest of the day.
How Eating Breakfast Helps You Lose Weight
If you skip breakfast you are not providing your body with what it needs for energy and you will soon get hungry and are more likely to then reach for high sugar, high fat snacks, to compensate. People who skip breakfast tend to end up reaching for the snacks around 10am which doesn’t help if you are trying to lose weight!
In terms of time, breakfast really needs to be eaten between 45 minutes and two hours of waking up. This timing gives you the chance to put the needed fuel into your body to make sure your metabolism is balanced throughout the day. It is also the premium time for your body to absorb any of the carbohydrates you consume, which helps balance out your insulin levels. All of these aspects mean breakfast really sets your body up for the day and can help curb those mid-morning sugar cravings.
In a study it was revealed that people who not only ate breakfast, but made it their largest meal, lost almost 18 pounds over a three-month period. The other people, who took part in the study, eating the same calories during the day but most of these for their evening meal, lost only around seven pounds. This study was published in Obesity.
I have found from my own experience that eating this way helped me to lose those stubborn last few pounds. It would appear that the old adage ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ could be the best way to lose weight and stay healthy!
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Other Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
Breakfast brings a large number of health benefits, besides weight loss – providing more reasons why it really is important not to skip this particular meal.
Studies have proven that children who eat breakfast do better at school as they are better able to concentrate and behave well. If it has this benefit for our children, then it will do the same for us. The carbohydrates in your breakfast provide a steady and readily available supply of energy for the brain and central nervous system. The brain, in particular, must be supplied with glucose constantly in order to function properly.
This helps to improve memory, concentration and mood and also lowers stress levels. We all know that feeling of anger that rises up through being hungry. Breakfast can help us avoid this.
Breakfast is the first supply of energy your body receives when you wake up, making it part of your daily required calorie intake. A good nutritious breakfast will give you all the energy you need to take you through to lunchtime and should be around 300/400 calories, as a general rule. If you think about the energy you burn, you need the most in the morning and you need the least in the evening, when you are more likely to be sat on the sofa relaxing. Make breakfast your energy priority.
In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a published study revealed that not eating breakfast could actually increase the risk of diabetes. The study showed that people who did eat breakfast between 0 - 6 times/week, were at far higher risk of developing the disease than those who ate it daily.
Fab Ideas for Quick and Nutritious Plant-Based Breakfasts for Busy People
So it’s all very well telling you, why you should eat breakfast, and why it’s good for you, but realistically you probably knew most of those things already and yet, you were still skipping? Knowing you need to eat breakfast, doesn’t mean you suddenly gain time in the morning to start preparing and making amazing morning meals does it? That’s why I have come up with some tips for tasty breakfasts that are super quick to make.
An Energy Bar and Fruit
The combination of a piece of fruit and energy bar creates a balanced breakfast, providing fibre and vitamins. What can be quicker than just peeling a wrapper and a piece of fruit and eating them straight away? Just doing this could make a big difference to your health.
There are many instant porridge sachets around now – all you need to do is add water and microwave for a few minutes and then you have a healthy breakfast. Avoid the ones with added sugar and flavours, to keep the calories down but a plain version provides an easy breakfast virtually instantly. You can always add interest and flavour by trying out different toppings such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds and nuts.
Go for plain soy or coconut yoghurt and add in fresh fruit and some nuts and seeds, for a nutritious, quick and healthy breakfast on the run. Again, this only takes a minute or so to prepare and can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
Fibre can bring health benefits and help you feel full so opting for a high fibre cereal will provide your body with a good start to the day. Make sure you avoid the traditional sugar filled cereals as these will increase your calorie intake while not necessarily helping provide what your body needs. Go instead for the more natural cereals that have no processing and no added salt or sugar for optimal nutrition.
For many people, a busy lifestyle means rushing in the morning and skipping breakfast is a common, but bad habit to get into.
Breakfast can make a big difference to our health and weight, reaping the benefits for us and there are many options which are quick and easy to make, from smoothies, to energy bars, from cereal to porridge, so no more excuses!