“What should I eat for breakfast?” This is one of the questions we are most frequently asked at the studio. The truth is there is no easy answer – every person is different. We all have different tastes and react differently with regards to the various combinations of carbohydrates, fats and protein. You can read more about how to find out what works best for you here. Other factors to consider include the following:
- At what time of day do you train? Do you feel better after eating breakfast pre- or post-workout? Or if you train in the evening, do you need to eat a breakfast higher in protein to help with muscle recovery?
- How do you feel after eating breakfast?
- Are you carbohydrate intolerant? Do you feel sluggish after eating high carbohydrate meals?
- Do you feel better eating higher proteins and fats?
- Do you actually feel like eating breakfast in the morning?
If you are struggling to eat a meal first thing, perhaps you are simply bored of your breakfast routine. We often feel tied to eating foods that we think of as ‘breakfast foods’. However, if you enjoy eating breakfast, and as long as you are avoiding processed, sugary foods, then you can eat whatever you like. Ideally your breakfast should be nutrient dense and help to fuel the body. How about trying one of the following?
- Greek yoghurt with mixed berries
- Bacon and eggs on wholemeal toast
- Savoury mince on a bed of spinach
- A smoothie with leafy greens and berries
- Poached eggs on rye toast with avocado
If you do enjoy your morning muesli or cereal, make sure you check the ingredients. Many breakfast cereals, even those packaged to look wholesome and healthy, are a prime culprit when it comes to ‘hidden’ sugar. These cereals will cause your glucose levels to spike, so you may find that an hour or two later you are reaching for the biscuit tin. Make sure to check the ingredients list and the nutritional information on the packaging.
If it’s weight loss that you are worried about and you are not a breakfast person, don’t worry. Whether or not you eat breakfast won’t necessarily effect weight loss – this comes down to how many calories you consume over a 24 hour period, and whether you are burning more calories than you are consuming over the day. Some people may function well in the mornings without breakfast – if that’s you, great!
What time do you work out?
You may find that your workout affects how you feel about breakfast. Some people prefer to have breakfast before hitting the gym, while others can’t stomach anything until afterwards. Everyone has roughly 90 minutes of glycogen stored in their muscles and liver. If you do a high intensity workout you will use a lot of your stored glycogen and may experience ‘the bonk’ or a ‘sugar crash’. It’s important to ensure that you give your body the energy it needs to recover, but it really doesn’t matter when you eat – just do what feels right for you. Alternatively, if you train in the evening, then having a hearty breakfast the next morning with a mix of protein and carbohydrates will help refuel your body and kick start the recovery process.
Bottom line? We all feel differently about breakfast and should do whatever feels right for us. It’s always beneficial to learn about our bodies and experiment with how it feels after eating certain meals and foods throughout the day. Make sure you are consuming plenty of nutrient dense foods that are full of vital macronutrients which are helping to fuel your body as well as minimising processed foods high sugars. If you are doing this and feel great, then it doesn’t matter whether you eat breakfast or not!