I'm so tired of everyone telling me how important breakfast is when I just can't eat in the morning. Whether it’s a school or game day. What are some good alternatives to snack on when I'm not ready for a full meal? Breaky Achy, age 17 (female, hockey)
Dear Breaky Achy,
Let’s start with the elephant in the room that everyone seems to say: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.
There’s good research to back this up. The general recommendation is to put some food in your belly within two hours of getting up for the day. When I coached early morning fitness classes, I saw better results when people ate something small in advance.
But what you eat over the whole day is more important than stressing over breakfast.
Listen to your hunger cues to know how important it is for you. Be proactive about knowing when you typically get hungry. And be prepared with healthy foods so you stay consistent.
In your specific situation, if eating light “to break the fast” feels right, start by thinking and speaking about it as a mini-meal. Even if it’s just a handful of nuts and half a banana, that’s a mini-meal. It’s got carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. A whole banana is not a mini-meal because it’s only carbohydrates. Other good alternatives are: hummus dip and veggies; Greek yogurt + fruit, nuts and cinnamon; even an on-the-go “brown-bag burrito” (google it and keep it in a cold pack until you’re ready to eat).
Adjust these ideas to your tastes and situation and find what works for you. Enjoy!