Breakfast helps set the tone for the rest of the day and eating breakfast regularly has long-term health benefits. It can control obesity, ward off blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases. Thus, breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day since it not only breaks the overnight fasting but also replenishes the supply of glucose required for the day.
IDEAL TIME FOR BREAKFAST
Ideally, it is best to break your fast within one hour of waking up. The blood sugar levels are naturally low in the morning as you wake up, so having breakfast within 1-2 hours of getting up helps to bring the sugar levels back to normal and thereby maintain the balance. Delaying it could cause a slump in the levels, which can adversely affect not only physical but also mental wellbeing. When you wake up in the morning, your brain and the body needs fuel to power up and prepare for the day ahead. Also it kick starts the body to produce the enzymes needed for metabolism of vital nutrients. When you skip the breaking-fast- rhythm, energy levels get reduced, thereby bringing down physical activity. Skipping breakfast also triggers bad eating habits throughout the day as cravings ensue and lead to quick fix fast food options.
HEALTHY AND WISE
Eating healthy breakfast can really have positive effect on both physical and mental wellbeing.
Restores energy: Breakfast is closely associated with the energy factor. Having breakfast restores the glycogen stores (glucose stored in the muscle and liver where it is released slowly to keep the blood sugar levels stable) and boosts energy levels as well as the metabolism for the day. Carbohydrate rich breakfast meal replenishes the body’s supply of glucose. But remember to choose the right carbs. Pair your breakfast meal with high fibre foods and protein, which makes you feel fuller for longer, providing satiety.
Improves concentration: Nutritious breakfast can have beneficial effects on concentration and memory throughout the day. Brain needs fuel in order to perform well. “No breakfast” results in a brain-energy slump. So eat to beat those midday energy blues.
Acts as metabolic boost: When you sleep, your metabolism tends to slow down. Regular breakfast practice helps to pep up and maintain your metabolism, thereby making you less likely to reach for high calorie and processed foods in the day. Subsequently, it acts as a metabolic boost and allows the body to kick start calorie burning, right from the start of the day rather than post lunch.
Influences weight loss: The interesting part is increase in weight is commonly associated with skipping breakfast. So, one of the greatest benefits of having regular breakfast is it helps you in controlling weight. By skipping the first meal, we don’t just restrict calorie intake but increase fat storage within the body, leading to increase in weight.
Holistic health: By skipping breakfast on a regular basis, you may be jeopardizing your long-term health. Several research studies have found that those who skip breakfast over a long period of time become resistant to insulin, a key hormone that plays an important role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. Subsequently, insulin resistance increases the risk of developing diabetes.
TAKE YOUR PICK
What is your typical pick for the morning meal? With an array of morning munchies, get yourself inspired. Here are some easy breakfast options for the busy mornings:
- Cereals/Wheat flakes: This is the easiest option you can imagine, one which packs in all essential nutrients and hardly needs any preparation time. Including fruits along with it can just give you some extra benefit as well.
- Traditional porridge: Porridge prepared from ragi, oats, bajra and millets is a healthy option.
- Smoothies: How about blending those seasonal fruits into a smoothie with milk? This can be a high protein option, rich in nutrients. Bring out your creativity and try new combinations. Adding yogurt can give a totally new look to the drink.
- Toast: Why not go for a couple of toasts with low fat butter? Pick a topping of your choice from honey, dry fruits, low fat cream, sautéed vegetables or any low fat spreads, to name a few. Do not forget the glass of milk or a couple of eggs to make your meal complete.
- Sandwiches: Vegetable or low fat meat sandwiches with low fat cheese and flavored spreads, prepared out of mint, coriander, onion, tomato etc. can combine taste and health.
- Poha: Poha (rice flakes upma) is one of the best-balanced breakfast meals. Vegetables, peanuts and certain traditional antioxidants added to its preparation make it a complete meal.
- Idli: Go for steamed preparations like idli, rice noodles (Idiappam) etc. with high protein sambar or appam with freshly extracted coconut milk with jaggery.
- Upma: Try variations with Upma. There is lot you can do with it from oats, bread, rice flakes, ragi, semolina etc.
- Chilla / Vegetarian omelette: It is a simple pancake with mild spices. Adding fresh herbs can add variety and taste to it.
- Dosa: Try different adaptations of Dosa. Pesarattu, also known as Moong dal Dosa, is yet another healthy option.
- Pongal – Hot Pongal prepared out of rice and dal, combined with coconut chutney or vegetable stew, is fast and easy to make.