Is Your Breakfast Working for You?
I love breakfast! I am a self-confessed breakfast fanatic and I absolutely don’t function at my best without it. For me I get excited about waking up to delicious nutrient dense meals that set me (and my children!) up for a great healthy start to the day. I make sure breakfast is a well-balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein and fat that sustains me for the daily activities ahead.
But, I’m not here to debate if you should have breakfast or skip breakfast or even go over all the research for and against. If you do have a consultation with me, breakfast is certainly a topic we will discuss.
What I am here to discuss is the topic ‘Is Your Breakfast Working For You?’. If these tips sound like you, chances are you’re not eating the right breakfast for you.
1. You need a snack after breakfast
Feeling hungry shortly after eating may be due to the nutrient content of the meal. A well-balanced breakfast should sustain you for at least 4 hours (depending on physical activity) without constantly looking for a snack. If you feel hungry after breakfast it’s likely it didn’t include all the nutrients you need.
A breakfast high in refined carbohydrates with little fibre and protein can lead to short-term energy, spiking blood sugar levels. Your pancreas sees a huge spike in blood glucose levels and responds by releasing insulin. This can often result in too much glucose being removed from your blood, causing a blood sugar crash or very low blood sugar levels, which is when you often crave more refined carbs.
Protein, fibre and fat all take longer to break down in the digestive system. A well-balanced breakfast that includes these nutrients can lead to longer lasting energy.
Save time by preparing breakfast the night before.
2. You’re ravenous for lunch at 11am
This is a sign you may need to assess whether your breakfast is filling enough. If you struggle to concentrate or focus at work and breakfast was less than 4 hours ago, you may need to assess what you had for breakfast.
If it was a healthy breakfast, opting for a larger portion or adding more protein, fat, or fibre can help you go comfortably all the way to lunch time.
If you’ve already eaten a robust breakfast and a healthy mid-morning snack consider whether your hunger signs are perhaps a sign you are thirsty?
3. You suffer from an afternoon crash.
What you eat is more important then how much. Again, if your breakfast or your lunch weren’t well-balanced meals providing whole sources of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, this can lead to an afternoon deep in energy levels and often result in cravings.
4. You’re sleepy and lack concentration during the day.
Many factors that can contribute to fatigue or lack of concentration however, your breakfast can also be a contributing factor. A well-balanced breakfast can help alleviate fatigue and brain fog.
5. You crave stimulants and ‘pick me ups’.
If you need stimulants like coffee or energy drinks to get you kick started in the morning or last through the afternoon it’s a good sign that something isn’t working right. Ask yourself, did you have a well-balanced breakfast and lunch?
If you are eating a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack then you symptoms could relate to something else. Symptoms such as headaches and fatigue could actually signal something else entirely. You may be need more sleep, suffer from dehydration or have some nutrient deficiencies such as low iron. If you are confused, speak to your health care professional.
Remember, there is no perfect diet, so what works for one person might not work for you. It’s important to assess what is working for you individually. Choose a nourishing breakfast that will set yourself, and your energy levels, up for success.
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