Lifestyle: To Breakfast Or Not To Breakfast?
Feeling overwhelmed by all the 'health' advice thrown around today? Well Gen James-Martin has got your back.
An accredited practising nutritionist from the blog For Food's Sake, Gen has jumped on board the BNKR Blog team to help us maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Considering we aren’t perfect, she'll be giving us the latest tips and tricks that are realistic and achievable for the modern everyday girl (think hangover cures, snacks and quick, easy-to-prepare meals).
Now let her start at the beginning - breakfast, obviously.
So do you want the long story or the short one on whether breakfast really is 'the most important meal of the day'?
Yeah - I prefer to cut to the chase too, so here goes. Based on all the evidence, breakfast is...optional. If you love breakfast, are doing well with eating it, and feel like it's helping you accomplish your health goals...don’t stop now!
If you're not a breakfast person, function really well without it, and are accomplishing your health goals, then there's no harm in waiting until later in the day.
Breakfast is put up there on a pedestal. It’s the most important meal of the day they say, kickstarts your metabolism right? As with most things in nutrition science, the tide is starting to change as we put these long held theories to the test. Advocates of the ‘breakfast skipping movement’ are proclaiming the benefits of missing out on breakfast as part of a 'fasting' approach. This approach involves an 18 hour fasting period (including skipping breakfast) and an 8 hour eating window. Benefits have been shown to include reduced blood pressure, inflammation, and even risk of cancer, as well as an increased rate of fat burning, metabolic rate and easier appetite control.
But hold on - because the science also suggests that eating breakfast is associated with: decreased overall appetite, overall food consumption and body weight, and improved academic performance and blood sugar control. Makes sense, that having a sensible breakfast stops you from pigging out and gives you some energy to concentrate.
I think one of the more interesting aspects of the science on the pros and cons of breakfast is that for most people breakfast appears to be ‘just another meal’ and doesn’t particularly kick start your metabolism or help with concentration in the mid-morning. As with most things, there’s more than one right way and it’s about listening to your own body and working out what fits with your lifestyle.
The last thing you want is to skip breakfast, but then start smashing the local café’s low fat (but disturbingly high calorie) muffins by mid-morning. But if you aren’t a morning person and you’ve been choking down some cereal and
toast to make sure you 'get your metabolism going', it’s okay, put the spoon down, just keep something healthy on hand and hold off having it until you feel hungry.
I, for one, am a breakfast lover, but that might just be because I love the options that breakfast provides – I can’t go past a couple of nice soft poached eggs on the weekends but then an easy-as-you-like healthy overnight oats mix that I can throw in my handbag as I race out the door to work on weekdays, which brings us to recipes!
B E R R Y G O O D B I R C H E R
Breakfast may just be my favourite meal of the day, but I loathe to spend more than two minutes preparing it because I am not a morning person; every second of sleep counts. For this reason, breakfasts I can prepare ahead of time are my go-to during the week and oats feature regularly. Why? Of all the breakfast cereal options, and damn there are a few these days, oats are a clear winner.
A minimally processed whole food - that unlike most other cereals on the shelf - have no added sugar or salt. They're also low GI so they keep you feeling full across the morning and contain the natural cholesterol-lowering compound, beta-glucan to help balance out my heart-stopping love of cheese. Seriously, is there anything they can’t do?
Bircher muesli is traditionally made by soaking the oats in apple juice, but I prefer to use just water and get the sweetness from the fruit you add. If you have a sweet tooth, try ½ water and ½ juice. I try to use seasonal fruits to keep it on the cheap - strawberries are in season at the moment so now's the time to throw them in and on everything!
I N G R E D I E N T S
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup water
½ cup unsweetened Greek or natural yoghurt
½ an apple, grated
3-4 medium strawberries
M E T H O D
In this order put: water, oats, apple, yoghurt and strawberries in a jar or airtight container and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, stir to combine and eat.
M I X I T U P
There are endless variations you can do to this recipe using different seasonal fruits or adding different nuts and seeds. If I’m out of oats sometimes I use untoasted muesli in its place, which is great as the dried fruit plumps up overnight with the soaking.