As the saying goes “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”…
Well maybe. But what’s important is what you have for breakfast!
Many of us travel for business, attend networking events, and eat out first thing. That’s a great thing, but it can be challenging to eat well when you’re not the chef so to speak!
If you’ve eaten out for breakfast more than just a few times, you’ll know that very often the menu isn’t delicious fresh fruit, with the finest fresh produce from the local orchard.
No, in most cases, hotel and business networking breakfasts are ‘full english breakfasts’, doses of strong coffee, washed down with butter sodden toast.
Now, by the time most people arrive at breakfast when eating out, they’ve been up a while, sometimes having to drive a considerable distance before eating anything.
This causes extreme hunger! And so, the ‘full english’ may well seem like a great proposition to solving the hunger problem by the time it’s dished up in front of you, but deep down you know it’s ultimately not healthy.
But I’m starving!
And indeed, this is part of what making eating a healthy breakfast difficult. But it’s not the only part.
Perception also comes into play; but I’m starving, I can’t just have a bit of fruit – especially when I’m paying for this. The perception of a healthy breakfast leaving you starving is very powerful, and our evolutionary psychology has this hardwired into us. In times of food scarcity, which is all of human history until modern times…. we would consume as much food as possible because we wouldn’t know where the next meal is coming from. This was fundamental to the success of our species in the times of our ancestors. Paradoxically, this same mechanism is now, in part, responsible for the disease of our species.
Belief systems play a part also, as does peer pressure. In times past, we would be part of a tribe or a village. If our behaviour was different to the rest of our tribe we might be seen as a threat, or an outcast. In some cases killed. Our brain still thinks like this. Fitting in ensures acceptance in the tribe; the threat feels real, but fortunately few people, if any are killed at networking breakfasts or hotel buffets!
The consequences of instinct, beliefs, and perception.
One consequence that’s quite visible is weight gain. It happens. Most breakfasts in hotels, and business networking events come in at around 1500 Calories with 100 grams of fat, and 25 grams of saturated fat. This is more artery clogging fat than is recommended over a whole day. Tough start.
As for the poly and mono unsaturated fat at this dose, well that isn’t good – it just ends up being worn around the waist. Food you take home with you and wear for life. Not a particularly thrilling prospect.
A lot of this fat and huge amount of Calories comes from oil. Fried bacon, fried potato, fried mushrooms, fried bread. And that’s just the fried foods. Eggs, bacon, and bread all contain a lot of calories, as well as salt.
A lot of salt leads to high blood pressure, and an excess of fat in the diet leads to plaque build up in the arteries.
- Weight problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Prescription medication for life
Not nice consequences… and that’s before I dare to mention black pudding (the superfood)
Now, most people’s beliefs are that they know it’s bad, but it tastes good. Could this be our primitive brain at work fooling us into survival mode? Perhaps so, and the data suggests this. We have a lot of data on this subject.
In reality, the perception is ‘this little bit won’t hurt’…
Now, you have got to eat!!!
Food is ESSENTIAL for survival and it goes far beyond simple nutrition. Eating in a group enhances community, and safety, as well as growth. But what can you sensibly eat?
And what can you sensibly eat that tastes good?
Most hotels and venues have a full kitchen, that’s great news. All you have to do is tweak your options by asking the question. And in some cases, for example,where a buffet breakfast is served, you don’t even have to ask.
Examples of foods you can eat which are more healthy include:
- Oatmeal (porridge)
- Plant based yogurt (Alpro yoghurt)
- Plant milks
- Baked beans
- Veggie sausages
- Wholegrain crossiants
- Fruit compote
Yes, I know – some of these are ‘high in sugar’ because that’s what the marketing says. But is that a problem? It depends. Pure sugar is high in sugar. Melon is high in sugar. Some muesli is high in sugar. Unless you’re eating a bag of haribo and having a builders tea with 13 sugars, it’s not much of an issue.
But let’s keep it relative, you’re unlikely to score a perfect 10 and discover the epitome of a healthy breakfast when out of your home, but you can hit an 8 or 9, and that’s a lot lot better than a 0 or 1 where most full english breakfasts will score.
Consider the breakfast below:
It’s a 3 course breakfast.
- Fresh fruit (look at the gorgeous colours!)
- Muesli with hot water
- Baked beans, mushrooms (looked for grilled rather than fried), and cooked tomatoes.
Is it exciting? Maybe. Do you miss the full english? Well, if you’re starving, you’ll probably want the full english – that’s the survival instinct kicking in.
But really, what you’re doing by eating this way is insuring your health, you’ll likely feel great after eating and you absolutely WILL feel more energised after breakfast.
A stark contrast to the full english outcomes.
This isn’t simply a result of placebo; the effects are very real. You’re consuming fibre, water, complex carbohyrates, sugars, good fats, vitamins and minerals.
And, no cholesterol. That increased energy and productivity is down to your arteries loving you and being able to expand to provide more nutrients through blood flow to your organs, particularly your brain!
Now this creates a positive talking point, I assure you!
Here’s another example:
- Nuts and seeds with a raspberry compote in Alpro yoghurt
- 3 types of fresh melon
- A wholegrain croissant
It requires little explanation.
The ‘take away’ measure from this post is that you CAN attend business breakfasts and eat well, and if you do, you will improve your health.
You can also attend business breakfasts and eat poorly. If you do, your health will erode.
I encourage you to be creative, have fun, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
The biggest influencer for your health lies at the end of your fork.
Think about yourself, not tomorrow but in a years time, 3 years time, 5 years time, and imagine your future self looking back. Will you look more healthy or less healthy?
Right now, you have a choice, that’s all.
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