Mornings suck… I mean, you’re entitled to your opinion if you believe this to be false, but I dislike waking up in the morning. Maybe it’s because I never get a genuine full-night’s rest from my sleep, for various reasons. But getting up in the morning leads to certain routines that most people adhere to. Things like brewing/consuming coffee and perhaps having breakfast.
Now, I’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian and I have no formal training in those areas. I function solely on the personal knowledge and study I’ve accumulated over decades due to being a Type-1 Diabetic. And I will allow myself a brief vulnerability and admit that I’m probably one of the worst people for failing to consume what is generally considered the most important meal of the day: breakfast!
I grew up in a household where breakfast was not only considered the most important meal of the day, but it was mandatory. I have memories of my mother almost physically dragging me to the breakfast table during those awkward teenage years when all you want to do is sleep. There was no way I would be permitted to leave the house without something in my stomach.
The main idea is that eating breakfast within an hour of waking up helps your body to get the sustenance and energy it requires to attack the challenges of the day. Your body’s metabolism is usually at its lowest upon waking, which is why you need the nutrients and energy from a well-balanced breakfast to kick things off. Skipping breakfast and/or the first meal of your day can have negative effects on your body.
According to a paragraph in an article by Science Direct, “[…] the failure to eat (a well-balanced) breakfast has been documented to have a deleterious impact on cognitive performance […]” The takeaway is that trying to start your day without food in your system will affect your overall cognitive functions and impede your overall performance.
WebMD seems to agree as a quote from their webpage states, “Skipping the morning’s meal can throw off your body’s rhythm of of fasting and eating. When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low. Breakfast helps replenish it.” The article goes on to explain that skipping breakfast can lead to feeling drained and “zapped” of energy throughout the day, an effect I can attest to have suffered from on a number of occasions.
I’ll admit that I’m quite guilty of this. My first actions in the morning usually include grabbing the first available source of caffeine and flopping down into my desk chair and working on this blog… Thoughts of food don’t hit me until close to lunchtime, by which time I’ve become hungry enough that I overeat. This is an issue that I’ve gotten into a habit of stemming by eating a simple english muffin with my coffee.
What you eat for breakfast is often as important as whether or not you choose to consume breakfast. A balanced meal of proteins, grains and dairy will help ensure your body gets the necessary “kick” it requires to make it through the day. On the flip side, if you constantly consume a breakfast heavy in fats and processed sugars like popular name-brand cereals and bacon, you may start the day with a full stomach but you may also be doing damage in other ways. So, be smart about what you eat and when (something that WOULD require the advice of a nutritionist or dietitian)
So if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, is there a LEAST important meal? The short answer is no. All three meals, accompanied with light, healthy snacks in between, are all just as important in the grand scheme of your health. That being said, lunch can be a bit on the light side, with an accompanying snack during the middle of the afternoon. Dinner (or supper) may end up being a substantial meal as it’s statistically the one we have at home with the family and is prepared to be larger to accommodate everyone. But there’s no hard and fast rule to this.
The one important detail to remember is that no matter what meals you partake in and what time you enjoy them at, experts agree that you should stop eating a minimum of a couple of hours before bed so that your digestive system has time to process your food before you try and sleep. Once you go to sleep, your body is meant to fast as it works on rejuvenating itself for the day to come; something it can’t do if it spends half the night digesting your buffalo wings from your Netflix binge!
Eating your meals at proper intervals will also help with proper blood sugar control if you have Diabetes. Maintaining a proper routine and healthy diet is always the optimal choice in order to help prevent spikes or drops in blood sugar. So, there you have it! If you grew up through the 80’s like I did and constantly heard commercials on Saturday morning about starting your morning with a healthy breakfast, that rule is still a reality today.
For myself, I usually end up skipping breakfast in favour of sleeping in for that added twenty minutes and rushing off to work. But the reality is that most studies will show that getting up a touch earlier and having a proper breakfast may go farther towards ensuring you’re awake and alert than hitting the old snooze button. So take time to grab a meal before facing the world. It always looks better on a full stomach. ☯