The Most Important Meal?

Breakfast is supposedly the most important meal of the day, but I’ve found it is the least consistent meal. Sometimes it’s a sit down meal, sometimes it’s a piece of fruit, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. Let’s look at what I’ve been doing for breakfast and draw some conclusions.

I used to eat cereal in the mornings… no, let me start a bunch earlier: I used to eat rice. Rice was ubiquitous. I would eat it with every meal. Mornings would be rice with a little bit of ham or breakfast sausage or on an exceptionally good day I might have bacon. Mmm. Bacon. Sometimes, I got Spam, and oh man; that stuff is awesome.

Rice is lovingly carb dense which was probably great for a growing boy but probably also gave me a little extra roundness. I wasn’t a very active kid growing up, so I was a bit roly poly. Sometime in high school, I think, I switched over to cereal and bounced from box to box out of the variety packs. You know the ones with Froot Loops and Corn Pops, Rice Krispies and Honey Smacks… which always had a more reinforced bag than all the others. I suspect this is because honey smacks were the most egregiously sugar coated and it ate through the waxed paper inside. Anyway, you’ll notice this is a Kellog’s variety pack. I didn’t ever do General Mills with Cocoa Puffs or Trix or any of those except when whoever was buying groceries had a lapse of judgement and bought the different brand. I remember very fondly having Flintstones cereal (chocolate) and being amazed at how much more chocolatey it was vs. Cocoa Krispies and Cocoa Puffs. I, sadly, don’t have many memories of any healthy cereals. the closest it came was Raisin Bran. I remember liking the raisins a lot and would sometimes empty a small box (the REALLY TEENY ones) of Sun-Maid raisins onto the bowl to add more raisins and wondering why they didn’t taste the same. Probably the sugar-coating Kellog’s threw on had something to do with it. Anyway, I liked cereal. It was also carb heavy, but it hit a lot faster, and I got to have double milk because I’d have the milk with the cereal and the milk that I’d normally have with breakfast. Again, I was apparently a growing boy.

This hit pretty hard when I went to college. I had a mini-fridge which was probably too small to hold a six pack let alone materials for proper breakfast, and I had the meal plan so I would hoof it down to whatever cafeteria was associated and eat then, but what I found was I didn’t like the breakfast choices. The cereals were either too plain (corn flakes) or too sugary (frosted flakes) and they just didn’t have the taste I was looking for. I thought an egg breakfast was too heavy, and it wasn’t very long before I swore off meal-plan cafeteria fare completely. I would often use the meal plan money to just buy bottled water and fill the fridge with that. A lot of reference was made to the “Freshman 15” referring to the number of pounds most people put on the first few months of college when they can eat and drink whatever they want without parental controls, but I can say with certainty that I lost weight. I would eat, sure, but I gradually moved to having something granola or skipping breakfast altogether and compensating with lunch.

After I left the dorms I moved into my own apartment and I had a proper refrigerator and I would slip back to cereal and occasionally (very occasionally) I would cook up a little rice and some Spam if I was feeling extra special, but I had learned to live with less of a breakfast and that was reinforced a lot. Especially when I started living with Julie and would rather spend as much time as possible with her before begrudgingly heading to classes or work.

When I had my major cholesterol scare a couple years ago I decided I needed to redo my diet and looked pretty hard at how my intake worked and there was a big gap at breakfast, a good sized lunch, maybe a snack in the afternoon, and a heavy dinner. In my quest for being healthier the first thing to identify was the heaviness of the two meals and rearranging that. I like the idea of “Breakfast as a King, Lunch of a Prince, and Dinner of a Pauper” as a way to rework your body’s metabolism expectations to front load the digestion so it doesn’t send so much to fat overnight, but there are a couple problems with this: a. I really like big dinners, and b. there’s no guarantee if I have a heavy breakfast that I won’t have a heavy lunch and dinner also. Obviously I have some room to work on here.

Currently I try to eat at least a breakfast bar that will give me some carbs and some fiber and spread the intake out to the morning. I’ll try to have seasonal fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, usually) to supplement that. I’ll rarely cook anything during the week. I’m also not a bread-tending person; I think bagels and toast are too heavy and too light respectively. I do make an exception if we have peach preserves around because those are killer on oany kind of bread. Maybe on Saturdays or Sundays I’ll cook or go out for a fuller breakfast. I still don’t treat breakfast evenly with the other meals, so there’s more to go. I need some more quicker breakfast foods… or I need to allow more time in the morning to put more stuff together.

One Comment

  1. Julie

    I find that the amount of time I have greatly affects the size of my meals. Breakfasts that can be picked up on my way to work tend to be most successful, since I often squeeze the maximum amount of sleep time out of the morning and roll out of bed at the last possible moment.

    Of course, I’m a bread person so bagels or toast are always good. The best ways for me to make it more nutritious is adding lox, fruit, or an egg and salsa.

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