Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, mainly because it sets the tone for your eating habits for the rest of the day. One of the most common problems for people, especially those watching their weight, is a tendency to under eat at breakfast. We think that a Weet Bix and a bit of soy milk is enough. Or that 1 or 2 pieces of toast is enough. It’s a myth!
Firstly, it’s not enough variety. Secondly it’s not enough calories and thirdly it’s not enough nutrients! You may think “But I’m not very hungry in the mornings and I already eat too many calories, and if I’m going to reduce my intake then it may as well be breakfast! Wrong! Respectfully! This is flawed thinking for a couple of reasons. One, calories don’t count when we’re trying to shift to our ideal weight. Two, very often having fewer calories at breakfast does not cause weight loss.
Let me address these one at a time:
When was the last time you tried something new for breakfast? There are so many hundreds of different things that you can eat at breakfast time and yet we tend to stick to the same one or two things everyday, using “no time” or “can’t be bothered” as our excuses. The trouble is, we need to mix things up a bit in order to get the wide range of nutrients we need, both macro (protein, fats, carbohydrates) and micro (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) to function well. Do you eat nuts and seeds? Are there legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc) in your diet? Have you ever tried asparagus or purple carrots or freshly grated beetroot? Maybe not for breakfast!
It’s not the calories in your breakfast that matter, but the quality of the calories in your breakfast! You could have a meal of say 500 calories made up of primarily processed and packaged foods eaten daily over a long period of time and you would be overweight. Or, the equivalent 500 calorie meal made up of fresh, wholesome foods would not make you overweight.
Also, food choices are often about more than just it’s health value. We can have emotional connections with foods that make us desire for example, breads, pastas and other comfort foods. Another reason why dieting and calorie counting does not work.
One of the reasons you are far, far less likely to gain weight eating wholesome foods is the nutrient content of the food. Packaged cereals are not as nutrient dense as say a green smoothie or porridge with sultanas and almonds or eggs with buckwheat pancakes and fresh butter. It’s the nutrient levels in our diet that create or damage our health.
But I’m not hungry in the mornings…
This is a common problem and can relate to several things:
- Eating too late the night before
- Poor digestive function, particularly low stomach acid
- Food intolerances
- Being disconnected from the needs of your body
Herbs eg digestive bitters, digestive enzymes, food intolerance testing, eating dinner before 7pm, exercise and many other natural or lifestyle remedies can help.
The myth of calorie reduction for achieving your ideal weight
Yes, cutting calories will reduce the number on the scales! But aren’t we more than a number of some mechanical contraption? Calorie counting, measuring or weighing food, restricting food groups or comfort foods DOES NOT WORK. Ask any naturally slim person and they will nearly always tell you “I eat whatever I want”. It’s not the eating that’s important here, it’s the wanting! Naturally healthy, non-toxic, energised people generally want to eat foods that make them feel light rather than heavy, energised rather than sluggish and clean rather than toxic. Also, for maximum metabolism, you want to have the majority of your daily calorie intake in the first half of the day rather than the second half.
Well then, what can I eat?
Here’s one really simple breakfast suggestion for busy people on the go:
- 1 cup whole oats (not quick oats)
- 1-2 cups milk (your choice of organic cow’s milk, organic whole soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or similar)
- 1/4 cup your choice of nuts (walnut, almond, peanut, macadamia, etc)
- 1/4 cup your choice of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed, etc)
Place all ingredients in a Pyrex container with lid. Place in the fridge the night before you need it. This may last you a couple of days. When serving the next morning add fresh fruit eg strawberries, bananas, grated apple and cinnamon.