If you’re a busy working individual and your mornings start early, it is easy to skip breakfast, especially when you want to sneak in those extra couple of minutes of sleep before driving in that early AM traffic. Consequences for skipping your morning meal are felt once you arrive to work. A few yawns start to kick in, along with periods of headaches, affecting your ability to concentrate, which ultimately affects your performance at work. Sure, you could blame your lack of sleep. However, that still doesn’t excuse you from tackling that low energy in the morning.
Is breakfast important? Breakfast is important enough not to skip. After all, it is called “break-fast,” literally meaning to break the fast from the time you’ve slept. In the morning, you have gone without food all night (up to 12 hours), which means that your glycogen stores are low. Glycogen is how glucose, the body’s preferred energy source, is stored in the body. Eating within the first hour of waking up helps to replenish your supply of glucose in addition to providing essential nutrients needed to keep up your body’s energy until your next meal (2).
Skipping breakfast will throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. You’re more likely to overeat during the day and may turn to foods that are high in sugar and fats (1). Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism, which means more calories being burned throughout the day!
What to look for. Aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs, protein, and fiber. Carbs will give you that immediate energy. Protein helps store that energy you need for later in the day. Fiber will keep you feeling full. Here are a few ideas (3):
Slowly digested carbs will keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day and also help to avoid mid-morning crashes. Stick to carbs high in fiber. Try granola, whole grain cereal or bread, and steel-cut oatmeal.
Fruits are another slowly digested carb and are full of fiber. Blueberries provide a high amount of fiber. Bananas are known to provide the most energy. Add fruit to your morning meal for a refreshing taste to start off your day!
Protein also prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes. Yogurt, eggs, and nuts are common breakfast proteins. Try greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt- it’s packed with more protein! Chia seeds are a complete protein that are easy to sprinkle on top of any breakfast item.
I have no time to make breakfast! This is only an excuse. Grabbing that cup of coffee along with a store-bought pastry as you head out the door may be your easy solution for a quick breakfast, but may not be the most ideal for lasting energy.
Prepare for the morning- Make a smoothie the night before, store it in the freezer, and leave it out to thaw before getting ready for the day, or make refrigerated overnight oats so that it is “on-the-go” ready for the next morning.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be big and bold- Grab a whole fruit on your way out the door, along with a bag of nuts and sliced cheese. Toast up slices of whole wheat bread and spread a nut butter on top or even an avocado (very high in fiber!).
There are many quick and time efficient breakfast hacks. Get creative and start your day full of energy!