The word breakfast literally means to break one’s fast. A fast is a time of not eating. So breakfast is literally the time of day where we give our bodies the nourishment that it has not received during our slumber.
You can argue that our bodies need less energy during the night, to which I would agree. But breakfast skippers (my former self included) find themselves not eating until lunch time. Guilty as charged. On an average night, if I went to bed around 11, and ate lunch at noon, that means I was leaving my body without proper nourishment for 13 hours! And by the time I ate, I would crave sugary, fatty foods. And lots of it.
So I started eating breakfast.
I have been thinking about breakfast a lot lately, and doing a bit of Google-research. I find study after study that says eating breakfast has no effect on health or weight loss. And study after study that says it does. So where is the truth in it?
I’ll put up a big disclaimer – I am not an expert. I did not conduct a study. But I can say this:
The studies that seemed to prove that eating breakfast didn’t matter did not control WHAT the eater ate for said breakfast. For example, both studies cited in this article, “Is Breakfast Overrated?” only seemed to control whether participants ate breakfast. No information is given about what was eaten.
In contrast, articles that were proponents of breakfast talk about high protein breakfasts, or low glycemic index breakfasts, and the effects on the participants. This website provides a list of studies addressing the importance of breakfast, if you’re interested: Breakfast Studies
I used to be a poptarts kind of breakfast girl. When I got into calorie counting, I nixed those, and breakfast all together as everything I considered to be a great breakfast ended up being most of the calories I would allot myself for the day. I don’t know what you eat for breakfast, but my typical breakfasts might have been:
– Poptarts on the go
– pancakes with syrup
– scrambled eggs with muffins
– eggs over easy with toast
Carb-laden goodness with a side of butter and sugar of some sort!
A Google image search for “typical American breakfast” pulls up pictures that have eggs, bacon, pancakes (with butter and syrup), a glass of juice, and a glass of coffee.
I did a poll on Facebook to see what some of my peers were eating, and some responses included:
– green smoothies
– oatmeal with peanut butter and/or banana
– a ham sandwich
– toast with peanut butter and banana
– just coffee
– And the closest response to the American “classic” : two eggs, an english muffin with butter and jam, and apple juice
The Case for a Better Breakfast
I used to fall asleep in class. I used to start my day with a sugar/carb laden breakfast, then a healthy-ish lunch, and I would still feel exhausted by 2. or I would skip breakfast and have a heavy lunch. Same result. Even if I had a “healthy-ish” breakfast – for a long time greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a squirt of agave was my go-to healthy breakfast!- i still ran out of energy and felt tired through out the day.
Then I was challenged to eat protein and VEGETABLES for breakfast. Gross, right? It really was, the first week. Once I got myself out of my American way of thinking about breakfast, it really changed how I approach my meals.
This website shows Breakfast Around the World, and I was surprised to see some veggies make a cameo on the breakfast plate!
Long story short, for the last few months I have been eating breakfast daily, and I typically eat a protein and a vegetable. I have more energy, feel better, and my weight has been creeping down. Just eating a good breakfast won’t guarantee weight loss, but it is a strong way to start the day — with the right nutrients so you have energy and can crack down on those cravings!
For ideas on how to add veggies into your morning meal, you can see what two of my favorite breakfast go-to’s are, as well as peruse Buzzfeed’s 29 Ways to eat More Vegetables at Breakfast.
Breakfast 1: Slowcooked Chicken with Snow Peas and BlueBerries
This breakfast eases the stress of morning food prep – I throw the chicken into the slow cooker the night before, and when morning comes around, I am awoken to the delightful scent of savory chicken. Throw it on the plate with some veggies and some blueberries, and you are all set!
Any slowcooker chicken recipe will work, but one of my favorites is below. It makes plenty for multiple meals, which is also a bonus!
1 can tomatoes
2 chicken breasts, 3 thighs
1 tspn garlic powder
1/2 tspn onion powder
1 tspn italian seasoning
salt and pepper to preference
Toss in the slowcooker on low over night, and VOILA! Done!
Breakfast 2: Brussels Sprouts Power Bowl
Okay, clearly my over-easy egg needs a little help. Gordon Ramsay? Personal Lesson? Just kidding! (but not really!) I’ll keep trying and if I get a better picture, I’ll edit this. 🙂
This delight is a little more work intensive, but it’s worth it!
2 ounces lean ground beef (or turkey!)
1/2 cup brussels sprouts, sliced into thin rounds (that’s the irritating part, but worth it!)
1 tspn coconut oil
1/2 tspn paprika
1/2 tspn oregano
1/2 tspn red chili flakes
1/2 tspn garlic salt
pepper to taste
Saute onions and all seasonings in coconut oil until tender. Add meat, cook until nearly done. add brussels sprouts. Saute 5 minutes. While sauteeing, cook an over easy egg. Serve egg on top. The yolk will taste so rich and delightful when it oozes out all over your breakfast!