Breakfast can be said to be the meal you consume in the early hours of the day, your first meal of the day. It should be taken within two hours of you waking up or by 7 am. It is globally considered the most important meal of the day as it is the meal consumed after the long night fast, hence where it got the name ‘breakfast‘, it replenishes your glucose supply to boost the level of your energy and alertness, while also providing other essential nutrients required for sound health. It is also the most skipped meal of the day.
The Essential Tool
The popular feeding adage that says,” Eat like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”, can’t be pushed aside. After a long night fast, the body needs a lot of energy to start another day’s work, hence the need for glucose. When you eat you are passing a message to your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. But when you skip breakfast you are telling your body that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.
A recent study compared weight loss among people who ate breakfast with those who didn’t. And it was found that on average, people who eat are thinner than those who don’t. That could be because eating foods with protein and fibre in the morning keeps your appetite in check the rest of the day.
On the other hand, if you’re dieting, don’t think cutting calories by skipping the meal will help. Studies show that most people who lose weight and keep the weight off eat breakfast every day. More importantly, you need to pay attention to what, when, and how much you eat. People who take large breakfasts tend to eat more during the day. You should know that without breakfast you are like a person trying to start a car with no petrol, you are on empty.
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A healthy breakfast should provide calories in the range of 20-35% of your guideline daily allowance (GDA). Asides providing energy, it also provides nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fibre. These essential nutrients are needed by the body and if they are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day. Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals so try to include them daily, be it edible fruit or fruit juice.
Just like any other organ in the body, the brain needs the energy to work at it’s best. Breakfast restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function. It can also improve memory and concentration levels makes you happier as it brightens your mood and lower stress levels. Amongst children, studies have shown that breakfast can be linked to improved grades. Also improving attainment and behaviour.
Meeting Energy needs: Energy needs in people vary, with activity levels and life stage being a determinant. Typically, men require more energy than women as growing children require a lot more energy.
Long term health benefits: Establishing good eating habits in childhood and maintaining them throughout adolescence may be an important factor in reducing the prevalence of breakfast skipping and developing good eating habits that last a lifetime. Thereby reducing the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.