In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of being aware of what you are ingesting as the first meal of the day.
We grow up hearing from our parents, learning in school, or seeing in advertisements that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, it can be argued that every meal, what you eat and when you eat it, is important. While this statement is true, what you feed your body for the first meal of the day is still, without a doubt, key to healthy living.
A prevalent misconception is that breakfast is typically between certain hours of the morning, but this is not necessarily so. As things have changed over time due to various work schedules or sleeping patterns, “breakfast” or the first meal of the day does not necessarily have to be in the early mornings. When you look at the word breakfast, you can separate it into two words, break and fast. Taking it further, it means breaking the fast.
From the time someone has their last meal of the day to when they wake up from sleeping, they are fasting as they are not eating while sleeping. Regardless of the time of day someone wakes up, the first meal they ingest is “breaking the fast” which takes their body out of “sleep mode” and kickstarts their metabolism (or bogs it down).
What should the first meal of the day be?
One key element to focus on is having a nutritious “breakfast” that supports what your system needs whether it be for energy, weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, or to manage any health-related concerns. It is crucial to put thoughtful consideration into what it is that you are feeding your system to sustain it or to give you the desired results or outcomes you are aiming for in a healthy manner.
Since our body systems are all unique, it is hard to provide a straightforward answer to “What should be the first meal?” as it varies between what each person needs for their system to maintain, repair, and sustain itself. Another thought to consider is that what our system needs changes day-to-day depending on the individual, what their body needs, what activities they are doing, and what level of energy they require to sustain them to keep their body working efficiently.
Did You Know? Fewer than 10% of the population thinks about what they are feeding their body? 1 Meaning, people are not putting emphasis on what it is that they are going to eat to fuel their system. We aren’t talking about what their tastes are, we are talking about the nutritional value of their meals.
The problem that we are faced with is exactly what this statistic shows, we are not aware of what we are feeding our bodies. As alarming as it is to read this stat, it really isn’t much of a surprise since humans are creatures of habit, and in this fast-paced society we can get easily distracted or trapped into a routine of eating the same meals we always have that are quick-to-make, quick to eat drive-thru foods, or just not eating at all.
Let’s take a quick break and bring attention to the advertisements we are accustomed to seeing. Marketing companies have one thing right, the first meal is the most important meal of the day. The problem we are faced with is that the meals they are advertising are unbalanced. Most of the foods we see as “starting the day off right with breakfast” are highly processed, filled with synthetic additives and preservatives and are sugar-filled foods.
Using McDonald’s as an example, food quality varies from country to country. Here is a video on how their ingredients change based on the market: US vs. UK McDonalds. Keep in mind, it is not just McDonald’s, all chains do it!
So, whether you eat these types of meals for breakfast, lunch, or supper, if you’re not thinking about what the ingredients are and being cognizant of eating right with health on the mind, then the first meal of the day is not as important as you could be ingesting foods that are detrimental to your body. One could say that it is better than eating nothing, but the better question to ask yourself is: at what cost?
Bring Awareness to Eating Right
Now that we have identified how few of us put consideration into the meals we are eating and some of the effects it can have on our body, we would like to take this opportunity to bring awareness to eating right. There are many benefits to planning out what it is that you are going to be fueling your body with.
Are you eating for the sake of eating or because you know that your body needs to be fueled to function? Before you decide on what you eat as your first meal of the day, take a moment to pause and ask yourself questions like:
- Am I habitually making the same meal because it is quick and easy?
- Is what I am about to feed my body going to sustain me?
- Will I have the energy to get me through the activities I have planned out?
- Am I properly feeding my body, so it doesn’t work overtime?
- Is what I am about to eat something that my body can easily digest?
- Is there substance to the meal I am about to eat?
- How will this food affect my body or mood?
It is important to mention that certain foods or meals are considered to be unsustainable because they are too easily digested. These meals that you ingest will burn off quicker, which may lead to a lack of energy or cause you to feel hungrier sooner; all of this can lead to overeating as you are trying to fill that void in your stomach and get your energy levels back to where they need to be.
With less than 10% of people eating meals specifically for their body and only 30% eating with health on the mind 2, 3, we want you to understand why it is important to consider what you are eating to fuel your body. There are many people out there who eat to satisfy emotions, consume food because of the addictive nature it has on them, or eat something quick because it’s easier rather than planning it out.
If you choose to skip “breakfast” or decide to eat unbalanced or unhealthy meals, you increase the risk of not having sustainable energy which may lead to feeling tired or unable to perform at work. When you implement sleeping well and eating a healthy and balanced first meal of the day, you will begin to notice a difference in your energy levels and your ability to think.
Energy and brain power involve getting a great night’s sleep and fueling your system with food. However, now that you know why it is important to consider what you are ingesting as the first meal of the day, keep in mind that what you eat will affect how you perform throughout the day, especially when you are at work.
Please stay tuned for our future articles relating to nutritional eating.
1 Loprinzi PD, Brancsum A, Hanks J, Smit E. “Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics and Their Joint Association with Cardiovascular Disease Biomarkers in US Adults.” National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26906650/
2 Kloss, Kelsey. “137 Nutrition Statistics You Need to Know.” Livestrong.com. https://www.livestrong.com/article/13731066-nutrition-statistics/
3 Pew Research Center. “Public Views about Americans’ Eating Habits.” Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2016/12/01/public-views-about-americans-eating-habits/