New York Times health columnist , Gretchen Reynolds, after looking at recent research concluded “If you like breakfast, fine; but if not, don’t sweat it.”
To breakfast or not to breakfast?
If breakfast is a bowl of cereal, you might be better off skipping or deferring the meal until you eat something more nutrient dense. Spiking your blood sugar first thing in the morning may be the start of a rollercoaster of an unhealthy day.
Whichever side of the breakfast debate you fall on, keep reading to learn more about which breakfast foods will give you the energy you need to power your day. Also, you may want to consider giving people a pass on harshly condemning their choice to skip the first meal of the day.
Breakfast mistakes to avoid:
There is a right way to do morning meals and a wrong way. In our culture, breakfast foods like muffins, pancakes, bagels, donuts and waffles are the norm. These high carb, high sugar meals make ensure a blood sugar spike and crash that will reduce your productivity and make it hard to concentrate throughout your day. It may also lead to serious health problems over time. Here are a few common breakfast mistakes to avoid.
Don’t confuse dehydration for hunger.
Imagine not drinking any water, tea, coffee, or juice for the next 8 hours. That’s exactly what happens when you are asleep. For people who wake up feeling weak, tired, dizzy or nauseous it’s easy to confuse these sensations with hunger. Hunger symptoms mimic those of being thirsty and dehydrated.
Before grabbing an impulsive meal filled with carbs and sugar, drink a 16oz glass of water and let your body recover before making decisions about what you are craving for breakfast. You are less likely to overeat, or eat unhealthy foods when your body is getting the hydration it needs first thing in the morning.
Don’t wait until you wake up to decide what you’ll eat.
There is a reason we make mistakes more often in the afternoon, or our morning brainstorms are more productive than our late afternoon meetings. We are only capable of making a limited number of decisions every day. Research on Decision Fatigue shows that like our muscles during a workout, our willpower can get fatigued when you use it over and over again.
Productivity superstars like Mark Zuckerberg, President Obama and Steve Jobs all share one common habit to fight decision fatigue – they minimize the number of arbitrary decisions they make every day in order to clear the space to make more important and creative decisions. They wear the same clothes everyday and eat the same breakfast every morning. So don’t wait until 7:45 to decide what you are making for breakfast. Decide the night before – or ideally, decide now and eat the same thing every day until you get sick of it. It will guarantee you make smarter food choices and create healthier, more productive longterm habits.
Don’t forget to diversify.
When deciding what to eat for breakfast you may hear advice that seems contrarian. Research tells us that we need protein in the morning to kick start our energy and feel fuller throughout the day. They also say high quality carbohydrates are necessary as a source of energy. Healthy fats are also a must-have for improved brain function and sustained fat-burning.
While this may seem confusing, they are actually all right. Instead of a mono-sourced breakfast like a bagel, a bowl of cereal, an egg, a protein shake or a bowl of yogurt – consider taking a few extra minutes to make a breakfast that incorporates a variety of macro nutrients.
- Healthy hash with eggs, potatoes, and vegetables cooked in olive oil.
- Superfood smoothie bowl with fruit, nuts, yogurt and oats.
- Breakfast burrito with eggs, vegetables, cheese, and a piece of fruit on the side.
- Oatmeal or quinoa with fruit, nuts, and chia seeds.