We all have grown up hearing, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" and it stands true even today. As per nutritionists and health experts, breakfast helps you break the night-long fast and refuels the body with essential nutrients to keep functioning. But over the years, with new diet patterns like intermittent fasting coming to the limelight, the universal idea of breakfast has been put into question. Today, intermittent fasting (IF) is far from being a passing trend, with more and more people embracing it for good health. According to consultant nutritionist Rupali Datta, "Intermittent fasting is not a fad diet; it is eating in a restricted time period that helps achieve good metabolic outcomes. And since 2016, there have been a good number of clinical studies to prove the benefits."
The focus of intermittent fasting is to restrict the eating hours in a day to create a pattern that alternates between your eating cycle and fasting cycle. Rupali Datta further explains that when the diet regime is planned properly, "there is no chance of getting a nutritional deficiency in the body." What IF does is simply extend the overnight fasting window for a longer duration, which automatically makes you skip the morning meal. Now this brings the question - is it okay to skip a meal in the morning? Let's find out.
Also Read: Can Intermittent Fasting Help Reverse Diabetes? New Research Reveals
Is Skipping Breakfast Bad For You?
As mentioned earlier, breakfast helps make up the lost energy and nutrients and helps you start the day. But did you know, it has nothing to do with your metabolic process? Your metabolism depends much on what you eat throughout the day, not just in one meal. A study, published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, found no difference in calories burned over 24 hours between people who eat and skip breakfast. In fact, research in the British Journal of Nutrition has even shown that skipping breakfast may reduce overall calorie intake by up to 400 calories per day.
But that doesn't mean you overeat in the next meal to compensate for breakfast. Health experts state that it is important to keep up a balance between your meals and meal timings to get an effective result, meaning, breakfast or any other meal alone doesn't help you achieve your desired health goals.
Is It Better For Breakfast Skippers To Do Intermittent Fasting?
Ideally, to keep your metabolism working smoothly, you should eat nutritious food every few hours, which is why it is considered important to eat after night-long fasting. But you can always compensate with an alternative approach of intermittent fasting. There are several methods for this diet, with the most popular and practical method being the 16:8 hours window. Here, the focus is - fast for 16 hours and eat only in the eight hours in between. For instance, if you start your diet regime at 11 am in the morning, then you must have your last meal by 7 pm and then fast until the next morning. In this eight-hour window, one must try to consume enough healthy food in smaller portions. Rupali Datta states, "Try to have at least four meals in the eight-hour window."
To sum it all up, people who tend to skip breakfast can easily opt for a healthy diet regime with intermittent fasting, but of course, under expert supervision.
Also Read: Eat Breakfast The Right Way! 6 Mistakes You Must Stop Making Now
Can You Eat Breakfast During Intermittent Fasting?
This is probably the most common question asked before embracing IF. Let's start with understanding what breakfast is. To put it simply, it is breaking your fast, which is your first meal of the day. Now, if you place the idea of breakfast in the intermittent fasting pattern, you can always consider your first meal in the eating window as breakfast. But in this case, you need to keep tabs on the nutrients you add to your plate. Let's take you through some healthy and effective tips that you may follow while skipping your morning meal and opting for intermittent fasting.
6 Effective Tips For Breakfast Skippers To Make Intermittent Fasting A Sustainable Option:
1. Consider your first meal as breakfast:
This means, your first meal should be wholesome with adequate amount of nutrients in it. Avoid adding calorific or carb-rich foods in your first meal to prevent sudden shoot-up of the blood sugar levels.
2. Include Protein and fibre:
Much like your regular breakfast, try to follow a balanced diet in the IF regime too. You should always opt for nutrient-rich foods to ensure the balance of macro and micro nutrients in your body. This would provide you will energy to stay active throughout the day.
3. Follow a practical fasting window:
IF is a program that can be followed in different ways - 5:2 fasting (wherein you have normal meals for five days and cut on calories in the next two days), 16:8 fasting (where you fast for 16 hours and eat in eight hours window) and 14:10 fasting (where you fast for 14 hours and eat in 10 hours window). You need to decide what's suiting for you and your lifestyle the best to make the most the regime. If you ask us, we prefer the 16:8 hours window as it nearly matches up the conventional meal clock. This also helps us start the day early, reducing the fasting hours in the morning.
4. Keep yourself hydrated:
Importance of drinking enough water needs no separate introduction. But it gets yet more important to stay hydrated during fasting. Drink lots of water and other fluids to keep up body's water balance and regular functioning, while reducing the untimely hunger pangs.
5. Focus on mindful eating:
While popular notion is, you may eat anything you want in those eight to 10 hours of eating window, we suggest, pick your meals wisely. Try to avoid processed food as much as possible and focus on fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein like chicken and fish. This will help you stay full for long, preventing overeating or untimely hunger pangs.
6. Plan your meals in advance:
This is the most effective way to start your eating window with something healthy. Planning what to eat and preparing for the same helps you make healthier meal choices and also prevents impulsive snacking.
Also Read: Does Intermittent Fasting Diet Help You Stay In Shape? 5 Global Stars Who Follow The Diet
Here're 5 Breakfast Ideas For The Ones On Intermittent Fasting:
Considering the above factors, we curated a list of some healthy food options that you can consider as the first meal of your day and to break your fast. Let's take you through.
1. Boiled egg salad:
Eggs are loaded with protein, while the veggies with provide enough fibre to your meal - together, the dish will make a perfect option for you to load up on nutrients. Besides, the recipe is quick and easy too. All you need to do is mix boiled eggs with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, rock salt and some other ingredients and relish. Click here for the recipe.
2. Almond poha:
By now, we all know how wholesome and healthy poha is. Made of chiwda, vegetables and some basic spices, poha makes for a perfect morning meal. Including some almond in the recipe will help add some extra protein and fibre in your diet. Click here for the recipe.
3. Oats cheela:
Oats are pre-eminent source of soluble fibres and are low in calories too that help keep a check on the unusual surges in cholesterol and blood sugar levels, further promoting our overall health. We bring a desi cheela recipe that you can make with the humble oats. Click here for the recipe.
4. Ragi dosa:
Dosa itself is considered a super healthy food to add to your diet regime. Replacing adding some ragi flour to it just elevates the goodness. Known for being a superfood, ragi helps make the dosa nutrient-rich and perfect to aid metabolism and keep weight and blood sugar levels under control. Click here for the recipe.
5. Multi-grain idli:
Another popular breakfast option, this idli is made with the goodness of ragi, bajra, jowar, atta and urad dal, making it a power-packed option to start your day with. It will also help you stay full for long, preventing untimely hunger pangs. Click here for the recipe.
Now that you know all about Intermittent Fasting and its effects on breakfast skippers, we say, consider the first meal in your eating window as breakfast and give it a healthy and wise start with fulfilling and nutritious meals. But also remember, like all other diet regimes, IF too has some side-effects if not done properly. Hence, it is always advised to consult an expert and understand your tolerance before getting to it. Eat healthy, stay wise!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.