Wednesday, September 10, 2008


As the saying goes, "Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dine like a pauper".

What is breakfast? If you were to break down the words, it means "to break the fast". The belief is that sleeping prevents eating, thus when one is sleeping, one is in effect fasting. As such, this fast is broken by the first meal of the day known as "breakfast".

Have your parents ever reminded you to eat your breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day?

After a night of sleeping, our stomach is empty. Breakfast is the fuel that gets you going so you can hit the road. Think of the analogy with a car running on low or empty fuel tank.

Some people skip breakfast because they sleep too late or because they think that it is a way to lose weight or to stay slim. However, skipping breakfast in actual fact does not help us to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, someone who skips breakfast tends to eat more calories throughout the day.

People who skip breakfast tend to be more lethargic and less able to concentrate in school or at work. They get less iron (an important nutrient) in their diets and are more likely to have a higher body mass index. The irony is that skipping breakfast may cause one to gain weight.

Breakfast is an important meal because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your supply of glucose and provides other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

People who skip breakfast tend to snack during the day. The problem occurs when the snacks are low in fibre, vitamins and minerals but high in fat and salt. Without the extra energy that breakfast can offer, some breakfast skippers feel lethargic and turn to coffee to get them through the day. Excessive coffee can be addictive and too much caffeine is harmful to the body. I have found that when I have had a cup too many of coffee during the day, my heart tends to beat faster and I get very agitated.

If one does not have the time to have a proper breakfast, one should try a nutritious snack such as fresh fruit, yoghurt, a low fat muffin or a wholemeal sandwich to help one through the mid-morning hunger.

Some people find that the thought of food first thing in the morning turns their stomach (no, this is not necessarily a symptom of morning sickness!). If this is the case, perhaps they can switch their breakfast to morning tea or mid-morning snack time instead.

A healthy breakfast has many health benefits.

Milk and other dairy products are especially good for our bodies and healthy bones. If one is lactose intolerant, one could try drinking soya bean milk instead.

Some breakfast suggestions:-

(a) Cereal and milk with a piece of fruit

(b) Toast with cheese or tomato or a spread and fruit or fruit / vegetable juice

(c) Toasted sandwich and fruit or low fat milk

(d) Toast and a smoothie (just cut up fruit like a banana and blend it with milk in the blender)

(e) Milk with cereal

(f) Baked beans on toast

(g) Fresh fruit with yoghurt and a piece of toast

(h) Peanut butter sandwich and a banana

(i) Left-over pizza, chicken pie, etc

(j) chee cheong fan

(k) steamed yam cake

(l) steamed buns (pau)

(m) dumplings

(o) porridge

(p) boiled noodles (eg. wanton mee, fishball noodles, etc)

My favourite breakfast foods are, unfortunately, not healthy. They are:-

(a) nasi lemak

(b) fried breakfast beehoon

I am trying to make the effort to eat more healthily for breakfast. I guess that at the end of the day, it is all about moderation. It does not mean that I have to totally forego nasi lemak or fried breakfast beehoon. However, I am learning to cut down on this type of breakfast. If I can manage to limit them to once a week, that would be great.

Eat healthily. May you live to be 120!

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