The Most Important Meal of the Day

“I always skip breakfast and I feel fine.”

Does that sound like you? Often, people don’t realize how much better they can feel if they start eating a balanced breakfast. Turns out “fine” was actually pretty tired, hungry, and cranky.

There are many reasons to eat breakfast every morning: it kick starts your metabolism after a long night of fasting; it provides you with the energy needed to stay alert, focused, and active; it contributes to your daily nutrient requirements (things like vitamins, minerals, fibre, phytochemicals, and antioxidants); and it regulates your appetite throughout the day.

There are other reasons why young professionals should pay attention the quality of their first morning meal – you may also find that an intense, low blood sugar-induced crankiness sets in during an important mid-morning meeting, when it likely isn’t convenient to eat because you are unable to run out and grab a snack.

So what does a good breakfast look like? It should include high quality carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, and fruit), which will literally fuel your brain. Your breakfast should also contain a source of protein (milk, soymilk, eggs, meat, nuts and nut butters, lentils), which will slowly digestion and leave you feeling satiated until your next snack or meal. 

No appetite first thing in the morning? Although it is important to eat a balanced breakfast, there’s no hard and fast rule that says breakfast has to be eaten as soon as you wake up. Some people would rather get ready before sitting down to breakfast, while other peoples’ appetites don’t kick in until they are sitting at their desk. Tailor your breakfast to your schedule and you will be more likely to make it a habit.

Hate traditional breakfast foods? If you tend to skip breakfast because the thought of cold cereal leaves you feeling less than enthused, create a meal you will want to eat by using foods that you actually enjoy. The Kitchn recently featured a breakfast salad that includes sliced avocado, fresh tomato, a poached egg, and a sprinkling of herbs, grated cheese, salt, and pepper. Add a slice of whole grain toast for a balanced breakfast. Or, try a tapas-style breakfast that includes cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, grapes, cheese, and crackers or bread.

Too busy for breakfast? We’ll concede that even the most low-key breakfast will require some time out of your schedule. But breakfast does not have to be complicated or elaborate. If you like having a hot breakfast, why not give this recipe for Overnight Slow Cooker Oatmeal a try? In the morning, just add some fruit and nuts (walnuts are especially great in oatmeal), milk or soymilk. Breakfast smoothies have proven popular since they are quick to prepare and portable. One of our favourite recipes is the Classic Green Monster, courtesy of Angela at Oh She Glows, because it’s loaded with vegetables, fruit, and protein. Or, why not put last night’s effort in the kitchen to good use? Who cares if you are eating dinner for breakfast; reheat those leftovers and enjoy!