Breakfast, The French Call it “Little Lunch”
Mar 06, 2012 09:59PM
● By Cate Reynolds
You have heard it time and again: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
For starters, if you skip breakfast, you will be ravenous by lunchtime and will likely overeat.
Suppose you have dinner around 6 p.m. and you wait until noon the following day to eat your next meal; your body has been deprived of nutrients for close to 18 hours. Your blood sugar has plummeted and you are craving food. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight consumed roughly an extra 100 calories a day than individuals who eat breakfast. Furthermore, the same study indicated that breakfast skippers were at a greater risk for developing heart disease because they tended to acquire higher bad “LDL” cholesterol levels and had a decreased response to insulin than their breakfast-eating counterparts.
To complicate matters, what you choose to eat can matter as much as when you eat it. If you eat a breakfast composed mainly of low-fiber carbohydrates and little to no protein, mid-morning hunger will strike. You should aim to be hungry when you wake up and again aim to be hungry before lunch, but you should never cause yourself to be famished.
Ensure healthy food choices and maximize your time by preparing food the night before. Dice fruit for a morning smoothie. Scoop Greek yogurt into a Tupperware container and pour in almonds when you are ready to eat. According to U.S. News & World Report, “In roughly the same amount of calories [as regular yogurt], Greek yogurt can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.” Or take along a packet of instant oatmeal, which is high in fiber and helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels. At your office, simply add boiling water and a teaspoon of honey for flavor. Hard boiled eggs are another on-the-go choice. Boil a half dozen on Sunday night while you watch The Good Wife and you will have enough eggs to last you through the week. For some pizzazz, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, or paprika and add a dollop of low-fat dressing or spicy mustard.
Additionally, there are a wide variety of bottled shakes these days (Ensure, Boost, SlimFast, Special K Protein Shakes) that pack a nutritional wallop as well. Many even come in a coffee flavor well-suited for breaking your fast.
If you follow this discipline, your metabolism will be more active which, in turn, will give you more energy. If you make time for “Little Lunch” a few hours before the real deal, your focus and overall mood will improve and your body will thank you... all day long.