Breakfast of Champions – and Teams

Whether you like to eat breakfast or not, it’s good for you. Still, most people skip breakfast. Coffee in hand, or picked up from McDonald’s (the most frequented chain for a morning meal), people rush off to work on an empty stomach.

According to Kellogg’s (yes, the same Kellogg’s that makes breakfast cereals), “great breakfasts lead to great days.” They may be a bit biased, but their right. Yet, too many of us don’t take the time in the morning to fuel up. Kellogg’s conducted a survey of 14,594 people and found that 54 percent of Americans stated that they would like to eat breakfast. However, only 34 percent actually take the time to eat a morning meal.

That means 66% of us are skipping breakfast. That’s bad because breakfast is good for us and the teams we work with at our jobs.

Breakfast is Good for You

Before getting into why breakfast is good for you, let’s look at why skipping breakfast is bad for you. Research has shown that skipping breakfast is associated with increase prevalence of obesity. Sounds weird. Right? But it’s true. Not eating can cause you to gain weight. The dynamic goes like this. You skip breakfast, so you’re depriving your body of food since you last ate. Because you are hungry in the morning, you tend to overeat throughout the day.

Let’s say dinnertime for you was 7:00 PM. That means you haven’t eaten in 12 hours. The hunger you have created may cause you to spend your morning eating unhealthy snacks that are high in fat and sugar. And, you may overeat for lunch to compensate for skipping breakfast. All of this contributes to obesity.

Obesity aside, skipping breakfast is also bad for your productivity. Kellogg’s is right. That’s because you can’t do your best work when you’re hungry. If coffee is your breakfast, you’re doing it wrong. You may think you’re getting the boost you need to have a great day, but you’re only getting a quick buzz that won’t last. Breakfast, on the other hand, gives you energy that lasts for hours.

Ultimately, breakfast is good for you because it fuels your body to have a productive day. When you eat a healthy breakfast (one packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals), you experience better cognitive functioning. Your thinking is clearer. Your ability to solve problems is greater. And, your memory is better.

Also, you’ll likely be in a better mood throughout the day. Ever hear of the term “hangry”? It’s the combination of hungry and angry. That’s the unofficial term for people who struggle emotionally because they missed a meal. Yes, having breakfast has a positive impact on your emotions and your ability to work with your team for the entire day.

Breakfast is Good for Your Team

You’ve been in early-morning team meetings. Everyone is doing their best to look fresh and alert. But most of them are tired, hungry, and hopped up on coffee. Now, imagine if everyone had eaten a healthy breakfast. All the individual benefits of eating breakfast would be amplified throughout the team. This means the team, as a whole, would have better cognitive function. With all of its members thinking clearer and solving problems better, the team will be more productive.

Taking this one step further. Wouldn’t it be great to eat breakfast as a team? What a great team-building exercise. It just so happens that the impact of eating together has been studied. Researchers looking into the cooking and eating habits of firefighters found that worksite eating that is shared among co-workers enhances team performance. Not only does the team experience a performance boost, teams that eat together stay together. That’s because they’ve created a bond through the social interactions they have during the meal.

It’s been said over and over again, but it’s true. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.