Last week I had a bit of a rubbish week nutrition wise – and I know to be honest it was largely down to my breakfasts.
Some people say they can’t eat breakfast- I am the total opposite- I need a good breakfast to set me up for the day.
Last week I just found myself not enjoying my normal breakfasts – I just didn’t fancy them and I found that this dissatisfaction towards my breakfast prep quickly spread to all my other meals and I soon found myself snubbing my home made meal prep and opting for carbs upon carbs, sugar and generally processed, stodgy not particularly beneficial foods.
I decided that this week I needed a week away from Paleo. I still think overall it’s the system that works best for me but I also know I occasionally get myself into a tizz and whilst I’m there restriction doesn’t really work.
So I ordered some meal prep for my main meals for this week (blog to follow later this week) and decided that for breakfast I would eat what I fancied.
Now I walk past McDonalds to get to work – and I teach first thing so by the time I do walk past I’m normally pretty hungry. This week I’ve just gone in and ordered what I fancied. This sounds pretty unhealthy, and yes they were high calorie meals, but actually, when you look at it, as breakfasts go they aren’t as bad as I first thought.
Here’s my thought process:
Crunchy Nut Cornflakes with semi skimmed milk (30g)
Porridge with semi skimmed milk
Two slices toast with butter
Now I got these numbers from MyFitnessPal so I don’t claim they are 100% accurate. These are the type of things we traditionally eat in the morning. They are all quite low in calories and protein and high in carbs. For most people a 30g bowl of cornflakes is probably unrealistic – have you ever measured out a bowl of cereal- a suggested serving is massively disappointing! My issues with these breakfasts is that, whilst they are low in calories they don’t provide me with much protein (and I try to eat 160g a day) nor will they fill me up – which means that any calories saved at breakfast are likely to be made up in snacking mid-morning when I get hungry. Mentally they also don’t particularly satisfy me so again I’m much more likely to snack –an on stuff I shouldn’t snack on at that.
In comparison, this is what I had at McDonalds the last two mornings:
Three pancakes with sausage and syrup plus extra sausage and bacon, Flat White coffee
Sausage egg and cheese bagel with extra sausage and bacon, hash brown and Tropicana
These breakfasts are about 70% higher calorie wise. For some this would be extremely detrimental to their daily calorie intake granted. However I burn 3,000 to 5,000 calories a day so I actually do need to eat a lot of calories each day to avoid a detrimentally low deficit. A thousand calorie breakfast therefore isn’t the worst things as my subsequent meals are unlikely to reach that level. In addition these meals filled me up AND satisfied me. I felt like I had had an enjoyable and filling breakfast and didn’t feel the need to start snacking an hour later. The protein content of the meals was also high, hitting around 25% of my daily aim.
For my requirements then these higher calorie higher protein meals actually work better for me than the more traditional ideas of a breakfast. And because I’ve felt satisfied and enjoyed my breakfast I’ve found it easier to stay on track the rest of the day.
Now normally when I’m following a Paleo style diet I have this:
My Go To Paleo breakfast –
Smoked salmon trimmings (half pack), 3 eggs and tomatoes
This has the benefits of being high in protein and low in calories and fat whilst also being filling. I know it’s better for me than a McDonalds breakfast. Realistically I know for my long term health I need to eat this more often than I have a McDonalds breakfast. Yet when I’m really not feeling this of a morning then rather than letting my whole day fall away because mentally I’m not going to be satisfied, because I know that today I’m going to throw a mental tantrum, the odd McDonalds breakfast won’t hurt.
In conclusion – as a society we tend to group things as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. However whether a food will work well in your diet or not actually depends on so many factors- what you eat the rest of the time, what you burn, how it makes you feel etc. Rather than following accepted ideas about different meals we should look at our own situation on any given day, week or month and pick options that benefit us best in that moment – even if that might sometimes seem an unusual choice.
I’m not a trained nutritionist nor am I suggesting that you should have McDonalds for breakfast every single day – just that sometimes we need to look outside the boxes we are currently in and objectively review our options because no foods are simply good or bad – it’s never that black and white.