A day well started is the fight half won. Here is your guide to start your day on a good and healthy note.
Waking up and getting out of the bed can be one of the most difficult tasks to do in the morning! Post dinner and after 8 hours of sleep, the body’s energy levels are low. Most of us need to eat or drink something in order to kick start our day. Invariably, the most preferred beverage is either tea or coffee.
Tea and coffee contain caffeine, which is a stimulant for the central nervous system and leads to the production of adrenalin. Adrenalin increases the heart rate and oxygen uptake by the lungs that induce a sense of alertness and energy. Sugar in tea or coffee provides the necessary calories to the body that has been burnt doing involuntary actions (respiration, digestion, beating of the heart etc.) during sleep. Also, it a good option to accompany your first cup of tea or coffee for the day with a rusk (suji toast) or low-fat biscuits. This will provide you with a booster till breakfast.
The importance of breakfast
Busy with the household chores or getting ready for work, most people tend to miss out on the most important meal of the day – breakfast. The meaning of breakfast lies within the word itself. Broken up, breakfast means ‘breaking the fast’. The body utilises most of the energy performing important body functions through the night. After waking up, the brain is slow and body is lethargic as it is devoid of energy. Therefore, in order to replenish the body with energy and build up stores of energy, eating a healthy breakfast is extremely important. A healthy breakfast helps you to stay energetic all through the day. Also, it is important to ensure that the breakfast is balanced in terms of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Healthy breakfast options
Some healthy breakfast options that all of us can include in our diet are:
- Oats accompanied with a fruit, like banana, apple or papaya. Also include nuts like almonds or walnuts
- Add a banana along with few walnuts and almonds in your boring cornflakes or wheat flakes to make it sumptuous and healthy.
- Wheat bread along with egg whites (boiled, poached, omelette- your choice) and banana or mango shake.
- A fruit smoothie along with a grilled vegetable sandwich (made with wheat bread).
- Chapatti with a vegetable, along with a glass of lassi.
- Poha, upma or vermicelli (seviyan) with vegetables and a glass of milk.
Please note that each breakfast option has a food item that provides carbohydrates (oats, cornflakes, bread or chapatti), proteins (milk, egg white or curd), fats (in form of nuts, or oil), vitamins and minerals (from fruits or vegetables). It is important to ensure that carbohydrates are derived from complex source like oats, wheat bread or wheat chapatti. If not, then include fruits and vegetables in your breakfast. Presence of complex carbohydrates or fruits and vegetables in your breakfast would improve the fibre content of the breakfast. This fibre helps to release glucose slowly in the body, providing energy for a longer period of time, making you feel energetic and active for longer.
Small, mini-meals at an interval of 2-3 hours help maintain optimal blood glucose levels. These act like a fuel for your body and brain to run optimally. It is important to note that glucose is the only source of energy or fuel for the brain. So during the day, if you find it difficult to concentrate, it is because your fuel tank (glucose level) is finishing and it needs to be replenished. In between meals, remember to snack on fruits, nuts like walnuts or almonds (5-6), roasted namkeen, multi-grain biscuits (1-2) lassi, nimbu paani or dhokla (steamed) to tide over the low glucose phase.
Remember, small mini, healthy meals at frequent intervals will keep you active all day. Plus, it’s fun to snack, as long as you do it wisely!
Photographs by sxc.hu
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