Breakfast With a Side of Mindfulness

Making sure you don’t skip meals—especially breakfast—is one of the key tenets of mindful eating. We’ve all heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and recent research on breakfast gives us further good reasons for maintaining this habit. 

In a Harvard study of men ages 42-82, researchers found that those who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease.  Another study from Israel showed that eating a high-calorie breakfast (700 calories) and a low-calorie dinner (200 calories) versus a low-calorie breakfast (200 calories) and a high-calorie dinner (700 calories) resulted in greater weight loss and a better blood glucose and insulin profile among overweight and obese women with metabolic syndrome. (Metabolic syndrome is a state of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess body fat around the waist that increases one’s risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.)

Eating breakfast mindfully not only enhances our health but helps us start a new day by being more centered and grounded.  Here is what Hannah Gorman, our summer intern, shared with us after practicing mindfulness with us for two months:
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College is busy. Sometimes it feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day for schoolwork and extracurricular obligations, much less sleep and proper meals. Breakfast always seemed to be the first thing to go during my freshman year. I would grab a muffin on the way to class, or finish my readings between hurried bites. But I was left feeling as if my day had never started. I was wandering around campus hungry and overwhelmed by a million tasks hanging over my head, but I had no time to compose myself and prepare for the day.

It was then that I discovered the early dining hall. Our dining hall opens at 7:30 AM—much earlier than the typical college student is up and about. I discovered a table on the second floor by a window overlooking the quad, removed from the bustling main room of the dining hall. It was at that table that I rediscovered breakfast and the moment of peace that it brings to my otherwise overscheduled day. Now, I savor this time to put aside my work and my to-do lists, listen to the sounds of forks clinking against plates, smell the waffles cooking on the floor below me, and taste my own food, one bite at a time. I have this moment for myself. I don’t have to be anywhere; I don’t have to be doing anything. I sit and eat, and it is these moments that ground me. It is these moments that prepare me for my day. 

Photo credit: tacker

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