Short on time? Skip breakfast. Cutting calories? Skip breakfast. Or at least that’s what most of us wind up doing. But are we self-sabotaging with this move? Breakfast might be the key to a healthier lifestyle and more productive days. Here’s why you should be BFFs with brekkie:
1. Eases Hunger Pangs: Having breakfast can keep you feeling full and less hungry, especially if you’ve had a protein or fiber-rich meal, both of which are known to keep you satiated longer.
2. Helps You Eat Healthier And Get In Those Essential Nutrients: It’s easy to add in things that are good for you – like fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and all-important protein – at breakfast time since this is one meal we tend to eat at home
With jobs that keep us out of our homes much of the day, it’s not just lunch or tea, but even dinner that many Indians wind up eating at the workplace. And while your office canteen might offer seemingly healthy options, there’s nothing like a good home-cooked meal. If you skip breakfast, that’s one chance lost to get in the “good” stuff.
3. Improves Your Concentration: Having breakfast may even improve your brain’s recall powers and give that memory a boost. Having breakfast every day is known to help school-going children improve their grades! At work, those who eat healthier breakfasts may perform better on the job.
4. Gives You The Energy To Power Your Day: When you eat a healthy breakfast, it gives your muscles energy and restores the glycogen stores of the body. Skipping breakfast might leave you with inadequate energy to lead an active day.
5. Kickstarts Mindful Eating: Mayo Clinic says that by starting the day with a healthy breakfast, you are more likely to want to eat mindfully throughout the day. After all, why waste that effort you made to cook a fresh healthy breakfast by eating badly later?
6. May Help Improve Glycemic Control: For those with metabolic problems or concerns about developing type 2 diabetes, having breakfast can help with keeping blood sugar levels in check or improve glycemic control.
7. Could Lower Cardio-Metabolic Risk Factors: Multiple studies have found that breakfast intake and risk factors for cardiovascular disease are inversely related. By avoiding breakfast you might even be elevating your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, or diabetes. If you already have one or more of these conditions, skipping breakfast is a no-no as it could impair your system further.
8. Could Make You Lighter: As per some research, breakfast skippers tend to be 4.5 times more likely to be obese than those who do make time for this first meal of the day. At the very least, not having breakfast does make you more vulnerable to a case of the “munchies” mid-morning or may cause you to binge on something at lunch just because you’re so hungry by then.
What You Eat Matters!
Remember, it isn’t just about having breakfast but having a healthy breakfast. Choose well and you’ll set yourself up for weight loss, lower cholesterol, a balanced diet, better nutrition, and more.
Here are 5 good-old desi breakfast options you should try:
1. Wholegrain Dosas, Adais, Pesarattus, & Chilas, Not Pancakes: You can whip these up with pretty much anything wholegrain and make it even healthier with the additions of herbs, spices, and fresh vegetables. These traditional Indian breakfasts don’t always have to involve white rice or rice flour. You could also try alternative grains that are richer in nutrients – with millets like ragi or lentils – moong dal and chana daal work especially well.
Toss in some herby greens like coriander/mint and fresh garlic and ginger for added nutrition. Onions, tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric all add zing and nutrients. Just remember to eat them with fresh homemade chutneys made from vegetables and nuts and not salty, oily pickles.
2. Desi Porridges, Not Cereals From a Box: Before there were boxed cereals and granola, there was dalia or broken wheat. Fiber-loaded, this healthy carb is also nutrient-rich and delicious. You can enjoy a sweetened version cooked in skimmed milk and water, with some cardamom powder, saffron, and dried fruits to sweeten it.
Or go savory with a mustard seed/curry leaf tadka and ginger and chillies for heat. You won’t miss those instant oats and cornflakes anymore.
3. Anda Bhurji, Not Fried Eggs: Trade in your fried eggs for a healthier anda bhurji or parsi style akuri, flavored with turmeric and ginger and garlic. The vegetables, herbs, and spices make this great for the palate and more nutritious too!
The best part is that it doesn’t take as much oil as frying an egg if you do it right, so it’ll be lower fat too. And those veggies count towards your “five a day” of fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Kanji, Not (Just) Kombucha: While kombucha is a fermented drink that’s great for your gut, the Indian drink kanji is also fermented, loaded with probiotics, and delicious. Made from vitamin-loaded carrots and heart-healthy beets, this drink has its roots in Punjab and is a fond childhood memory for many. Add it to your staples!
5. Upma, Not Granola: Upma doesn’t always have to be made with rava or semolina. Broken wheat/dalia or godhumai upma is textural and more filling on account of the higher fiber content. Oats, millet, and jowar also make flavorsome upmas, so consider trying those as well.
And don’t forget to add healthy nuts like almonds cut into slivers instead of sev or sugar for crunch.
6. Buttermilk And Sprouts Salad, Not Just Yogurt Parfait: A protein, folate, mineral and vitamin-rich sprout salad with a tangy lemon and red chilli powder dressing can be just what you need to tickle those taste buds in the morning. Give that a shot in place of a fruit, yogurt, and muesli bowl once in a way. And instead of a sugary sweetened yogurt, you can get in your probiotics from a light, traditional buttermilk or chaas.