In today's fast-paced busy world, we all need to start our day early. Most of us have a set routine to follow in the mornings. Some start their day with a cup of tea/coffee and the health-conscious ones start with a cup of green tea or a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of honey. As the morning progresses, our routine too goes ahead but somehow when we run short of time, which may happen on most days, we tend to sacrifice the most important meal -the breakfast-to get back on schedule.

Breakfast in itself is a self-explanatory term, "Breaking the fast". After almost 8-10 hours of time lag since the last meal, our body tends to be in a fasting mode. So to come out of it, we need to take a healthy and nutritious breakfast in the morning. We all are familiar with the saying "Breakfast should be like a king, lunch like a common man and dinner like a pauper". So it goes without saying that breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day!

What happens when you skip breakfast?

Medically speaking when you tend to skip breakfast, your glucose levels dip, increasing your insulin sensitivity, and slowing down your metabolism. This can lead to a host of health conditions like obesity, Type-2 Diabetes, Heart diseases, cholesterol issues, and osteoporosis. The following effects are observed when you tend to skip breakfast:

1)Dip in energy levels: Your body tends to go down on energy as it does not get the fuel necessary for its functioning leading to weakness and fatigue.

2)Dip in BMR (Basal metabolic rate): Skipping breakfast causes a slow down in your metabolism, also called the body's calorie-burning capacity. Just as not getting adequate fuel makes a fire die down, similarly not getting food at the right time makes your metabolism slow down. This is especially important for people who are trying to lose weight.

3)Weight Gain: Having skipped breakfast you may put-off your calorie intake for an hour or two, but eventually when your hunger pangs return, you may tend to overeat or take in the wrong kind of food, causing weight gain in the long run.

4)Decrease in concentration: Low food intake leads to low blood sugar/glucose levels. Thus our brain which needs glucose as one of the major nutrients cannot function at an optimum level. This hampers our ability to do simple tasks making us angry and irritable. This is especially significant for the school going kids as lack of proper breakfast may decrease their ability to grasp the lessons at school.

5)Increase in stress levels: Low food intake makes one feels lethargic and weak. This in itself increases the body stress levels causing irritability and mood swings.

Having a good nutritious breakfast at the right time helps you to keep your weight in check, gives you ample energy to take on the day and keeps you stress-free and happy!

The ideal time to have your breakfast

Breakfast should be consumed within an hour and a half of waking up to avail of its maximum benefits.

A healthy breakfast must include all macro-nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Milk and fruits give you much-needed calcium and vitamins.

A typical healthy breakfast

Vegetable poha/ upma with sprouts, idli with sambhar, dhokla or dosa with chutney, oatmeal/Dalia/ragi porridge, cereal with milk, brown bread sandwich are some healthy breakfast options which provide the carbs, proteins and fibre. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews and seeds such as melon, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds are sources of good fat. High fiber fruits like apple, banana, melons must also be included. Eggs are a healthy option for non-vegetarians.

Breakfast must never consist of processed foods such as white bread, cakes, cookies, pastries and instant noodles. Deep-fried foods like kachoris, puris, samosas, pakoras, and jalebis are a big no-no. Readymade juices and colas are best avoided. All kinds of junk foods like pizza, burger, vada-pav, doughnut should never figure on your breakfast menu.

So, it's time you give your breakfast routine a serious thought and do some good for your waistline and your health in general. If you still find it difficult to fit in a breakfast in your schedule, try giving up some of your phone-time!!