Breakfast is the most important meal of the day–this statement needs no reiteration. However, many people skip breakfast for two reasons: lack of time and/or not feeling hungry in the morning.
Fortunately, I feel hungry most of the time. I am also one of those people who is always running early. So I used to grab my breakfast at a cafe near work: a cup of coffee or tea and bacon and cheese turnovers. This was a ritual because we all are aware of the seductiveness of bacon smell and the addiction of its taste. But too much bacon is not good for us. So, I switched to vegetable and cheese turnovers.
However, at the end of the day, it was puffed pastry made of refined flour, cheese and an apology in the name of vegetables. The turnovers were adding to the visceral fat around my stomach and taking away from my bank account. Exaggeration? Here’s the math
1 cup of coffee + 1 vegetable turnover = £ 3.65 per day = £ 18.25 per week = £ 949 per year + 0 health benefits
Why Did I Do It?
A reason for this spending was hunger combined with the need for distraction. I used to reach work an hour early ( why? that is for another post). By the time I got to the cafe, I would begin to feel hungry so I would eat there to fuel myself and pass the time, reading or catching up with family over text messages. The forty minutes I spent at the cafe were crucial ‘me-time’ before a busy day at work so I didn’t feel motivated to head straight to work and get to my desk.
Don’t Break Your Routine, Just Tweak It
So here is what I have started doing. I make oats the night before and take them with me. I reach the cafe at the usual time and have my homemade breakfas there. After forty minutes, I head to work. I have been doing this for the past ten days and I am successful on most days. There are days when I am unable to make breakfast the night before, for example if I get home late. The next day I am tempted to eat at the cafe. However, I realise that I only need to set aside mere ten minutes every night to make my breakfast. It prevents me from eating things which are not adding value to my nutrition, and curbs unwanted spending.
Fix, Commit And Repeat Till It Becomes Second Nature
It requires commitment and discipline to will yourself into making breakfast the night before and potentially eat the same thing for an entire week. But would you rather eat nutrient-rich oats or greasy bacon? I know you want to say greasy bacon but the idea of tummy fat and attendant complications should deter you.
My oats recipe
I let the oats soak in warm water for five minutes. While this is happening, I am chopping something for dinner. Then I mix in some yoghurt, toasted coconut, almond powder, honey and some chopped fruits. I transfer it to a container and keep it in the fridge. The next morning, I just grab and go.
Weekday breakfast doesn’t need to be a complicated affair. You can prep it alongside dinner or just before you do the dishes. There are several options that you could look at that are not time and labour intensive: boiled eggs, fruits and nuts with yoghurt, raw vegetables, a slice of wholegrain toast and hummus.
If you can’t eat first thing in the morning, then take it to work and eat when you get the first hunger pangs. The goal is to get the right kind of elements into your system the first thing in the day.
My breakfast ritual kept me energised and full till lunch. I didn’t feel the need to snack and I felt good about not spending unnecessarily. Every new endeavour requires practice before it becomes a part of our lives. We will fail in the beginning and temptations will be rife. However, it’s easy to get into a rhythm if we start small and work on it consistently.