I don't like to eat breakfast. Never did.
"Start the day right with a nice healthy breakfast…"
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…"
"Break the fast…"
"Breakfast of champions…"
Some people cannot function without having breakfast in the morning; however, I do not eat breakfast. I never did.
I do brunches with girlfriends and my husband makes a mean breakfast on the weekends. I love eggs, bacon, French toast, pancakes…all the good stuff. I just don't eat it in the morning because I'm not hungry.
When I was in grade 3, I had to do a homework assignment where we drew pictures of what we ate in a day. There was a box for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. In the breakfast box, I drew a large glass of water. I handed in the assignment and my mom got a call from my teacher.
I'm at home when this happens and she doesn't understand what's going on. She asks my eldest sister to come and help translate. They hang up the phone and roll their eyes at me. The conversation that followed was something like this (in Cantonese of course).
My mom questions me,
"You told your teacher you don't eat breakfast?"
I flatly respond,
"Yeah, I don't."
Both my sister and mom are puzzled,
"There's food in the fridge, why don't you eat it?"
I roll my eyes,
"Yeah I know, I just don't want to eat it. I'm not hungry."
My mom pauses for a second then showing her true colours, says to me,
"Next time, tell them you eat breakfast or she's going to think we don't feed you"
I nod and answer,
At that moment, I was annoyed with my teacher, my mom and my sister. I didn't understand what the big deal was.
I started lying to fit in
This was the first of many incidences where I learned to bend the truth in order to fit in. I told people I ate breakfast (even though I didn't) up until I got out of high school.
As I reflect on this as an adult, I understand where my teacher's concerns came from. There are many children who go to school hungry because their families lack access to adequate food. She wanted to make sure I was OK at home.
My mom's perspective is that a call from the school meant I did something bad (given her experience of Hong Kong's education system in the 1960s).
No news is good news, right?
As a mom now, I know a real conversation about food and hunger probably should have happened between us. But it didn't.
From lack of time, competing priorities, and different cultural and generational views about what types of conversations you have with your kids to a limited understanding of nutrition and child development, there are a number of reasons why.
When I recently asked my mom about this she told me she doesn't remember this happening; however, I'm taking a mental note and writing this story down so that I have the opportunity to break a generational cycle when or if I get a call from the school.
Our bodies are built differently and hunger cues are different for everyone
I don't condone children skipping breakfast but I need to remain mindful of their budding relationship with food (which may be different from mine). It's about trying my best to understand and accept that everyone can have different eating habits.
As long as they are functioning happily and healthily, I am not going to force my kids to eat when they don't want to. A significant part of my eating disorder recovery meant learning to pay attention to hunger cues and eating mindfully.
There are days when my daughter skips dinner because she's eaten too much for her afternoon snack and there are nights when my son has dinner before bedtime. They eat when they're hungry and they know there is always food in the house.
For myself, my body works the way it does and I am a natural follower of Intermittent Fasting. In the morning, I'll have 2 cups of black coffee and a cup of tea with nothing in it. I don't feel hungry in the morning until 11 am. I eat dinner around 5 and I usually fast for 16 hours.
Breakfast being the most important meal of the day is a myth. That's my truth about breakfast. I'm no longer going to lie about it in order to fit in.
So Readers, do you eat breakfast? How has this changed since you were a kid?
This was originally published on January 30, 2021.
Struggle with the relationship with your parents? Check out my book, How To Deal With Asian Parents.
About the Creator
Sum (心, ♡) on Sleeve | Author. Speaker. Wife. Mom of 2 | Embrace Culture. Love Yourself. Improve Relationships | Empowering you to talk about your feelings despite growing up in a culture that hid them | sumonsleeve.com/books