The eighth installment of our breakfast advice column
Are you in a breakfast conundrum? Do you have deep-seated, unresolved feelings for brunch? Are you at a loss in front of the smorgasbord of life? Because so often breakfast is about feelings, and relationships teeter on the edge of the morning meal table, Extra Crispy editors Kat Kinsman (Bis-kat) and Margaret Eby (Bisc-gret) are here with the eighth installment of Emergency Biscuits, our breakfast advice column, to dole out hopefully not half-baked counsel and recipes for life. Got a question for the Biscuits? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate your dilemma. Breakfast, they say, is the cornerstone of a day of not being rabidly hungry. And yet who among us has not been in the same position: you eat something healthy and filling, with fiber, and yet you are ravenous 90 to 120 minutes later. It just seems unfair. Fresh fruit! Homemade granola! All that stuff is textbook what-you-should-eat-for-breakfast. And yet, like so many of us, by the time 10:30 rolls around, you’re looking at your laptop wondering when it’s socially acceptable to eat lunch already.
The thing is, here, is that human bodies are kind of mysterious. Maybe if you and I ate the same breakfast, I wouldn’t feel hungry for the rest of the day, and you’d be starving by 11 a.m. It has to do with all kinds of things that I’m no expert on—metabolism and genetics and how much you’ve been exercising and maybe what your immune system is doing. (Again I am not a doctor, unless you mean a doctor of breakfast, and even then I sort of muddled through that PhD.) So giving you an exact recipe on how to improve your breakfast to be more filling would be pretty disingenuous. There are things you could try, of course! Maybe you need more protein—a runny egg in a bowl of brown rice. Maybe you need to start eating more of that delicious fresh fruit. Maybe you could look into making healthy breakfast bowls the night before that you can quickly microwave. Experiment, I say. Work with what works for you.
Crucially: do not underestimate the power of a snack. If you bring along an apple or banana for that low time around 10:30-11 a.m., you might be surprised at how much some quick nutrients will help. Whip some of that granola into some homemade granola bars, why not? Grab some extra yogurt you can snack on. What works for you may be more smaller meals rather than the three squares a day we’re used to. That’s perfectly OK! Snacks are too often villainized in our culture as the root of bad dietary habits. But the truth is a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit here and there can help you through that interstitial meal time like a champ. Hunger at your desk can be a problem, but it can also be an opportunity, y’know.
Breakfast is a state of mind. If I have learned anything during my tenure here at the nation’s, nay, the world’s premier breakfast site, it is that. While editorially, we adhere to certain breakfast parameters here—lest all go widdershins—in life, the lines are blurry. And that’s OK.
My question to you: Why the yogurt and granola in the morning? If the answer is “I like them,” them by all means, go with that. If it’s: “That’s what you are supposed to eat in the morning, because those things are breakfast foods,” then I am here to set you free. A food that is delicious, sustaining, and hunger-quelling in the eventide is not diminished come dawn and it is not shameful. There’s a weird narrative around that, though—one that says that last night’s triumphant pizza is somehow a thing to which you are resorting in the morning.
I would like to flip this script. While there are some occasions on which dinner should remain sacrosanct, consider making breakfast your major meal of the day. I’m not just pulling this out of nowhere—when I went to my healthcare provider a couple of years back, complaining of blood sugar swings and midday fatigue, she suggested prioritizing breakfast, having a sensible lunch, snacking lightly but efficiently throughout the day, then eating what I needed to top up at the end of the day—but ideally having that be the smallest meal. If we’ve made or ordered more food than I’d care to eat (I don’t make my husband play along), I save leftovers for the next morning.
When I actually remember to do that, my sleep is improved, my blood sugar and energy swings infinitely more stable, and as a result, I don’t feel as if I’m going to die at my desk by 2 p.m. It’s taken a decent amount of adjustment, but when I adhere to it, I’m a much happier—and less hungry—camper.