“We’ve had one breakfast, yes. What about second breakfast?” So said the hobbits in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
Second breakfast may not be as customary a meal in the U.S. as it is in Middle-earth and most European countries, but it’s a meal with merit nonetheless—especially if you’re fitting your workouts into the a.m. hours.
This approach to doubling up on breakfast allows you to get a small bite in before you hit the gym or leave for work, and then indulge a bit more once you’re settled into your chair or are finished with your workout.
Because we are most active during the first two-thirds of our day, we need more energy from food during this time. That’s why nutritionists across the board agree you can certainly add a second breakfast to your routine sans guilt.
You should feel as guilty about eating second breakfast as a hobbit does. But whether you eat two breakfasts or one, remember: If you’re eating crap, well, you’re eating crap.
Second breakfast shouldn’t be garbage food or whatever’s floating around the office. The best options are based on whole foods packed with lean protein, fiber, and antioxidants (skip the protein bars and shakes). Opt for a banana and peanut butter. Pita stuffed with whatever will do the job. Toast. A few leftover pieces of chicken from dinner last night with some greens. Just something relatively healthy and filling so then you can eat a full meal again at 12:32 p.m.
Second breakfast is a necessary means to get you through the day. This is not the time to be fancy—it’s for when you just need to eat in order to make it through. Get it right, and you’ll not only be less likely to turn to junkier foods later, but also be able to focus and concentrate better throughout the day.
In short, give your body what it wants. When the clock strikes 10:14 a.m. and your stomach lets out a growl that you are positive cubicle-neighbor heard, embrace it. Don’t force yourself to wait until noon so you can eat lunch at what is deemed an “acceptable” hour. Instead, come prepared for the inevitable and eat second breakfast.
Whatever you eat for second breakfast, it should keep your energy levels soaring, your blood sugar levels stable, and it should keep you full. Well…until you’re hungry approximately 53 minutes later.