As amazing as breakfast food may be, it’s not everyone’s favorite — especially when it comes to making it healthy. For some, breakfast is just too time-consuming and inconvenient. Often, it’s much easier to just grab a banana than cook a full meal.
Here are a few signs you aren’t eating enough for breakfast — and what to do about it.
1. You’re scavenging for a second breakfast by 10 a.m.
You don’t have to eat your breakfast all in one sitting. If you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, but know you will be in a few hours, pack a healthy breakfast and graze as you see fit. As long as you choose smart options, it shouldn’t matter when or where you actually eat.
2. You get a little spacey during your morning meeting
Your body converts food into energy, like glucose, and distributes it where it’s needed, including your brain. According to Harvard Medical School, when there isn’t enough glucose in your brain, it doesn’t work as well. Many fruits and vegetables, as well as green tea and chocolate, can help to improve your concentration at work and elsewhere. Try incorporating one or several of these items into your breakfast daily to make sure you’re not spacing out when a superior asks you an important question.
3. You can’t stay awake
Once again, protein- and fiber-filled foods can provide you with an energy boost that won’t run out too quickly. Relying on simple sugars like juice and Pop-Tarts to get you through the morning won’t produce the results you’re after. To stay awake, eat more — but fill your plate and glass with things that count, instead of sugar water and sweet, crumbly toaster pastries.
4. You’re only eating one type of food
There’s no rule that says you can only eat one type of food for breakfast. In fact, combining foods from different food groups is one of the best ways to ensure you stay full, focused, and awake until lunch rolls around. A bowl of oatmeal is the perfect example of a food that’s easy to diversify. On its own, oatmeal is just your average grain, with the same nutrients, texture, and taste in every bite. When you add fruit, nuts, and even a little milk to your bowl, every mouthful becomes a delicious — and nutritious — experience.
5. You can easily grab and go
Whether you’re tossing frozen waffles in the toaster or ordering a muffin along with your large latte, on-the-go eating often isn’t enough.
Overnight breakfasts are more than just a trend. If you honestly can’t fit making breakfast into your morning routine, you can still sit down with a healthy, balanced meal every morning anyway. Prepare oatmeal, a light breakfast casserole, or even homemade protein breakfast bars if you prefer to eat and drive.
6. Your breakfast is actually just coffee
Is caffeine your sole Starbucks order on your way into the office? While coffee does wake you up, its effects won’t override your lack of energy for long. According to HowStuffWorks, caffeine doesn’t actually provide your body with energy — it just amps up the amount of dopamine in your brain. Without actual energy from food, your body will burn right through any cream or sugar that’s in your cup. Once your dopamine levels drop, it’s crash time.
7. You can’t stop yourself from eating half the fridge later
The reason so many experts vouch for eating first thing in the morning has to do with appetite and hunger. The less you eat earlier in the day, the more your body is likely going to want to make up for that deficit later on. It’s true — some research suggests people who eat their largest meal earlier in the day are more likely to lose weight, because they’re less tempted to overeat at later meals and snacks.