Over the years in my experience as a clinical dietitian/nutritionist and more importantly, a mother of 2 young kids have realized that breakfast can look different for different people depending on their routines, taste, and daily activity but making the sensible choices at this time of the day is a game-changer for those wanting to have a healthy lifestyle.
Although the right choice of all meals is really important to keep ourselves fit and healthy you will be surprised to know that our breakfast meal holds the key to many health benefits.
Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day and there are reasons why this is the case. The best reason why breakfast is so important stays with its literal meaning ‘breaking the fast’ or ‘breaking the overnight fasting period’.
This meal due to its timing boosts human energy levels while at the same time providing the human body with much-needed nutrients required for maintaining good health.
Why breakfast is important?
Actually, there are many reasons, but one short answer is that you are likely to remain slimmer if you do. It’s easy to assume that by skipping breakfast you can keep the calories down and that will help weight management.
Actually, the reverse is true because skipping breakfast generates a hormone that regulates hunger. Lots of studies show that people who skip breakfast eat more that ultimately impacts their waistline.
But there are people who said even after eating breakfast they feel hungry by 10-11 am why is that?
Then the reason might be that your breakfast is probably lacking protein & fiber and is rich in refined carbohydrates or high in sugar as your body will burn these pretty quickly. Breakfast rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates will make you feel fuller for a longer time.
Some of the quick benefits associated with the choice of breakfast could be found below.
- Boost your energy
- Maintain weight
- Metabolism boost
- Control bad cholesterol
- It makes you feel full and help you control overeating and other unhealthy food cravings
- Improved brain function and concentration
- Lower chance of getting diabetes and heart disease like hypertension and heart attack
- Good for healthy skin
- Quick fix of essential nutrients
- The aging process is reversed
There is a very famous family question attached to this meal ‘What is there in breakfast today?’ which leads to another very common feeling for the person making the breakfast which is “Let’s make something different”.
But this feeling is very quickly overshadowed by the morning rush hours sometimes making it difficult to have a proper breakfast or have handy ready-to-eat processed food which is high in fat and sugar ultimately leading to obesity.
My usual advice in this situation is a small change in lifestyle by following 2 step approach –
Step 1 – This step involves a few quick tips which help us support the complex problem of reducing the cooking time in the morning rush hours.
The above-mentioned tips when followed in a sequence could make wonders in the overall health planning of any individual or family. Let’s understand them –
Uncomplicated & Portable Choices
This is the first and the most important part of our sequence, here we have to make a bank of food choices for breakfast which are –
- Rich in fiber
- High in protein
- Complex carbohydrates
- Low Sugar & fat
- Easy to make
The next criteria for selecting the food option is whether it is portable enough and could be taken while on the run for work.
Next, we come to planning which involves making a meal plan for 7 days and sticking to a regular schedule.
The best way to do this is to make time table yes you heard it right.
Remember how we use to plan our studies, in the same way, work out a chart for your week indicating what you want to cook and when.
Low-Calorie Indian Breakfast For Weight Loss
|Monday||Overnight soaked oats in skimmed milk (or yogurts)+berries +chia seeds or savory oatmeal with vegetables|
|Tuesday||Besan cheela(add vegetables) with chutney and buttermilk or egg bhurji with vegetables|
|Wednesday||Paneer sandwich with multigrain bread or 2 boiled eggs with multigrain bread and buttermilk|
|Thursday||Vegetable Poha +buttermilk|
|Friday||Moong daal chaat +sprouts|
|Saturday||Vegetable daliya +buttermilk|
|Sunday||Ragi idli with chutney or quinoa upma or quinoa salad|
This has a hidden benefit on your wallet as well a planned diet would lead to a planned shopping trolley.
Last we come to the execution part mostly involves pre-prepping yourself for the next day a night before to free up time in the morning to have breakfast.
Step 2- Lifestyle Changes – Here again we have a few sequences of events to be followed –
a) Where: Taking time to enjoy all your meals away from the TV / Screen or other distractions is a really important part of looking after our health and well-being.
b) When: For some people, morning can be busy, stressful or they don’t feel like eating anything but when you are trying to lose weight it’s always good to consume a high protein fiber-rich breakfast between 6-10 am. It helps to reduce the accumulation of fat in your body and makes you feel fuller throughout the day.
c) What: The most important building block of breakfast planning is the choice of food items that you want to include in your meal. A well-balanced breakfast could contain
|Food to be included||Food to be avoided|
|Eggs, whole grains beans, oatmeal, 100% whole-wheat bread, quinoa, barley, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy foods like milk yogurt, fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, nuts, and seeds.||Sugary or highly refined cereal, pancakes waffles, fried food, muffins, pastries, processed food items, cold drinks, biscuits, sugary drinks, premade smoothies(high in sugar)tea, or coffee with lots of sugar.|
Things that happen to our body when we skip breakfast:
1. You put yourself at risk of disease
According to studies breakfast skippers have been found to have a higher risk of heart diseases like hypertension and heart attack and type 2 diabetes.
2. More craving for unhealthy food
If you are skipping breakfast then you will have no energy means making unhealthy choices like fries or high-sugar food items. your organs need energy so they can function well even if it’s just a quick bowl of oatmeal, smoothies(full packed of nutrients) or eggs is a good way to start your day and keep your sugar level stable.
3. You deprived your body of essential nutrients
4. Your blood sugar level drops
Skipping breakfast can affect our blood sugar level because no breakfast will drop the blood sugar that makes you hungry and angry both at the same time and it’s not a good combo for you and the people around you.
5. Your immunity goes down
The body needs nutrients to maintain a healthy level of immune cells that fight infections. So starting your day with food fully packed with nutrients is good for your immune system.
6. Level of acidity increase
Things to keep in mind for better results:
a) Stay active as much as possible. People living a sedentary lifestyle are often sitting or lying down or engaged in an activity like watching tv, playing video games, or using a mobile. So simple ways to move more every day
- Walk for five minutes every two hours.
- Use stairs instead of a lift.
- Do a few sets of heel raises, where you stand on your toes.
- Do a set or two of push-ups against the kitchen counter.
- Always stand or walk around when you are on phone.
b) Don’t skip your meals. Every meal is important. Try to have your meals on time as skipping may result in weight gain.
c) For proper weight loss you need to follow a properly balanced diet. Every individual is different and their body needs as well. It all depends on their age, BMI, Medical history, and Daily activities.
d) Include Low-fat Low sugar in your diet.
e) Hydrate yourself and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
f) It’s really important if you want to lose weight that you Keep an eye on your meal portion size.
Few recipes for breakfast:
1. Vegetable quinoa upma recipe:
Quinoa is a magical grain that is a complete protein and contains healthy fats fiber and folic acid. Quinoa upma is a simple healthy dish loaded with vegetables.
Recipe: Before you start cooking make sure you rinse it properly 2-3 times under cold water to avoid the bitter taste of it.
You can use 1-2 teaspoons of any oil add mustard seeds urad dal and chana dal, curry leaves, hing, green chili and ginger for tempering then add lots of vegetables of your choice(onion, carrots, beans, peas, broccoli, bell peppers, etc)saute for 2 minutes followed by quinoa, water, and salt (ratio 1quinoa: 2water).
Cover and cook it for 15n min on medium to low heat. Add freshly squeezed lemon and coriander. You can also add quinoa in other forms like salad, and Raita, blend it with a smoothie, or in healthy soups as well.
2. Savory oatmeal
Oats have good nutritional value.51 grams of carbohydrates,13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber in one cup. you can include oats in different forms in your diet. You can eat it by adding yogurt, milk, or other grains.
Recipe: Add oil once it’s hot add cumin or mustard seeds, green chilies, ginger, and onion(skip if you don’t eat)then add tomatoes and other vegetables of your choice and spices like turmeric, red chili and cook it for some time.
Add oats, water, and salt and mix well then close the lid and cook it for around 5-6 minutes. At last add lemon and coriander leaves and mix well everything and it’s ready to eat.
3. Overnight soaked oats
It’s basically the no-cook method of oatmeal. If you are usually busy in the morning this is the perfect recipe for you.
Recipe: Take 3-4 Tsp oats and 2 spoons of chia seeds and soak overnight OR at least for 2 hours in low-fat yogurt or skimmed milk and keep it in the fridge. For the topping, you just need to add fruits, nuts seeds, and berries.
The consistency is like porridge or pudding and can also be taken as a smoothie. You can do lots of experiments with this recipe.
Ragi also known as Finger Millet is a perfect ingredient for weight loss and contains high protein, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Ragi has lots of health benefits it acts as a natural weight loss agent, is good for hair and skin, beneficial for breastfeeding moms.
Recipe: we need ½ cup of semolina (sooji),1cup of ragi flour, 1 cup of curd, salt to taste, and ¼ cooking soda.mix semolina, ragi flour, curd, and salt add little water as required depending on the curd thickness, and soak it for 30 minutes. After 30 min add water to get an idli batter consistency.
Just before steaming add baking soda or fruit salt (ENO) and mix well and the batter is ready to make idli. Ragi can also be included as Ragi roti, Ragi malt, Ragi upma, Ragi soup, and ragi dosa.
5. Poha (flattened rice):
Poha is also known as Flattened rice or beaten rice. Poha is very low in calories which makes it a good choice for weight loss. poha is very easy to digest and is light on the stomach.
Veg Poha is a simple recipe with lots of vegetables and sprouts. The ratio of vegetables to poha is 2:1. This makes an ideal breakfast for all.
Recipe: First, wash poha and keep it aside. Heat the oil in kadhai/ pan, add mustard seeds, and jeera seeds allow it to splutter. Add peanuts, chana dal, urad dal, and curry leave fry till they turn brown.
Add chopped onions, turmeric powder, and asafetida. Now add in peas and other vegetables, and add ½ tsp of salt. Cook on medium heat until vegetables are cooked.
Just make sure green peas and potatoes are well cooked. Now add in ½ cup of moong sprouts (skip if you don’t have them) and mix well everything.
Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. add washed poha and mix well everything. In the last add lemon and coriander.
7. Moong dal chaat:
Moong dal chat is an easy quick healthy, nutritious recipe and good for weight loss. To make wash and boil moong dal with salt as per your taste until it is cooked and ensure that each grain of dal is separated not mushy.
Strain the dal and just add onion, vegetables of your choice (like carrots, corn, capsicum, cucumber, tomato), and lemon and coriander leaves. And it’s ready to eat.
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Skipping breakfast is not an option because of its numerous health benefits. Everyone should try to have each meal of the day, especially at the start of the day.
It gives you essential nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats. Eating breakfast boost metabolism which produces enzymes needed to lose weight and metabolize fat.
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