The right start: Breakfast fuels productive work

Daniel Estes
Daniel Estes

In the process of getting ready for work, waking up the kids and making sure everyone in the house is prepared to start the day, breakfast can easily get lost in the shuffle.

Many people don’t eat a proper breakfast, replacing healthy foods with quick, sugary substitutes. Others skip breakfast entirely, leaving their fuel tanks empty and their blood sugar levels depleted.

Unfortunately, this trend of letting breakfast fall by the wayside doesn’t bode well for maintaining health or productivity in the workplace. Eating breakfast is absolutely crucial to staying healthy and starting your day off on the right foot.

The old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day rings truer now than ever before with the pressures and stresses of daily life mounting in the average household. Just like a car needs gasoline to run properly, people need breakfast.

Here’s the good news: A healthy breakfast habit isn’t hard to maintain. The trick is getting started.

Scientifically speaking, breakfast jumpstarts your body. When you eat your first meal of the day, your metabolism picks back up after being slowed down throughout your sleeping cycle. Vital proteins and sugars give you an energy boost. Coffee doesn’t hurt, either. Fiber is important to keep you running strong and feeling full until lunch while also regulating your digestive system. Moreover, eating a healthy meal for breakfast sets you up to continue to eat healthy foods throughout the day.

Breakfast acts as a kick-starter for future food intake. In addition, mood is heavily affected by blood sugar levels. If  they skip a meal, particularly breakfast, some people can become easily agitated and lose focus once their blood sugar drops. Breakfast can neutralize this tendency.

So what are some easy ways to get started on a healthy breakfast routine?

n For starters, learning how to cook eggs in several different ways can be useful in widening your breakfast repertoire. Boiled, fried or scrambled, eggs offer a great source of protein and serve as a solid cornerstone to a healthy breakfast. Eggs are relatively inexpensive, too, and don’t take long amounts of time to make once you get the hang of cooking them.

n Oatmeal also offers a healthy choice for breakfast. When making oatmeal, use whole grain oats and, whenever possible, avoid the sugary instant packets. Supplementing oatmeal with such fruit as bananas, blueberries or strawberries can add natural sweetness and flavor to your meal without the processed sugars.

n Variety is crucial when it comes to the first meal of the day. In other words, getting at least a small portion of every major food group — fruits, grains and proteins —even a few times a week is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Since this can be nearly impossible every day, a vitamin supplement can help make up for missing nutrients.

n Finally, plan your breakfast the night before. It’s nice to not have to worry about that decision in the morning and have something delicious to which to look forward.

As easy as it is to skip breakfast, you will make life easier on yourself in the long run if you take the time to fuel your body for the day ahead. It’s absolutely worth it to wake up 15 minutes earlier to throw together some eggs and toast or oatmeal with fruit.

One of the best things about beginning a healthy breakfast routine — unlike some other health-related changes — is the effects are almost instantaneous. You don’t have to wait days or weeks to see the results. If you eat a healthy breakfast, chances are you’ll be more energized and productive that very morning.