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Samantha Amarel from Sharjah says
that while she makes an effort to make a
decent breakfast for her husband and kids,
they invariably end up not eating it due
to lack of time. “I do make breakfast but
because of the rush of the morning school
bus and my husband’s office transport,
it ends up not being eaten. I can see it is
taking a toll on my kids as by the time
they come home from school, they are
drained and tired. How do I make more
time for this important meal?” she asks.
Most of us are in a similar kind of rut with
little or no time for this very important
meal of the day. But what makes this first
meal of the day just so important? To
answer, Dr. Shaik Altaf Basha, Professor
of Internal Medicine at GMC Hospital,
explains that breakfast is considered the
main meal because it serves to end the
overnight fasting. “It heralds the activities
of the day ahead,” he says and essentially
when we consume breakfast, we replenish
the energy in the form of vital calories
and our water with minerals.
The Consequences
The bottom line is never skip breakfast.
Skipping breakfast lowers your
metabolism and sets you up to overeat
and crave bad foods later on. According to
Dr. Basha, the negative result of skipping
breakfast includes lack of calories and is
equivalent to fasting/starvation. When
you’re asleep, your body isn’t burning as
many calories. If you delay your first meal
of the day till lunch, your body goes into
survival mode and starts storing calories,
creating fat. “These effects are the same
for both kids as well as adults,” he says.
“Also breakfast is especially important
for growing kids and teenagers because
the level of physical activity is relatively
higher in them.” In fact he points out
that there are studies which show that
kids skipping breakfast are less active and
perform sub-optimally in school. If you
skip breakfast, or eat the wrong foods, you
miss out on optimizing your mood for the
rest of the day.
The Benefits
Research studies have demonstrated that
people who eat breakfast are more likely
to maintain a healthy weight. It’s also
more likely that people who regularly eat
breakfast also make good dietary choices
the rest of the day. Another plus point
is that breakfast is the start of getting
our serotonin levels perking along and
balanced. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter
that is related to our well being. Eating
a good breakfast also prevents you from
overeating as if you prolong the amount of
time between dinner and your next meal
of the day, the subsequent hunger pangs
and the thought of food all morning will
only cause you to overeat at lunch. This
adds extra calories that can lead to obesity
and other health complications. Eating
breakfast also allows you to adequately
portion your meals as consuming a
healthy, balanced breakfast can help you
plan your meals for the rest of the day.
That way, you won’t be tempted to binge
eat or snack unnecessarily, both of which
are unhealthy habits.
Ideal Foods
Some good recommended nutritious
breakfast foods, says Dr. Basha includes
eggs and vegetables in the form of an
omelette or yoghurt with fruit and nuts.
Eggs are also a good source of protein
and one egg only has about 75 calories.
Breakfast should include a healthy source
of protein and plenty of fibre as this
combination will help satisfy your hunger
and will keep you feeling full until lunch
time. The protein can come from low-
fat meat, low-fat dairy products, or nuts
and nut butters. High-fiber foods include
fruits, vegetables and whole grains. “For
people who are always in a rush, it is
better to pre-plan and prepare a breakfast
which can be carried in a pack and the
individual can have it on the way or can
have it at the work place,” he says. He adds
that overall, a hearty cooked breakfast
is preferable rather than frozen or cold
one. “In fact, there are other ideal foods
to consume for breakfast which include a
combination of homemade whole grain
muffin, oatmeal, cornflakes, baked beans,
boiled or scrambled egg, low-fat cream
cheese, skimmed milk, greens, fruit, sliced
wholemeal bread, and even idlis with
vegetable broth and yoghurt,” he explains.
WHAT
TO AVOID
While any breakfast may be better
than no breakfast, don’t ruin
your breakfast with high-fat and
high-calorie foods. Some types
of foods which Dr. Basha does
not recommend are processed
cereal foods, sugary or syrupy
items, meats and broth. Eating
a high sugar/carb breakfast will
increase serotonin levels as well as
create a spike in blood sugar and
then a cascading hormone crash
to follow. Aim to cut out sugary
breakfast cereals, high-calorie
pastries, and preserved meats
that are high in saturated fat and
sodium.
Berries:
These are low in calories
and rich in vitamins and minerals,
as well as antioxidants and phyto-
nutrients. Try adding a cup of fresh
or unsweetened frozen strawberries,
blueberries, or raspberries to your
morning cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
Cold cereal:
There are actually some
nutritious options out there; check
the ingredient lists and nutrition-facts
labels and look for cereals that have at
least 3 grams of fibre and 6 grams or
less of sugar per serving.
Cottage cheese:
High in protein
and calcium, cottage cheese is an
excellent choice in the morning. To
limit saturated fat, choose one or two
percent milk-fat varieties.
Eggs:
Eggs eaten as part of a
balanced breakfast will keep you full
all morning long and supply more
than a dozen essential nutrients.
Oatmeal:
Oatmeal is packed with
soluble fibre and can keep you satiated
for hours. Try mixing in natural peanut
butter stirred in with some chopped-up
bananas or dates.
Peanut butter:
Natural peanut butter
is a good source of monounsaturated
fat, which may help lower bad
cholesterol in the blood.
Smoothies:
Start with a protein-rich
base of low-fat milk or plain yogurt,
then add unsweetened frozen fruit,
such as berries or bananas.
Whole-grain breads:
Compared
with refined white bread, whole-grain
varieties are a better source of fiber
and many nutrients, including iron, B
vitamins, and vitamin E.
Yogurt:
Yogurt is packed with filling
protein and bone-building calcium.
Aim to buy the low fat Greek variety
and then add a teaspoon of honey.
H
Try These for a Healthy Breakfast
Jan/Feb 2014
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