Login | June 18, 2019

Eat your breakfast!

Pete’s World

Published: December 31, 2018

I’m going to sound like that proverbial broken record, but I’ll say it anyway, and I’ll say it just like your mother used to: Don’t skip your breakfast!

Now though this column typically addresses athletics and athletic endeavors, I thought it appropriate to address such sage motherly advice despite the fact that said advice isn’t exactly athlete specific.

So with the breakfast table appropriately set for this week’s column, let’s take a look at what’s easily the neglected meal of the day.

And right off the bat I’m going to come clean, because over the last few years I’ve been a bad boy when it comes to getting in my brekkie. That self-awareness coupled with my recent purchase of the Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook really got me thinking more seriously about this topic. Got me thinking that despite all my years in the health and fitness field, if I’m guilty of skipping and skimping on healthy breakfasts, well, there’s probably a whole lot of other people who commit the very same sin.

It certainly goes to show just how easy it is to be on the bad side of what should be a good lifestyle habit.

I think I can speak for just about everyone when I say that I know better - much better. Yet sometimes out of laziness, sometimes through haste, sometimes from absence of appetite, we end up on the bad side of getting in a good breakfast. And whatever our excuse, we know deep down we’re committing a dumb-dumb move each and every time we walk out the door without an adequate breakfast under our belt.

In the book, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Clark, sums up the importance of a good breakfast this way, “Breakfast works wonders for improving the quality of your diet. That is, eating breakfast results in less "junk food" later in the day. Breakfast also enhances weight control, sports performance, daily energy levels and future health.”

Those are a whole lot of persuasive reasons to eat a brekkie.

Which brings me back to me. My breakfast skipping sin was largely due to a lack of morning appetite, putting me squarely into the low energy level camp more so than any of the other situations. Eventually that behavior began to impact my afternoon workouts. And that was regardless of how much I tried to compensate throughout the day with a generous lunch and healthy snacks. Then in the evening I’d eat a more than generous dinner.

Clark points out that those generous lunches and dinners only help to perpetuate this lack of morning appetite phenomenon. In my case, I’d end up cranking through the morning on hot, black coffee, then move ahead to big lunches and bigger dinners. Sound familiar?

Well, Clark has a simple breakfast suggestion that’s malleable enough to fit virtually anyone’s situation - a small, wholesome breakfast cereal with a lowfat milk, along with a banana (or another kind of fruit or berry) along with orange juice.

Such a combination provides carbohydrates to fuel the muscles, protein for muscle tissue rebuilding/repairing, along with a host of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C, iron and plenty of phytonutrients.

Now when Clark suggests a cereal, she’s obviously not talking about Cap’n Crunch, she’s referring to a whole grain, high fiber cereal, something that’s not only a healthful meal, but also something that can contribute to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Having never been a cereal guy, coupled with a lack of morning appetite, I had a double whammy to untangle. But be darned if over time I adapted. Clark’s quick, simple and nutritious breakfast suggestion has given me more gas in the tank come workout time and enabled me to cut down on my lunch and dinner portions. I’m actually waking up hungry now…and looking forward to my Quick-Cook Steel Cut Oats mixed with fruit, nuts and berries.

I also feel more energetic, I drink less coffee and I’m more jazzed to get after the day. Imagine that?

By gosh, moms really do know what they’re talking about: Breakfast skipping’s not only a no-no, it’s just plain dumb.