Do you recognize this scene? It’s early in the morning on a week day, babies have an appointment with daycare, your partner has an early meeting and you have to get to work as well. After you finish feeding your little one(s), take a shower, figure out what to wear and everyone is ready to leave, you’ve either grabbed a cracker or had just enough time for a small piece of toast and a coffee. Nothing to eat is also an occasional occurrence.
‘Break The Fast’
Not exactly the breakfast of champions, right? Some people act as if breakfast has some magical power, but when you dig into the science this isn’t necessarily the case. There are whole movements now trying to convince you that skipping breakfast is not as bad as it has been made out to be.
So why should YOU commit to this morning ritual? Just telling you about how delicious breakfast can be is probably not enough, so I have 3 compelling reasons for you.
Waking Up Tired
But first of, if you are anything like I was, you wake up tired and run down. This is an indication that you might have adrenal fatigue, which occurs during a period of chronic stress. Pregnancy, a new born, sleep deprivation and trying to keep doing it all qualify as stressful.
Ideally, you’re stress hormone (cortisol) levels should be highest in the morning to keep you alert, making sure your metabolism is running smoothly (not hanging on to unwanted baby weight) and you’re blood sugar is under control, which is crucial for stable energy. When you have adrenal fatigue, you wake up tired and at night you might feel wired with a racing and anxious mind. Even if this is not where you are at right now, it is a situation you want to prevent by making sure you don’t let your stress levels soar continually.
Therefore, moms you need a nutrient-rich breakfast that will contribute to hormonal balance. A daily vitamin boost to start your day off and takes into account your specific needs will start counter balancing the fatigue you experience. Your morning cracker and coffee are not doing you any favors especially when it comes to hormonal balance.
What To Do?
1. Call In The habits
If you are visiting my blog then you are here because you haven’t been feeling like the best version of yourself. You’ve probably told yourself a few times that from tomorrow onwards you are going to exercise, eat healthier or some other feat of willpower. As you may know willpower is fickle when you’re tired, time constraint or have some toddler emergency to tend to.
Power Of Habit
Time to become a creature of habit. There are approximately 200 food decisions you make daily(!) Yes 200!
You are not consciously thinking about all of them. Although what to have for dinner might take up so much back and forth that it feels like making 200 decisions at once. Most of the food decisions we make are made on autopilot.
That is the beauty of habits, you don’t think about it, but just do. Energy conservation at its best! This to help your brain conserve much needed energy for more important tasks. So if you could somehow insert a healthy habit, which costs you no energy, but has a lot of benefits that would be awesome right?
Breakfast is ideally set-up for such a scenario. Maybe you have read ‘The power of habits’ by Charles Duhigg (a must read if you’re a behavior enthusiast like me) and know about the process. A habit requires a trigger, a routine, which is followed by a reward. The trigger or cue in this case is in the morning, so the time of day. You have already established this habit for your child(ren) so it’s going to be easy to join.
It’s All About The Reward
Next comes routine and here you need to make things as simple as possible. Prepare breakfast the night before, eat the same thing your child does or delegate this task to your partner. Charles Duhigg once said on Quora that the most important part of successful habit design is the reward.
The short term gratification here should be taste, have something you like or something you can feel good about because you are nourishing your body. Really focus on the fact that you are making a good choice. And if neither of those feel like a good reward than cheer yourself on. Actually say ‘I am awesome for having breakfast’. Try it, it might feel silly, but it seriously works!
2. Green Smoothie Power
I am a smoothie devotee. My first smoothie was made when I was 18 (I didn’t care to count back how many years ago that was). But even when I change it up I always come to this amazing start of the day.
– The superior feeling of having vegetables and fruit for breakfast is still present after all these years. And now it feels even better because my son is having his greens in the morning along with some extra fiber.
– It’s really easy. Once you get the hang of it, you can whip up a healthy breakfast in 5 minutes (I have timed myself). All you need is a blender.
– The most versatile breakfast I have come across. If your usual go to smoothie gets boring then changing it up will allow you a whole different experience.
– You can tailor your smoothie to meet your specific needs by adding extra protein powder, or vitamin C or any other supplement you might require to balance your hormones.
– Satisfying, you might think a liquid breakfast would not be filling enough, well try it for yourself and allow me to prove you wrong.
The best part of having a breakfast smoothie is that your body will start to crave the texture, the taste and the overall feeling you get after having one. It takes a week or maybe a little longer for you, but you will start a healthy dependency. It works both psychologically in the habit formation department, but also physiologically. Yeeey!
3. Do As I Say?
How are the phrases ‘don’t lick the legs of the chair’, ‘don’t throw the remote control on the floor’ or ‘don’t try to rip the mirror from the wall’? (actual things I have said lately) working out for toddler obedience? Not great in my case! One of the biggest lessons parenthood has to offer is that leadership is most effective when you’re being followed by example. I can’t figure out where my example of not licking the legs of the chair has failed though.
Be An Example
If you want to create great food habits for your children then you have to do it yourself. Not having the carrot or broccoli while finishing a bag of chips in two minutes, make it very hard to convince your children to not follow your lead. When it comes to eating a healthy breakfast, show your children what having one daily looks like. Eat with them if possible and share your breakfast. I find that my son prefers to eat what I’m having now than to have a separate bowl of what’s on his menu.
Children Need Breakfast
For children, breakfast has been a well researched topic without the controversy. It has been proven scientifically to aid in weight control, better brain function and even more well-behaved children!
No excuses! It’s time for breakfast.