As-salaamu alaykum, all -
After seeing what some of my students (and their parents) eat for lunch, I wasn't surprised at all when some of them said they didn't eat breakfast. Shocking. My parents would have literally chained me to my seat if I did not eat at least a bowl of cereal before school.
After studying nutrition (and having to teach it), and finally convincing my husband of the benefits of a good breakfast (he's losing some inches, alhamdulillah, by eating more but smarter), here's what I've come up with so far.
1. We all know the benefits of a good breakfast, right? Better brain functioning, metabolism, hormone functioning, etc. Read more about it here: http://healthmad.com/weight-loss/five-benefits-of-eating-breakfast/
2. If you're trying to lose or maintain weight, never ever skip breakfast. Research shows those who do that, gain more weight than lose.
3. In fact, you need the right ratio of protein-complex carbohydrate-fat. Never ever go for "low carbs" or "no fat" if you don't know what you're getting into. It could be worse than you think.
4. To make it easier for you, here are some breakfast ideas. More ideas are welcome. But remember #3.
A. Foul (yes, the Arab dish with beans and chick peas that took a while to get used to, but it's sooo good for you. We have it the Lebanese way, with chopped tomatoes and parsley and lemon and olive oil and garlic and cumin. And go for a little whole wheat bread to balance it out).
B. Whole grain cereals and milk (full fat is fine, unless you have an addiction to dairy, are overweight or have some other medical reason not to). Remember, you need some fat, otherwise, you won't feel full. Not too much, though (let's not get crazy).
C. Eggs. They've gotten a bad rep, but really aren't bad for you, unless you eat too much, have a medical condition like diabetes or high cholesteraol, etc (ask your doctor. I eat 1-2/day, vegetarian omelette with whole grain bread OR french toast on whole grain bread)
D. Plain yogurt with nuts, seeds, dates, bananas, dried fruit, honey, etc. No need for everything on the list, but it's actually really really good. Again, please do not choose fat-free yogurt or yogurt with sugar added to it (it has almost sugar as soda!). Trust me, you won't feel full, and will grab that not-so-healthy snack later.
E. Oatmeal (or any other kind of whole grain other than wheat is actually pretty good for you). Steel-cut is better than instant (since there is often too much sugar), but instant is better than nothing. Just remember to top it off with things you like (like from D above. Just don't add fruits/sweets if it's instant).
F. Hummus with whole grain bread, and some tomatoes and cucumbers, parsley and mint on the side (I know I've chosen a lot of Arab foods, but I'm married to an Arab who is particular about his breakfast, and this is actually one of his healthier options). "Healthy" and "Pakistani breakfast" seem like an anomaly. Someone please prove me wrong.
-Skipping breakfast. Take a Kashi granola bar and a water bottle with you if you must, but eat breakfast. You've just fasted all night, and need to wake up your metabolism. If your excuse is that you're not hungry, start drinking some room-temp water, and eat a piece of fruit. Then go for some options like above.
-Coffee/tea and a bagel is not a well-balanced breakfast. In fact, coffee on an empty stomach is not a good idea.
-Eating just fruit for breakfast. Also not balanced. You need more protein and fat.
-Eating too many refined carbs (which makes it more simple, less complex). You will feel fuller longer with complex carbs (whole grain bread, long-grain or brown rice, whole grain pasta) than you will with simple (white/brown bread, white/brown bagels, enriched flour in pancakes/waffles, white rice, regular pasta)
-MODIFIED: As mentioned above, going "fat-free" is a no-no. You need good fats in order for proper hormone functioning, etc. And a certain amount of fat triggers your brain to realize: hey, I'm full now. I've noticed those who go for "fat-free" eat more simple carbs in the end, which gets stored as fat if not used as energy.
-Drinking empty calories (too much juice, mocha, or soda is like *drinking candy*).
-Not exercising and sitting down for hours at a time. There was a recent study done on the negative effects of such extreme sedentary lifestyles. Get up and walk around, take the stairs, play with your kids, do some circuit training exercises during commercials, whatever, but don't just sit there. No amount of calories (or lack thereof) will help, since being sendentary too long means you want your metabolism to shut down/decrease dramatically. It doesn't take much to change it.
-Stressing out too much. Relax. Research indicates that the more a person stresses, the more hormones go out of wack, and the harder it is to lose weight, etc.
That's all for now, I think. Now eat your breakfast.