Convenience drives most of our daily choices, especially before eight o’clock in the morning. We’ve all seen the studies, we know that eating a “good, healthy breakfast” is integral to a “good” day at school or work. Being uneducated isn’t an excuse anymore in the world of nutrition. As a result, waking up on a school day at 6am and having just six hours of sleep the night before leads to a rushed attempt at creating the perfect breakfast to prepare you for optimal performance, because you think you must have one. Although research shows the importance of a healthy breakfast each morning, the struggle to fit it into your morning routine leads to internal guilt for not completing just one more task on your to-do list.
Breakfast has become a compulsory component of each day in the life of an American teenager; it begs for attention each morning and makes you feel mentally and physically unprepared when it’s not checked off your ever-growing to-do list. Homework and extracurriculars force the teen to stay up late the night before; this repeats each school night, causing a buildup of sleep deprivation. They then attempt to wake up while it’s still dark outside, around six or six thirty in the morning, and get ready to do it all over again. Who can blame them for wanting to catch a few extra minutes of blissful sleep in the morning, after their alarm already went off? Megan, a Junior in high school, acknowledged the extra pressures she accepts now that she’s older. “I always make my own breakfast. It has to be something easy, otherwise I don’t have time.” Her mom used to make her breakfast in the morning, but now that she’s sixteen, she does it on her own. This requires even more time factored into her morning routine, and she often skips breakfast due to new responsibilities that always take longer than expected. If it’s not premade, like a smoothie or a yogurt, it’s a no-go. Breakfast is an afterthought, something to grab on the way out the door. To Megan, forgetting the breakfast step in her morning routine makes her feel “guilty, like I’m mistreating my body.” The story is just one variation on a theme among teenagers in the United States in 2018.
At this point, we know how important breakfast is to our academic and athletic performances. Skipping breakfast isn’t due to lack of trying or lack of knowledge about its importance — it’s purely a time struggle. If every teenager had the opportunity to have a leisurely sit-down meal in the morning, there’s no doubt they would do it. Breakfast has king status in the monarchy of meals; its status is no longer disputed. At this point, people both in the workforce and still in school have begun to feel the pressures of accidentally skipping breakfast and worrying about the effect it could have on their performances. That guilt can sometimes lead to the hasty consumption of whatever is immediately available, regardless of whether it’s a nutritious choice. Yes, breakfast is important. However, letting scientific research convince you to put something in your body, if it’s not food that is going to help you, is just as bad as skipping breakfast altogether.
As the old cliché goes, being prepared will lead to a successful day. Putting together a plan for how to accomplish your breakfast goals the weekend before your work or school week ensures that you have the materials you need to whip up easy recipes of your choosing early in the morning, making it that much easier for a nutritious breakfast each day. Guilty breakfast eaters, feel guilt no longer — be proactive. Get out of your breakfast rut and into a healthy routine of preparedness and good eating.