Why breakfast has become a healthy business
A look at how three professionals with different kinds of schedules manage the first meal of the day
It’s all about beginning your day on the right note. A good breakfast provides fuel for the day and builds your health over the long term. “People think that a big breakfast is the right way to go, but one must always choose quality over quantity,” says Anjali Hooda, a Delhi-based functional medicine expert. While a heavy meal may make you lazy, one bursting with nutrients will energize and satiate you for a long period. “One rule about breakfast is that it must always contain protein and fibre so that it gets digested slowly, filing you up for longer.” Hooda takes us through three types of breakfast suited to specific lifestyles.
Jaideep Mahajan is the national creative head at Rediffusion-Y&R, India. “My job is extremely demanding and fast-paced—things change by the hour.” The length of his day is determined by the amount of work on his table. “Late nights are very common, travel is frequent for work, and also because my family lives in Delhi and I work out of Mumbai.”
Breakfast is important for Mahajan because it’s the only meal that’s in his control. “Once I’m out, I don’t know how my day will pan out—both lunches and dinners are unpredictable.” Since Mahajan has a history of cholesterol and diabetes, he avoids carbs (direct or indirect) and sugars. “I usually have three eggs (poached/boiled/fried), half a plate of salad with lemon dressing, a cup of black coffee (no sugar).” On other days, it’s besan cheela with mint chutney, and, on rare occasions, one bajra roti. When he travels, he keeps his breakfast simple. “Eggs and coffee—you find them everywhere.”
Hooda’s options for workaholics
In a mason jar, mix oats with almond milk, a tablespoon of chia seeds, any fruit, and let it set overnight in the refrigerator. This will turn into delicious pudding in the morning that you can just carry along with you to work.
Whisk two egg whites and one yolk with two tablespoons of buckwheat (or oat) flour, with salt to taste. Then oil a griddle and pour the batter over it like an uttapam. Top it up with chopped mixed vegetables of your choice.
The Jet setter
Arjun Verma is brand manager, APAC, luxury brand management, Marriott International, Hong Kong. His role requires that he not only work with existing properties but also open new hotels across Asia. “About 40% of my time is at the desk and 60% on the road. I have travelled to 18-20 different locations within Asia in just the first half of this year.” He wakes up at around 5-6am and his day ends around midnight or later as he works closely with global offices in the US.
“Breakfast was never a thing for me. I’ve only realized now that this is more important than any other meal.” For Verma, spending time at breakfast is an investment that proves its worth during the day. “Egg whites are there as I definitely need my protein, I try to avoid any form of bread, but eat my eggs with a healthy muesli.” He also experiments with various juices. “Not packaged but freshly prepared with both fruit and vegetables, and along with that I enjoy a cup of coffee.”
Hooda’s options for the jet setter
Muesli or oats with eggs
A handful of muesli with almond milk and a fruit, with a side of two egg whites and one yolk. You can make the eggs into an omelette and add different vegetables every day to rotate the antioxidants. So, for instance, if you’ve had a masala omelette with tomatoes and onions one day, stir in bell peppers the next day, and spinach the third.
Layer Greek yogurt, chia seeds, slices of mango, or any seasonal fruit, till you reach the top of a mason jar. Then top it up with a crunchy muesli and nuts for an almost dessert-like texture. You can also use soya or coconut yogurt if that’s available. Just like the omelette, remember to rotate your fruits and nuts to get a variety of nutrients.
The Health Nut
Vishal Kadian is senior vice-president at Citibank, Philippines. His workday is packed—he juggles work, workouts and family (he has a toddler). “My day usually begins with a workout, then some time with the baby, and off to work for the bank.” Time after work is also for the family. “No time for TV or anything else on weekdays.”
“Breakfast is very important as it contributes to my fitness.” Kadian does a mix of weight training and Ashtanga Yoga. “For me, the day starts with the right kind of nutrition.” If weight training is on the workout schedule, he eats some carbs and protein, and perhaps has some black coffee. If it’s supposed to be yoga, he adds some almonds, soaked overnight. “I have some pre-workout nutrition before weight training, which is usually peanut butter toast and some Greek yogurt.” Post-workouts, he gets a protein shake with oats, some berries and fruit. Kadian works out five-six times a week, so breakfast is critical to his fitness.
Hooda’s options for health nuts
Blitz a banana (or any other fruit) with a cup of yogurt, walnuts, a handful of mixed greens and a couple of tablespoons of oats. This is easy to make and carry; plus, it’s filling.
Soak two handfuls of moong dal till it’s soft. Then grind it with salt, pepper and organic turmeric. Oil and heat a griddle and spoon the batter over it like a pancake. Add chopped mixed vegetables over it. Eat 10-15 soaked almonds on the side.
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