Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is a cliché and I don’t care. I’ll say it again. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Allow me to elucidate.
Most people probably eat dinner at about 7.30 – 8pm and go to bed between 10pm and midnight and this means it will be approximately 11 hours before breakfast. Believe it or not, a person actually needs a reserve of energy to get a good night’s sleep and without this reserve, the body’s reserves will be significantly reduced by the morning. When the alarm goes off, one has a lot of tasks to accomplish which need focus and mental and physical energy; get yourself out of bed, shower, dress, feed the children, remember everything that everyone needs for the day, get them off to school, travel to work, start work. Meanwhile, you’re body’s reserves are being slowly consumed. Assuming your lunch break is between 12 and 2pm, you have asked your body to last for perhaps 17 hours without fuel by which time you will be starving, grumpy and lacklustre and may not make the right decisions about what will actually feed your brain and body to it’s best advantage come lunchtime. The Wartime Housewife is painfully aware of this as, although I have breakfast with The Boys, I have to go from one job to another without a break and often end up stuffing a fat-laden sausage roll down my throat during the three minute car journey, which frankly I might as well have sellotaped to my ample bottom as that’s where it’s going to end up.
Some people (and you know who you are) then decided that they are far too busy and important to stop for lunch and keep going, without food, until they get home and have dinner. By this time, the body is in meltdown because it has no idea when it will next be fed so it hangs onto every single one of the calories you give it in case it never gets them again. The metabolism slows down and people who actually don’t eat that much find themselves putting on weight. A little and often is the key.
Pull yourselves together. Even if you miss lunch, which is not advisable, eat something in the morning. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A bowl of bran flakes with milk takes 20 seconds to prepare, 5 minutes to eat and will provide you with a slow release of carbohydrate to fuel you until lunch. (Don’t eat sugar puffs or anything with chocolate or clusters in – the clue is in the name – this is pudding not breakfast and no good will come of it.) A slice of wholemeal or granary toast with a smear of butter, marmite or honey will do the same. A banana is full of energy. Cereal bars are a bit heavy on the sugar, but usually have oats or bran and dried fruit in them and are better than nothing. You don’t have to be conventional either. I know a man, who does a very physical job, who grills a large piece of fish while he’s getting dressed and eats it between two slices of wholemeal bread on his way to work each morning.
I have put this in very simplistic terms, but if you would like to learn more I would direct you to an excellent book by the eminent Naturopath, Rod Lane, entitled ‘The Adam and Eve Diet’ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adam-Eve-Diet-Biologically-Tailor-made/dp/0340819367. This is not a conventional diet book, it is a blueprint for understanding how your individual metabolism works and how you can feed your body properly and naturally to its best advantage.
SOME MORE BREAKFAST IDEAS:
Natural yoghurt, chopped up banana, tablespoon of honey – 5 minutes to make,
Boiled egg with toast or bread and butter – 5 minutes to make
Cheese on toast – 2 minutes in the toaster, 30 seconds in the microwave
Kippers – grill in 5 minutes
Porridge (proper rolled oats if possible) – 5 minutes in the microwave, fantastically nutritious
Pilchards on toast – fry them in their own oil until hot – good for your heart
Mushrooms on toast – toss sliced mushrooms in a little butter – 5 minutes – low fat protein
Beans on toast – 5 minutes
Omelette – whisk eggs up the with a fork, cook in a frying pan with a little oil – 5 minutes
An apple & a handful of raisins – 1 minute
Lean Bacon and Eggs – 5 minutes – don’t eat the fat!
CREPES Serves 4.
These need more time but make an excellent emergency breakfast when you have nothing in, or just as a treat. These are all storecupboard ingredients.
Small frying pan
Medium sized bowl
4oz (120g) wholemeal plain flour
2oz (60g) white sugar
½ pint of milk
1 large knob of butter – melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
A little cooking oil
Can be served with lemon, sugar, golden syrup, banana, jam, cocoa, honey, raisins etc – improvise, be adventurous!
Place the flour and sugar in a medium sized bowl and make a well in the centre
Add the eggs and beat to a thick paste.
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Leave for 15 minutes while you go and get washed and dressed
Put a little oil in the frying pan and put on a medium heat (this needs a bit of practice according to your cooker)
Whisk the mixture again and transfer to a jug
Pour about 2floz (60ml) of the mixture into the pan and keep it loose and mobile with a fish slice. Flip it over when it is lightly browned underneath and cook until browned on that side too. If you are an accomplished tosser of pancakes, this is your chance to shine. The Wartime Housewife is not accomplished and does not lose sleep over it.
Serve immediately to the first person sitting down, run back and cook another one etc. You can keep them hot on a plate but this takes more concentration.
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To use yet another appalling cliche, your car will grind to a halt without fuel. So will you. I feel a feature about lunch boxes coming on…