Are you skipping breakfast to lose weight? Posted on 21 Jul 21:26 , 0 comments
If you routinely skip breakfast because you are in a hurry or going to the gym, think again. Many studies show that skipping breakfast can backfire on us by increasing our chances of becoming over weight and making us deficient in vitamins and minerals.
Whether you wake up at the crack of dawn or you work shifts and sleep through the day, the first meal you consume should be breakfast. Breakfast quite literally means ‘to break the fast’. You’ve been asleep for 6-10 hours and your body is screaming out for nutrients, your brain and your muscles are waiting for some fuel to help you get through the day.
While it’s certainly true that the sum of everything we eat in a day matters more than whether we have 2 meals or 6, breakfast and meal frequency can play a huge role in sustainable weight management and preventing over eating. As a nutritionist I believe we have a window of opportunity, within an hour of waking to stoke our body with nutrients. A body that is starving will prepare itself to store body-fat later on, so one of your weapons against future weight-gain is definitely breakfast. We can kid ourselves that all we need is the double shot coffee, but a coffee does little to provide the fibre, carbohydrate and protein that is required to get us up, showered and out the door before 9am. Starving by mid-morning we are then easily distracted by a muffin or savoury, a high calorie meal but totally devoid of important minerals, vitamins, protein and healthy fats that we need.
It’s a common complaint. We get into the habit of not eating breakfast and our body simply stops getting hungry. Keep a food diary to check whether you are eating most of your daily calories at night. If you lighten up dinner and supper you’ll have a healthier appetite in the morning. Besides, we shouldn’t be going to bed on a full stomach. A smoothie might be a good option if you simply cannot stomach food.
What constitutes a good breakfast?
We need complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and healthy fats. Choose cereals that have at least 5 grams of fibre per serve and are low sugar. Good complex carbohydrate choices are oats, bran based cereals, weet-bix, whole grain bread, fruit toast and English muffins. Use low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, eggs, peanut butter or lean meats and fish to add protein. Don’t forget to add fruit onto your cereal or vegetables (tomatoes, spinach etc) to your toast to round it off.
Be wary of all those high sugar ready-to-go breakfasts. Many are very high in sugar and not well balanced in nutrient ratios. Ditto to all of those fast food breakfasts, better to save your money and eat at home or the office. You wouldn’t drive the car to work with an empty tank and your body is no different. Plan your breakfast the night before so that you can leave the house all fuelled up, ready to start the day. If work is a short drive away, keep a supply of healthy breakfast food at work. This is a good idea if you go to the gym before work.
Be a role model
How can we teach our children to eat breakfast if they are watching us skip it? It may take some of effort, like getting up earlier and setting the table, but breakfast time is the ideal time to get important nutrients into kids. Sitting down and eating with your children in the morning sets a positive example and reinforces a healthy habit.
For those of you who gravitate towards fruit and cereal, you may have a difficult time meeting your essential fat needs. Including nutritional supplements like omega 3 oils will help make up the deficit.
Lets do breakfast
Believe it or not, having a balanced breakfast can help stabilise your hunger and energy levels all throughout the day. Try including more low fat protein with breakfast so that you are not consuming a meal that is 90% carbohydrate. Eggs on wholegrain toast, peanut butter on toast, whey protein and fruit, oats and milk. What ever you do think low GI, high fibre and get some protein and calcium into the meal as well. There are lots of quick healthy choices, so choose food you love to eat. Hopefully now you are convinced that breakfast is the new dinner and you’ll never leave the house with your fuel gauge on empty again.
For a really nutritious breakfast that will kick start your weight loss regime, add 1-2 scoops of Reduce to a serve or oats, and top with a handful of berries or a few nuts. Or try a smoothie, blend Reduce with your favorite milk or water, add fruit and blend.