Skipping the most important meal of the day may be doing you more harm than you realise, and you'll be missing out on all the benefits of a good start to the day.
The truth is, breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, as your parents said, and as your grandparents nagged too.
The NPD Group, a leading US research company, reported in its Morning MealScape 2011 study that one in 10 (that's roughly around 31 million people) in the US skip breakfast, with adult males between 18 and 34 years old making up the largest percentage.
Breakfast provides energy to kick-start the body, helping you begin the day well, and setting the tone for a day full of vitality. So people who skip breakfast have considerably less energy and lower concentration, and starting the day without food can also lead to mood swings and irritability, making you cantankerous and grouchy.
Here are some common reasons people give for skipping breakfast, and some suggestions on how to overcome them:
1. I have no time for breakfast
In the everyday scramble and rush to get to work on time, there seems to be no time to sit and have a morning meal, much less taking the time to prepare it.
Suggestion: Eat on the go. Make sure you have cupboards stocked with "portable" meals you can grab-and-run. Or you could always drive by and pick something up on the way to work, and if need be, eat it while driving or once you reach the office.
2. I'm constantly late for work
With the busy schedules people keep, especially in the city, waking up just 10 minutes later could mean being an hour late for work. So leaving the home at precisely the right time can be crucial, and often, breakfast becomes the sacrifice.
Suggestion: Go to bed half an hour earlier and wake up half an hour earlier, so you have that extra bit of time to eat breakfast. This would also start your day on a more relaxed note, instead of getting the adrenaline going right from the moment you open your eyes.
3. I'm on a diet
Many people on a diet make the erroneous assumption that skipping breakfast would help them cut calories. In fact, it is just the opposite. A recent study offered ample evidence that "fasting made people hungrier and increased the appeal of high calorie foods and the amount people ate".
So skipping breakfast may sabotage your weight loss goals, as foregoing breakfast would just make you even hungrier and more prone to binging and snacking on unhealthy stuff later in the morning, and right through the rest of the day too.
Suggestion: Make sure you eat a wholesome, freshly prepared breakfast, which will fill you up, give you the necessary nutrients, and take you through to lunch.
4. I don't feel like eating or drinking early in the morning. My stomach is not used to it!
In all probability, this excuse is based on psychological and emotional reasons.
Physiologically, your body is calling out for nutrition to get you going, as you have just woken up from a fast for the past eight hours or so.
Imagine going without food and drink for some eight straight hours when you are awake. Wouldn't you be ravenous and parched?
Suggestion: Know and understand the importance of literally breaking the fast with breakfast. You need to refuel first thing in the morning, preferably with a freshly prepared breakfast to give your body and brain the energy it needs for the day.
5. I don't feel like cooking or preparing anything in the morning
This is quite understandable actually, as after being rudely awakened by the alarm clock, the last thing our half-asleep selves want to do is head to the kitchen to turn the stove on. Some would not even want to bother with getting things out of the cupboard and refrigerator, and washing up the dishes later.
Suggestion: Leave the kitchen in its pristine condition and head on down to the shops to buy breakfast.
So, as you can see, all the excuses for not eating breakfast are just that, excuses. And these can easily be overcome. All it takes is just a change of heart and mind, and attitude towards breakfast, together with the knowledge of how important this first meal of the day is.
Eating breakfast is the start to a great new day. A freshly prepared breakfast will not only be enjoyable and pleasurable to the senses, it will also energise your body for the day. It helps the body's metabolism kick into gear, and subsequently helps you to burn more calories, while helping you avoid the tendency to make up for lost meals.
Apart from managing your weight, recent studies have also shown that a healthy breakfast also contributes towards reducing risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in relation to cholesterol and blood insulin levels.
Eating breakfast, thus, is one of the secrets to staying healthy. And it is a habit that should be cultivated and adhered to each morning.
So, even if you are on the run each morning, trying to beat the traffic, or getting the kids to school on time, do make time for breakfast, even if it means sacrificing that last 15 minutes of sleep, as the pay-offs are substantial.
Regardless of how much time you have, or don't have, a freshly prepared breakfast is still possible, be it a quick grab-and-go, or a leisurely sitdown affair with the newspaper in front of you.
Remember, breakfast is an all-important key for a great day and for better health. All it takes is the wise decision to make time to start your day right.