Published on September 7th, 2013 | by Joe Starks0
Fitness Jargonbuster: Breakfast
In many cultures, breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. Some say that you just can’t function properly without a meal before a busy day’s start, while others debate that eating out of habit is not exactly a healthy pattern. So, is there any scientific basis to the presumption that eating breakfast is healthier than not eating any? What do we actually mean when we consider a healthy breakfast? Does a healthy breakfast look the same for everyone? These and quite a few more questions we’ll answer in this Jargonbuster article.
What does a healthy breakfast look like?
Most of you will already have a pretty clear idea of what your ideal breakfast meal is, but is it really the healthy breakfast you need? It is actually very hard to determine a single meal or type of eating pattern that suits everyone. For instance children and adolescents, who still grow taller and usually have a heavy schedule early in the morning, should probably make it a habit to have a decent meal in the morning. People who have very easy mornings, or don’t like the feeling of a large meal that early, might consider skipping breakfast or just eating a little piece of fruit. Elderly people often prefer to skip breakfast, or combine breakfast and lunch into a brunch, because appetite often suffers with age.
What is important to remember is that your perfect breakfast is determined by your activity schedule and the meals that are going to follow. If you eat only very light lunches, like Britons do, then perhaps your breakfast needs to be hearty, while people who eat heavy meals at noon and night should perhaps only eat something small or even nothing early in the morning. People who eat very late at night might actually not feel any desire to eat very early in the morning and that is quite natural.
You do not get fat from skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast can cause you to be very hungry later on though and THAT might cause you to make bad eating choices, or to eat more than you need. Studies have shown that people who do eat breakfast tend to be less overweight in general, but the statistics showed that these people also had overall healthier lifestyles, so the correlation might not be causative.
When should you eat breakfast?
You should eat breakfast when you are hungry in the morning. If you wake up famished, because you haven’t eaten in quite some time, you should certainly consider eating a decent morning meal. Young people and above all children, should be given breakfast every day, because it helps them have a regulated eating pattern. Children that know to eat in certain times of the day will more often than not grow up to become adults with good eating schedules.
You don’t need to eat breakfast when you are not feeling particularly hungry in the morning. Perhaps you had a heavy late night meal last night, or you simply don’t feel like eating that early in the morning, whatever the reason do not push yourself to eat, unless you know you are going to regret it later. If you have planned a lazy morning, reading books or doing something relaxing, there is no reason to eat breakfast just out of habit.
People who exercise rigorously should have a hearty breakfast on days when they train. It is best not to eat very close to the training session, so breakfast is often ideal to get some calories in.
If your child is a snacker, then you should adjust his or her meals to be smaller, to accommodate the calories of the snacks. This of course goes for breakfast too. Adults who snack a lot might prefer to skip breakfast in favor of a few healthy morning snacks, eaten every hour or so till noon.
Remember that our bodies will accurately tell us when we’re hungry. Adjust your eating behavior to your hunger, not to your fear of getting hungry. Being hungry is a good sign that you should have a meal soon; it is not the end of the world or your health. Even when it comes to children it is best that they feel hungry before a meal, than stuffing food down their throat in fear they might even feel the least hint of hunger. Embrace hunger as a good indicator of when you need to eat breakfast and how much your kids should eat the night before to actually need breakfast the next day.