Let Your Breakfast Eating Time Be Guided by Your True Hunger Signals

Did you know there is no conclusive evidence (as yet) that breakfast is the most important meal of the day despite what we tell our children.*

Breakfast has been linked to improved memory and concentration, lower risk of developing T2D, unnecessary weight gain and obesity as well as a myriad of other chronic diseases but confounding factors could be involved, so an unequivocal causal relationship with breakfast cannot be proven. For instance, it could be that breakfast eaters have a healthier approach to their overall eating pattern throughout the day hence the impact on chronic disease risk.

As a nutritionist, I believe that breakfast is important for restoring the macro / micro nutrients used overnight for growth and repair. Additionally, breakfast is needed to ensure your blood sugar levels remain balanced throughout the morning and you don’t make your life harder by having low blood sugar. It’s so unpleasant that out of control feeling you get with low blood sugar, where you want to maim innocent bystanders and will eat the closest high sugar (and usually high fat) food you can get your hands on. Poor decisions and moody outbursts occur under the influence of low blood sugar.

To this end, breakfast should be consumed when your body signals it is hungry, which for me is usually within 2-3 hours of waking but for you could be a shorter or longer period of time. It’s a very individual thing. The true hunger signal I tell my clients to become mindful of is their stomach is growling / grumbling a little bit and the feeling of a want to eat. These two things TOGETHER indicate a true hunger signal. If you have gotten to the stage where you have lost concentration, gotten irritable or are feeling faint then you are over-hungry and have left “breaking your fast” too long.

The breakfast that you have should be a balance of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and fibre to promote both satiety and provide your body with the nutrient mix it needs to perform well.

For instance;

  • Porridge with yoghurt, berries and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds
  • Chia pudding with yoghurt and berries
  • Multigrain sourdough (1 slice) with 1-2 eggs, spinach, tomato and avocado

Let me know how you go applying your true hunger signal to when you “break your fast” in the morning? Does it change when you eat?

 *I advise parents to ensure children eat breakfast before school to refuel their energy stores because they don’t have full control of their eating schedule due to class and meal break timing. A child without breakfast is likely to lack concentration and behaviour control within 2-3 hours of waking.

This article was written by our Flex Body Nutritionist, Nereda Merrin. See our Nutrition Page to find out more.