Everyone tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that it should be a substantial meal. Yet, some people awaken not feeling hungry and have no desire to wolf down bowls of stodgy cereal and plates of dry toast. For such people, breakfast is more easily skipped until they feel their stomach has "woken up" later in the day. Whatever your reason, the breakfast supporters do have a point – breakfast fuels us for the day. Read on for some tips for the less-than-keen breakfast folk.
- Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep or a bad night’s sleep can make us feel nauseated and bloated. This will stave off feelings of hunger until later in the morning when tiredness begins to be mistaken for hunger. You are more likely to eat candy bars and fatty baked goods later in the day to quell the queasy stomach if this is why you skipped breakfast.
- Map out a variety of choices for breakfast. Some of us dislike the same breakfast food on our plate every morning. If the thought of cornflakes, pop tarts or toast has you reaching for the car keys with an empty stomach, it’s time to vary your choices. Check wikiHow on breakfast for lots of suggestions. Consider the following possibilities:
- Fruits – sliced into your cereal, tropical platter, smoothies, etc
- Cereals – oatmeal, homemade granola or berry granola
- Breads – scones, crumpets, bagels, French toast waffles, homemade muffins
- Spreads – exotic jams and "spreads" such as marmite
- Eggs – the manner of preparing them is endless; add sauces such as salsa, soy sauce, and Tabasco for variety
- Beans – baked beans, beans and rice, refried beans in a breakfast burrito, etc.
- Meats – bacon and eggs, ham and eggs, sausage, chorizo, smoked fish, etc.
- Drinks – smoothies (fruit/milk/soy), freshly squeezed juice, blended drinks, vegetable juices
- Ethnic specialities such as breakfast tacos or Arroz Con Leche
Vary the advice on substantial breakfasts. There is a saying: "Eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch and a pauper for dinner." This makes sense if you are hauling hay or tilling crops with a hoe all day. It makes less sense if you are stumbling off to a desk and making minimal moves in front of your computer. If you have a more sedentary job, you are more likely to benefit from "grazing" – eating smaller amounts more frequently during the day. This might just make breakfast a palatable option for you as you will only need to consider eating half an apple or a cupful of strawberries or one piece of toast etc. to start out your day. As the day progresses, nibble on healthy portions here and there and have your larger meal later in the day.
- Take care with the main meal. For many workers, dinner often ends up being the main meal. This could be impacting on your breakfast desire. If this meal is very important in your household (e.g., it is the only time the family sits together) or you simply enjoy making this the largest meal, make sure that you finish it before 7 or 8 pm at the latest. That way the food will digest before you go to bed and your body can then begin to work its way towards morning hunger. If you need late night snacks, try small portions such as cheese cubes, apple slices, a banana or hot drinks.
- Check your lunch and dinner calories. If you are having both large lunches (especially in a business environment) and a large evening meal, you are probably removing your morning’s hunger as the food is still being digested. Try eating a larger breakfast combined with making healthy choices both eating out and at home; while this will probably be hard at first, it might help to lessen the amounts you consume later in the day, thereby making it easier to eat more at breakfast. It will also make weight maintenance easier.
- Exercise before breakfast. This might help you to work up an appetite. At the very least, drink a smoothie or a multi-fruit juice to give your body some vitamins and a small amount of fiber.
- Allow enough time for breakfast. If you are feeling stressed or in a rush in the morning you may be less inclined to spend the time on a good breakfast. Try to prioritize sitting down for a relaxed meal (this can be true for all meals of the day.)
- Drink juice at the very least. If you really feel too nauseated or averse to chewing, down a glass of juice (such as orange juice) to give your body some energy. Try it before you take a shower, get dressed etc.; it may increase your desire for eating something afterwards by waking up your stomach after a long fast. Avoid drinks with fat in them (such as milk) which takes longer to digest, and may give you a feeling of fullness/satisfaction, leading to skipping breakfast altogether. If your stomach is sensitive to the acid in, say orange juice or apple juice, try grape juice.
- Don’t snack at night. Some people, especially those who tend toward bedtime heartburn, stop eating a few hours before they retire. This makes them hungry enough to eat breakfast, and may also help them cut back on "empty" calories.
- If you are skipping breakfast by choice because you think it is helping you to keep slim, you may be denying your body the energy it needs. A sensible, regular intake of food helps you to maintain an ideal weight because the body burns it for energy and doesn’t feel the need to "hoard" food; denying yourself this boost first thing in the morning could actually lead to a reversal in your body’s metabolism and make it sluggish and unable to burn the remaining food that you consume as effectively. Eat small portions of nutrient-rich food to improve your mood, outlook and metabolism.
- If motivation or being a "night owl" rather than a "morning lark" are causing you to avoid eating breakfast, ask a member of the family or a friend to make you breakfast for a week, on the understanding that you need this help to get into a new routine and that it is a temporary arrangement to turn things around. Do something in return for them, such as making dinner that week or running errands for them. Maybe you’ll even discover you like this arrangement and keep it up!
- Stay at a Bed & Breakfast renowned for its great breakfast spreads. Not only will this whet your appetite but it’ll inspire you. Throw in a spa treatment and hopefully the new, relaxed you will go home brimful of desire to make a decent breakfast!
- If you have intolerances to cow milk, a milk alternative like soymilk might be a better option for you. Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk, Hazelnut Milk and Oat Milk are all viable alternatives that are usually fortified with vitamins.
- If you’re a smoker or heavy coffee drinker, take a shower first. Waking up to something other than chemicals which actually impair an appetite will help you gain control – adding some grain and fruit to your caffeine and nicotine breakfast.
- If you are always very weak in the mornings or always wake up with a headache or nausea, then you should see your doctor to discount other health problems.
- If your posture is bad, you may be having morning neck pain and headaches, which may put you off your food. See a doctor for recommendation to a physiotherapist.
- Avoid using sugary and fat-filled snacks as energy boosters. They appear to work as they give an immediate buzz but this will fade quickly, leaving you irritable and seeking more. Replace with complex carbohydrates or protein foods that will take time to break down and continue to feed your body the energy it requires. This will keep your weight even also.
- Children should never go without breakfast. It causes poor performance at school, creates a lasting bad habit and affects their learning chances in all areas of life. If you suspect a child at school or on your street is going without breakfast, offer to provide one or speak with the child’s parents to see if they need some assistance. Be careful as to how you approach them because they may feel that their dignity is being insulted, but at the end of the day, a child’s health is more important than an adult’s misplaced sense of pride. Often the best way you can help is to donate money, food or help to your local school to provide breakfasts for children.