YOUR STOMACH has been growling for the past hour, demanding food. You feel fatigued, the sudden sensation of exhaustion. It is still the beginning of the day and yet you feel totally drained out. Why, you ask? Most likely because you have skipped the most important meal of the day – breakfast. So many times we have been told why we need to eat breakfast. But let us be honest. The time and effort it takes to prepare a proper meal first thing in the morning is a luxury that many of us simply cannot afford. But must breakfast be such a grueling and time-consuming ritual? Not necessarily. Here are some fast and easy ways to energize your day, depending on where you are and what you are looking for.
Long day ahead?
If you have a long day ahead, you probably want something filling. No need to panic even if you do not have the time or energy to prepare a full meal. If you have some leftover rice from the day before, make some *nurungji* by spreading a layer of cooked rice on a frying pan and scorching it slowly. For the next morning you will have a readymade meal. Just pour some water in the pot, drop in pieces of the scorched rice and let it boil softly. *Nurungji* is a traditional Korean snack that is simple to make and easy to digest. It also contains amino acids and fiber that help soothe the stomach and aid in the recovery from a hangover.
Ingredients: leftover rice, water
1. The night before, prepare thin layers of rice pancakes on low heat using leftover rice.
2. In the morning, pour two cups of water over pieces of the rice pancakes in a pot.
3. Boil until the rice pancakes start to lose form.
Breakfast can be an opportunity to catch up on some vitamins you might miss later in the day. Slice up some of your favorite fruits the night before and keep them fresh in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up in the morning, pour some unsweetened grain cereal, the slices of fruit and some plain yogurt in a bowl. Mix the different layers together and enjoy! With this simple fruit yogurt parfait, you have the benefit of taking grains, fruit and dairy all in one simple yet delightful choice.
Ingredients: slices of fruit, plain yogurt, unsweetened grain cereal (or muesli), honey
1. Slice some fruit the night before to save time in the morning.
2. Pour the cereal and slices of fruit in a bowl.
3. Add the yogurt and mix well. Add honey to taste.
For the mighty and powerful
For those who are currently in the process of bodybuilding, breakfast is even more crucial as it sets the tone for the day. Starting the day right will help get your metabolism up and running, speed up muscle growth, and generate a higher level of energy. A tuna and egg sandwich is a relatively easy way to get the protein you need. Tuna is known for being low in calories and fat, high in minerals such as iron and potassium, and a source of protein – something which is absolutely crucial for muscle gain. Similarly, eggs (particularly egg whites) also contain high levels of protein with negligible fat.
Tuna and egg sandwich
Ingredients: bread, canned tuna, mayonnaise, celery, eggs
1. Boil eggs and then remove the shells.
2. Chop the hard-boiled eggs and celery into bite-sized chunks.
3. Mix the tuna, eggs, celery and mayonnaise in a bowl.
4. Slather a generous portion of the mix on two slices of bread.
5. Combine and enjoy!
Keeping slim and healthy
For those who want to lose weight, skipping breakfast is not the way to go. When you skip the first meal of the day, instead of eating less, you end up eating disproportionately more the next time you eat or choosing snacks that are high fat and sugar. So instead of entirely skipping the first meal of the day, try something light like tofu salad. Tofu, praised by health aficionados as a health food, is high in protein while significantly low in calories. Also, soybeans – the main ingredient of tofu – contain saponin, a natural chemical compound that decomposes fat.
Ingredients: Tofu, eggs, lettuce, oriental dressing
1. Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes.
2. Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves.
3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
4. Dip the tofu slices in the egg batter and fry them in a heated frying pan.
5. Place the cooked tofu on the lettuce leaves and top with dressing to taste.
For the extremely busy
If you are one of those people who have read up to this point and thought, “this sounds great in principle, but there is no way I am doing this,” you are not alone. There are some of us who simply do not have the time or energy to deal with another morning task. In that case, do not worry. There are some alternatives at your disposal that take only a bare minimum of preparation time. Before rushing out the door, quickly grab one of the following options: *ddok* (rice cake), a granola bar with pieces of fruit, or an easily made protein shake.
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The word breakfast is composed of the words “break” and “fast.” Literally, breakfast is a time to break the long night’s fast in order to start off the day newly charged. Like the old saying goes, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Instead of worrying about the type of meal, we must remember that consistency is key. With the relatively pain-free options outlined above, we can easily turn breakfast into a daily routine. It is time we stop blaming the lack of time or the earliness of the hour. It is time to break the fast.