Why breakfast is not the most important meal of the day

I have never eaten breakfast first thing in the morning.

I don’t feel hungry until about 11am and even if I am a bit hungry, I just can’t stomach solid food when I wake up. I never have. My mother used to despair because I wouldn’t eat anything before I went to school in the mornings and I remember wishing I could eat because breakfast at home was always more appetising than school lunches which I would be hungry for. I didn’t feel hungry during the morning and I never had any difficulties concentrating (interestingly I recently read some studies that suggest that fasting increases concentration – I have no idea if the studies are valid but they certainly chime with my experience). In fact what I found when I was on diets was that when I made myself eat breakfast I often felt uncomfortably full all morning and I was likely to eat more than I needed.  One of my overeating triggers is feeling very full. The more I eat… the more I feel like eating… So making myself eat breakfast was not helpful in any way.

I normally wake up between 6 and 7am. I don’t eat or drink anything at all, first thing. No, not even a cup of tea.

These days I almost always have a latte at about 8 or 9am. And the only reason I have it is because I love it. There is a great craft coffee shop near my house and the whole experience, which I often share with my partner or my daughter, is a wonderful morning ritual which I treasure. I’m not hungry for it, so even though it’s technically food, (milk really is a food in liquid form – as long as you’re having full fat) I choose to have it anyway. I don’t have the same aversion to drinking a few hours after I get up (as long as it’s hot and milky!) as I do to eating and it doesn’t leave me feeling too full, partly because as a small artisan coffee shop, their lattes are not the size of buckets!

So, here’s an invitation. Would you be up for some exploring? A few questions to consider:

  • What time do you get hungry in the morning?

  • Do you enjoy eating breakfast?

  • If you do and you are hungry for it, what kind of food do you like eating?

  • If you’re not hungry first thing and you eat it because you genuinely can’t eat later in the morning (when you might well be hungry) or you just think you should, what’s that like? And what foods work best for you? How do you feel?

  • Hungry or not, how do you decide what to eat for breakfast?

Breakfast is only the most important meal of the day if you are hungry for it and if you enjoy eating it. If you do, that’s great. If not, then see what happens if you don’t automatically have it.

Our breakfast foods are so limited in this country… I’m curious, what’s your favourite breakfast, and why? Please post yours here, I’d love to know!

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