My sister recently switched her usual breakfast bagel or ‘breakfast biscuits’ for a breakfast of eggs and veggies. The night before she made a frittata and then in the morning she cut herself a slice and had it as a quick and easy breakfast. She told me that on that morning, she didn’t get hungry until lunch time. She’s in college and has a mid-morning break time, usually by break time, she is, in her own words, starving! She would normally get herself a snack or even eat some of her lunch because there was no way she could wait until lunchtime.
So what changed? Why did her breakfast of eggs & veggies leave her feeling fuller for longer compared to her usual breakfast bagel or biscuits?
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient– this means it leaves you feeling fuller for longer, eggs contain protein. Fat is the second most satiating macronutrient, eggs also contain healthy fats. Vegetables provide fibre. Fibre will literally fill your stomach up and also slow down stomach emptying, again, leaving you feeling more satisfied.
In comparison, a bagel or ‘breakfast biscuit’ contains almost only carbohydrate. A breakfast made up of processed & refined carbohydrate will be quickly digested and broken down into glucose. This will likely spike your blood sugar very quickly. Spiking your blood sugar first thing in the morning isn’t the best idea. It will set you up for a day of sugar highs followed by blood sugar crashes, sugar cravings, irritability and a tendency to overeat.
This is what my sister was experiencing when she ate refined carbohydrates for breakfast, a blood sugar high followed by an inevitable blood sugar low. This is why around break time she started to feel hungry again, her body was telling her it needed more sugar, now.
Food companies have done a brilliant job at convincing us that only certain foods are ‘breakfast foods’, it makes them a lot of money. Unfortunately, for us, a lot of these foods are full of sugar and refined carbohydrate – cereal is a prime example. I want to assure you that you don’t have to conform to clever advertising and you can eat whatever you like for breakfast.
I used to love my breakfast of chocolate flavoured granola with skimmed milk, it wasn’t very filling but it wasn’t easy giving it up. Sugar is addictive and it was hard to let go of that sugar hit first thing in the morning. Now, I usually start my day with red meat, veggies and nuts. Sometimes if I eat out it will be eggs and bacon. I want to make it clear that I’m by no means telling you that you must eat what I eat for breakfast. All that I’m suggesting is that you take a look at what foods you’re starting your day with. If you find yourself getting hungry an hour or two after you have eaten breakfast you may want to try to add some protein, fat or fibre.
Please let me know if you’d like some ideas for alternative breakfasts!