THE IMPORTANCE OF A PROPER BREAKFAST
HOW TO BOOST YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES THROUGH PROPER BREAKFAST
Every day, I have to run here and there to prepare breakfast for my husband and children because I am too busy,” lifestyle blogger and photographer Andra Alodita says of her day-to-day morning predicament.
Her case is not an isolated one; it has become a global trend, especially in big cities, where ever-increasing work demands and traffic jams have drained people of their time and energy to prepare proper breakfasts. Andra is quite lucky: She has family members and she has to prepare breakfast every day for them. Some people, who wake up late because of exhaustion or simply because they have to do many things around the clock, don’t have breakfast at all or delay the morning fuel-up.
This is no wonder as Indonesians who live in big cities spend an average of 11 hours a day at work and in traffic.
Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB) nutrition professor Hardinsyah Ridwan revealed data that said only 8.1 percent of Indonesian adult women started their days with balanced and proper nutrition. He said that although no data on men’s breakfast habits were recorded yet, most scientists believed men had far worse habits, since typical men neglected proper self-care.
Some Indonesians also have extreme lifestyles. For instance, because they have to head to work from home at 5 a.m. they either delay their breakfasts until late in the day or they have multiple breakfasts, eating some of the meals on the road and snacking again in the office, resulting in excessive calorie intake.
This unhealthy lifestyle could cause some subtle but disturbing effects on people’s day-to-day activities, especially if they work, something that expends lots of energy.
Therefore, balanced and punctual breakfast to allow adequate nutritional and energy intake is essential. If you neglect it, you might experience both short-term and long-term effects that disrupt your daily activities. In the short run, you might experience hunger pangs, light headaches, declining stamina, lack of motivation to go to work, lethargy and lack of concentration.
“If you’re a journalist and you start to make lots of typos, maybe it’s because you haven’t had your breakfast yet,” Hardinsyah explained.
If you make a nutritionally balanced and punctual breakfast your daily habit, however, you can enjoy a number of benefits, including being more motivated to go to work, as well as being more energetic and efficient at work.
Most Indonesians, unfortunately, are not yet aware of the importance of a proper breakfast. This is why the Health Ministry makes it a priority to inform people that a balanced morning fuel-up is essential. Here are some guidelines on how to do it in a healthy way, as summarized from a seminar called “Wholesome and Balanced Breakfast for Productive on-the-go Lifestyles”, organized by the Indonesia Nutritionist Association and Mondelèz Indonesia to mark the launch of the Belvita breakfast biscuits in Indonesia.
When we talk about balanced breakfast, we talk about the proportion in which the nutrition is consumed. It has to include at least carbohydrates and antioxidants from vitamin C. It is advised that people drink lots of mineral water in the morning.
In terms of carbohydrates, brown bread, which is made of less refined wheat flour, is considered healthier than white bread, which is made of more refined flour. Wheat is made of slow digestible starch, which benefits the health because it stabilizes glucose levels in the blood, decreases risks of heart disease and maintains body weight.
Stable blood glucose also allows you to be satiated for a much longer time, thereby decreasing your tendency to eat excessively, keeping unwanted weight gain at bay.
“Furthermore, the grain components inside wheat aren’t broken down, the way the components are in [more refined] flour. Therefore, wheat still retains the nutritional benefits of its grain components,” Hardinsyah explained.
According to Andra, she complements her daily breakfast with Belvita wheat biscuits as well as fruit slices to make sure carbohydrate and vitamin intake remains in check.
To avoid boredom, she prepares slices of different fruits every day.
To make sure that your breakfast is nourishing, you also have to make sure the timing is right. This is when a regular life rhythm comes into play.
“Ideally, people eat their breakfast around three hours before they start their day-today activities,” Hardinsyah said.
It is, however, not enough. To make it really work, you also have to maintain the cycle of your day-to-day life.
“If you eat your dinner too late, that could result in you feeling full and not have any appetite for breakfast. Eating around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. is not a good habit,” Hardinsyah said.
The sleep cycle is also very important. “If you don’t have high sleep quality, it might result in you feeling tired and lethargic in the morning,” he added.
Another consequence of not having high-quality sleep is waking up late in the morning and rushing to conduct your activities, resulting in a missed breakfast or a rushed one.