Once I reached my teenage years, breakfast became an afterthought. Hitting the snooze button became far more valuable to me than consuming toaster strudel or Cheerios.
For years I skipped breakfast, even coffee. That morning routine often left me feeling painfully low on energy. My aversion to breakfast was, to be blunt, stupid. According to the National Health Service based out of Britain, skipping meals can not only result in fatigue but may also mean that you miss out on important nutrients.
That’s why I recently decided to eat a hearty breakfast for five days straight. After all, according to WebMD, eating a fairly large, 600-calorie breakfast can actually be beneficial, since it can reduce food cravings later in the day. I was curious to see what effect eating a substantial breakfast of at least 300 calories might have on my energy level.
So, I began my days by eating like a lumberjack. And, the impact of those large breakfasts was somewhat surprising.
Day 1: A breakfast sandwich
I decided to dip a toe into my return to eating breakfast. So, I opted for a breakfast sandwich from a local coffee shop. I was reminded of one key reason why I started skipping breakfast back in the day: I am not a fan of eggs. Starting my day by smelling the faint scent of sulfur is unwelcomed, to say the least.
My breakfast sandwich consisted of an English muffin, American cheese, a sausage patty and, yes, a substantial egg omelet. The egg was just a bit too much. The other ingredients were fine, but the sandwich was largely forgettable. And the breakfast sandwich, which featured 22 grams of protein, didn’t seem to provide me with a noteworthy energy boost.
Day 2: Avocado toast
Tuesday yielded a more intriguing breakfast option. At the same, aforementioned coffee shop, I noticed avocado-and-egg toast was a new menu item. Feeling adventurous, I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised.
The open-faced sandwich featured a sunny-side-up egg, fresh tomatoes, and a sizable spread of avocado. It was simple, yet satisfying and filling. And, in retrospect, I could’ve spiced it up even further by requesting feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, or some “everything-bagel” seasoning.
Day 3: Quiche
By mid-week, the thought of breakfast became more appealing to me. I’m not usually a quiche fan (due to my long-running, anti-egg leanings) but I was offered a version of the French breakfast tart that featured spinach and Swiss cheese. It did not disappoint. The baked dish featured just the right amount of cheese, coupled with just enough saltiness to provide decent flavor.
However, the quiche didn’t provide much protein (just 10 grams per serving) and I needed to eat two pieces to feel full to any extent. This breakfast didn’t necessarily kick-start my day by providing an abundance of energy.
Day 4: A breakfast burrito
As the week went on, the breakfasts kept getting more enticing. On this day, I ate an easy-to-assemble breakfast wrap. It consisted of scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and green peppers.
This Mexican dish was solid, and quite filling. The peppers, coupled with roughly one cup of salsa, gave the meal a kick. It was a nice change-of-pace breakfast option that I’ll likely opt for in the future. It left me with a bit of an energy boost, and it’s a meal that can be thrown together in a hurry, too.
Day 5: Apple fritters, pancake, and sausage patties
On the final day of my breakfast experiment, I decided to go big and treat myself. As a result, I opted for two sizable apple fritters, one pancake, and four sausage patties.
This breakfast should’ve come with a Surgeon General’s warning.
Yes, it tasted great, but this bountiful breakfast isn’t advisable. The apple fritters (which were chewy, sugary and quite enjoyable) added up to 420 calories on their own. Then, just four relatively small sausage patties added another 400 calories to the mix.
This breakfast reinforced my theory that pastries like fritters (or donuts, for that matter) make for a worthless, unfulfilling breakfast. Pastries like fritters provide virtually no nutritional value, either, and are loaded with around 60 grams of carbs. Adding a pancake and sausage to the breakfast left me feeling lethargic and in need of a nap.
should come as no surprise, I suppose, but I felt best on the couple days when I ate healthier breakfast options, like avocado toast, or a relatively light breakfast burrito. Heavier, sugary breakfast choices like fritters left me feeling lethargic and, frankly, pretty gross.
As a result, when I do choose to eat breakfast in the future, it’ll probably consist of lighter fare.