We all call ourselves foodies, food-lovers, food-maniacs, and what not. But when we talk about food, how much do we really emphasize on breakfast? or is it just the lunch and dinner prep and chat?
For those that do not realise, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It is your day-starter, your power-packer and the one meal that can transform your day into what you want it to be: the go-getter’s paradise. It is the meal that adds value to your entire day, it gives you the energy boost you need. Just the way your body cannot function without any one organ, our stomachs need the essential meals of the day to function properly.
Breakfast: Morning Maker
Lunch: Afternoon Pick Up
Dinner: Pre Sleep Satiation
Think of your stomach like a new born child. A baby’s only needs are timely meals and timely resting. Less of either, will have the baby wailing! Now imagine your stomach; as you wake up in the morning, it grumbles. You need to feed it. Come afternoon, the belly baby needs a meal again. But when the day is long, the baby needs a good feed in the morning. Have I made sense so far? yes, I thought so!
Breakfast will never be as important as lunch, and lunch can never take away the value that breakfast adds to our lives. It is like how the heart cannot do the lung’s job, and the kidney can definitely not pump blood into our body. Both have their own relevance. Breakfast does to your day, what coffee does to your mind (of course, for a longer and healthier period of time!).
I will explain to you how breakfast became the most important part of my days’ worth of meals. It all started when I was a little child and our father would literally run around the house trying to catch a hold of us. What for? To eat breakfast. As children, our psychology always said wake up and go play. We never did realise the importance of breakfast back then, and how playing could actually be more fun if we ate and then ran around with a tank full of energy.
Every morning this would be my father’s workout - run behind the kids to feed them wholesome food - whether it is eggs, some rice or parathas. Similar to how we treated the concept of dry fruits back then, and how we value them now.
As I grew older, I realised that the cure to basic acidity is a good meal as we wake up. Whether it is fruits, a fresh granola bowl, a cereal killer attitude or some piping hot Indian meal - it fixed my refluxes. I was a happier person, less grouchy because now my stomach wouldn’t grumble. I had a good burst of energy to conduct all my day to day tasks - at the time, it was running behind my own children to get some food in as they wake up. The cycle never ends!
During lockdown, the emphasis on breakfast widely increased, because once awake, what do we think of? the first meal of the day. When the lockdown hit us in Mumbai, we were all about having a brilliant breakfast spread at home, whether it is an Indian breakfast or an english fare. After all, having a meal after waking up might be the single most important food decision of your day. A few reasons why breakfast could be the best decision of your day are:
- You are breaking a fast - your glucose, blood sugar and energy levels at the start of your day are lowest. What you eat as you wake up, determines the quality of energy you have for the rest of your day!
- Reduces your risk for heart trouble - apart from being the most loved meal, breakfast is the meal that prevents you from over-eating at lunchtime. And what do we all know about overeating? it causes stress. Stress, then causes heart troubles - the physical and emotional kind.
- Tune in for your best day - breakfast, the meal, has the power to keep you perfectly tuned in for the rest of your day. The nutrients work towards improving your reflexes as well as your functions for a good portion of the day.
- Fibre, oh fibre - digestion is important. Breakfast is the one meal that gives you a good amount of fibre. I am talking about cereal, salads, oats, fresh ingredients here.
- Wholesome protein - this one is a no brainer. It keeps you full for a good amount of time. Get some work done, and don’t feel hungry until lunch time
So apart from these, there are so many other fun ways to look at breakfast with. For me, the most fun part about breakfasting is the variety. We live in a country that has as many as 26 different shades, cultures, cuisines and people. So why not see it the same way from the breakfast perspective?
There are days I like a proper dosa-idli-puliogare spread, but days where I would rather chomp down on Pohas and Upmas like there is no tomorrow. Some days its just a quick english spread with breads, eggs, sausages and the always important coffee!
But really, there are days where I wake up craving buttery parathas full of punjabi goodness, and some days where I crave a simple bite or two. To this, there is one constant: I make sure it is nutritious, wholesome. I am sure you will agree, that this is the best way to achieve nutrition for your day too!
The next important (fun) part of breakfast, is planning it. Whether you wake up 10-15 minutes early to get some prepping time in, or make sure everything is ready, alongside cooking your dinner a night before, planning is the key to a healthy lifestyle. This helps in controlling your portions, reducing the last-minute hassle and also keeps you fed within 30 minutes of waking up - there are no long waits for “where is my paratha!”.
There are always quick hacks to any troublesome task you may have. We just have to open our eyes and look for them. A few cookbooks later, I decided to find a way to make every cooking exercise to feel less like a task, and more like a DIY project. Till date, my meals are a smart combination of products, instead of a recipe out of a book. For example, many people ask me “how do I eat cereal?” - funniest question I have been asked, tbh.
For most people, cereal is a breakfast food. But did you know? I recently put a few spoons of my Happy Millet & Apricot Cereal into a bowl of sambhar and trust me, it was a heavenly lunch. Replace your rice, my friend. Cereal can be the perfect rice replacement, the perfect raita filled, a salad topper, a base for an evening bhel, and the best crunchy evening snack as it is!
My father’s belief resonates with me every day “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. More often than not, it is these ancient proverbs that get us out of physical, emotional and professional distresses!