Getting ready to explore a new city, you need to start the day right with a filling and nutritious breakfast. As a traveler, the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is particularly pertinent.
Why is breakfast important?
As the name implies, breakfast breaks the overnight fast that the body has been enduring. Overnight our blood sugar levels have dropped, and our metabolism is burning slowly to conserve energy. Eating a meal first thing in the morning kick starts your body's metabolism. The body starts burning fuel more quickly again, and gives us the energy we need for the day's activities.
Skip breakfast and you're likely to feel lousy and not have the drive to get out and explore. You don't want to be checking out the sights feeling hungry and unable to resist the temptation of unhealthy snacks. With a full stomach you'll be less likely to indulge in the empty calories found in donuts, pastries, and bagels.
Eating Breakfast Out
So how do you eat a breakfast of champions when you have to eat out, or even more challenging, to eat breakfast at the hotel buffet.
A healthy meal is a nutritionally balanced meal. Whatever you eat, be sure it includes a portion of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Eating carbohydrates in the morning is critical for brain function. Your brain gets its energy from the carbohydrates that you have recently eaten; it’s not capable of using your body’s energy stores. Travelers following fad “low-carb” diets will find they often get headaches and lack focus in the morning.
Choose your foods wisely, making every calorie count. Look for complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain breads (not whole wheat, which is basically white flour with brown coloring), whole grain cereals, or fresh fruit.
Choose a cereal that is not too sweet (sweetness indicates lots of added sugar), if you like a little sweetness add some cut up or tinned fruit or naturally sweet berries. Include some fruit or natural yogurt to increase the fiber and protein respectively which will keep you fuller for longer.
For protein sources, choose eggs, low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, or peanut butter. Skip items high in saturated fats like bacon and sausage, or at least limit your intake of these. Ask your server to prepare your eggs without butter or oil.
And don't forget the importance of fat in your meal. Eating fat will help you feel full and satiated. Without it, you’ll quickly get hungry and will be tempted to snack on unhealthy foods. For fat sources, select foods with unsaturated fats. For example, choose 2% milk rather than skim or whole milk. Skip foods high in saturated fats such as butter, cheese, and coffee creamer.
Bring Your Own Breakfast
If possible, consider bringing your own breakfast with you on your holiday. Foods that you prepare are almost always going to be healthier than what you can get in a restaurant or from the buffet. You can control exactly what goes into your meal, and tailor it to your needs and tastes.
For example, bring a carton of your favorite whole grain cereal, and supplement it with low-fat milk and a banana.
With some forethought and wise planning, you can start each travel day right with a healthy breakfast.
- The Importance of Breakfast — There are so many reasons that you and your family should eat breakfast every day.
- More about Nutrition and Travel
- Watch Out for the Buffet — it takes some great willpower to keep to your healthy eating plan.
- A Guide to Dining Out – good and bad menu choices when eating at restaurants.
- Nutrition for the traveling athlete