No matter what kind of day I’ve had, I go to bed in eager, childish anticipation for the next morning.
While many things motivate and drive me daily, such as the prospect of new opportunities, striving to achieve personal goals and anticipating social events, they’re rarely the things that consume my final thoughts — those last few moments of conscious clarity — before I drift off. Breakfast is.
I won’t beat around the bush: I wish every meal was breakfast. You can take lunch and dinner – just give me breakfast all day, every day. If you’re a breakfast-skipper (God-forbid) or a Vegemite-on-toast-because-I’m-not-a-morning-person-and-it’s-convenient kind of person, then you’re definitely in the wrong place because I’m a breakfast fiend and I’m going to post a hell of a lot of brekkies on here.
Perhaps I love brekkie so much because I’m tragically partial to anything carb-laden, and my first meal of the day gives me an excuse to load up on them. It could be because breakfast is (as it should be) the largest meal of the day, and I relish in the delight of being able to stuff my face (healthily, of course), without feeling like a total piggy. It might be because brekkie enables me to channel the chubby bubby that I’ll always be at heart and eat (clean) sweets that taste like calorific desserts first thing in the morning (Who doesn’t love pancake stacks, maple-grilled bananas, layered fruit parfaits and fluffy coconut and raspberry bread?!). It could also have something to do with the fact that I’m always, and I mean always, hungry, and I have hunger pangs the second I wake…
Whatever the reason, and who really cares anyway, breakfast really is the reason I jump out of bed each morning. I’m always irrationally sad when it’s over. Until I get my morning fuel fix, everything else is insignificant – even sleep. Why sleep in when you could be eating? The reason I prefer working out at the crack of dawn is because I use the idea of breakfast as an incentive during, and my well-deserved reward after, a grueling session.
Brekkie kick starts your metabolism after a night-long fast and sets you up physically and mentally for the entire day, so its importance cannot be overemphasised. Everyone’s heard that skipping breakfast is the worst thing you can do for weight management, but here’s why: by ‘breakfast time’, say 7-8am, your body is already in starvation mode because you haven’t consumed anything in, presumably, 8+ hours. Your body needs fuel as soon as you wake up to enable your brain and metabolism (the sum of all the chemical processes occurring within your bodily cells) to function. Thus, if you continue to fast for hours after you’ve woken, your cells will begin to cannibalise and draw energy from other sources, literally eating into your muscle. Then, your cells will cling onto every bit of energy (from calories) they can get their microscopic hands on when you finally do eat, storing that energy as fat in anticipation for the next time you put your body into starvation. This is why EATING is actually the KEY to weight loss and weight management, never the contrary.
In any meal of the day, I always make sure I eat from each energy group (complex carbs, protein & good fats). If I miss just one of them, I won’t feel satisfied, and feeling satisfied after breakfast is crucial because otherwise, that glorious cookie jar and Milo looks even more appealing at 10am. So, a nutritious brekkie must have the right balance of complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats and portions should be determined by your activity level for the day:
- Complex carbs (rolled oats, quinoa, clean muesli, organic unrefined bread, fresh fruit & veggies) to give you sustained energy throughout the morning, to increase your fibre intake, to kick-start your metabolism (carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source) and to provide a good dose of antioxidants to rid your insides of free radicals/toxins (fruit & veg).
- Protein (such as eggs, smoked salmon, baked beans, plain natural/greek yoghurt, chia seeds, spirulina, natural protein powder, nuts, seeds, quinoa etc.) to make you feel fuller for longer and to prevent mid-morning sugar cravings (protein takes longer to digest and is thus released slower from the gut, therefore taking longer to digest. This means that your stomach literally remains fuller for longer than it does when digesting carbs).
- Healthy fats (such as avocado, eggs (yolk), nuts, coconut meat, nut better, coconut oil, seeds [chia, pumpkin, sunflower, flax, linseed], olive oil & tree-nut oils) take longer to digest like protein, leaving you feeling fuller for longer & helping to quell sugar cravings. Essential fatty acids like Omega 3s are great for your brain’s alertness and they nourish your hair, skin and nails.
I’m pretty hypo and tire of things quite rapidly unless they continue to excite or challenge me, and food is no exception; I’ll rarely ever make the exact meal twice. Varying flavours and textures is important to me. That said, we are talking about breakfast after all, and if you’re as last-minute-with-everything-in-life as I am, you’re running around like a maniac in the morning, juggling showers, outfits, make up, meal prep, books and brekkie (as you might have gathered, my priorities don’t exactly follow that order respectively, but I’m trying to sound normal). Needless to say, weekday breakfasts must be convenient and fit in with our crazy morning schedules, while never lacking nutrients or taste. They need not break the budget, nor the clock. Unless you’re even more breakfast-inclined than I am, I doubt you have time on weekday mornings to prepare, cook and sit down to enjoy vanilla bean chia porridge with chai-infused almond milk, maple-grilled banana, berry compote, coconut nectar and cacao nibs. That’s for the weekends.
I promise to not always talk this much,