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Choices

“I can’t really blame anybody else”

Since I came to the UAE in 2007, my eating pattern has changed and I have mostly stopped having breakfast. I do not find the time and don’t have a timetable for sleeping, eating or work. I don’t think it is just my problem, it is a problem with my whole field of work, I think. I am in the construction field and we don’t have specific duty timings. Sometimes we have to work longer and sometimes we have to leave early, so even lunch and dinner time is not necessarily set.

However, I do agree that having a healthy breakfast is necessary for your health. Back home, we have a saying that if you don’t have a good breakfast, you age faster. In fact, back in Pakistan, we would have breakfast at just the right time and without fail. I would also agree that at the end of the day, it is a choice to skip breakfast or have it. I don’t think somebody is forcing me to sleep late, I am doing everything to earn money — if I work more, I earn more, so I can’t really blame anybody else.

From Mr Kamal Khan

Mechanical supervisor living in Dubai

Lifestyle

We can all live healthier if we want to

Breakfast is a big priority for me. I either eat a turkey and beef sandwich with cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but very rarely do I skip breakfast. If for some reason I don’t have it at home, I make sure I have it at work.

As for why people skip breakfast, I think the reason is quite simple — we wake up as late as we can to just make it in time for work.

Because of our current liestyles, it becomes difficult to take time out for breakfast. Often both the husband and wife are working, they leave early or come back late. So, they want to make the most of their time and many don’t have the time to make breakfast.

So, I would agree that companies should offer breakfast as a job perk. At my work place, they offer breakfast for free, which is very convenient because people know that if they could not catch breakfast at home, they can always have it once they get to work.

At our workplace, breakfast like toast, cereals and croissants are served till 11.30am and fruits are there all day, so it allows people to not stress about eating.

But I also agree with the statement that people prefer blaming their work schedules instead of making the effort to live healthily. If we really want to eat healthier, we can. We just need to put in that extra 15-20 minutes in the morning.

Also, when it comes to children, if breakfast becomes a family event, just like lunch or dinner, where either or both parents are present, it would be more appealing to children as well. And if it is something more appealing they would be more willing to have breakfast.

From Ms Farah Al Qaissieh

Assistant manager at a semi-government organisation, living in Abu Dhabi

Habits

I hated breakfast as a child, now I can’t skip it.

I consider breakfast as one of the most important meals of the day, I should not suffer from pangs of hunger because skipping breakfast can have a domino effect, which can include irritability, low tolerance, rage and all sorts of health issues, including weight gain. I am also not fussy about what I should have.

I think offices should offer breakfast as a job perk because you can get efficiency from your staff through such a process. A well-fed stomach makes for an efficient mind, because skipping breakfast can segue into other sorts of problems, which I have already mentioned.

Because the UAE offers so much convenience to residents, you can get a meal at the snap of your fingers. I understand that some people face traffic problems, that they need to rush to work but then, again, it is always a choice.

As for children, inculcate habits at a very young age. I am a living example of this — I used to hate breakfast as a child but because it was a habit forced upon us, I now realise how good that decision made by my parents was.

I do not think a ‘breakfast’ hour at school would be a practical option because, in a way, you are encouraging a child to skip breakfast at home. Instead, this should be included in the school syllabus, where teachers explain how important breakfast is to students.

From Mr Fayaz Khan Farooqui

Cricket commentator living in Sharjah

Health

When I have breakfast every morning, I give my body the message that it won’t be starving

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for my child and me. It is not of less importance for me just because I am an adult. I start early every day, because I have to prepare my son for school but I make sure I always have time for breakfast. I never let my family leave without having a healthy breakfast and if we cannot have it at home, I pack it so that they can have it on the way.

However, I do not really see most of my friends having breakfast regularly. They just take a cup of coffee in the morning and then have their first meal by noon or 1pm, which I find very unhealthy. In fact, they wonder how I manage to lose weight and the fact is that because I start my day eating, I give a message to my body that it won’t be starving. So, it starts burning the calories. If you don’t have breakfast, you will find it harder to lose weight because your body will start storing all the fat. You also need to give your brain the energy it needs at the start of the day or else it will affect your productivity.

When it comes to the issue of breakfast at school, I think ‘breakfast time’ would be a good idea. Breakfast time is even more important than lunch time, especially because most mothers are working and might not have the time to make breakfast. Also, it is not just about allocating time for breakfast. Schools should also have a breakfast menu for children so that busy mothers can just choose from the menu what their chldren would have for breakfast.

My son’s school does that — they have something called the ‘healthy breakfast club’ so I definitely think the idea is practical. If school starts at 8am, they allocate the breakfast time from 7.30am.

Most children do not really enjoy healthy food because they think it is not as tasty as unhealthy food. So, I try to make healthy eating more cheerful for my son, by making vegetables shaped as bears, flowers or the sun. I also think selecting a role model for children helps. My son really likes my brother, who works in the navy as a captain. I encourage him to eat healthy food if he wants to grow up to be as strong as him.

At the end of the day, whatever your children get used to eating when they are young is what they they will grow up eating as well. If they are used to eating a healthy breakfast, they will embrace it as adults too, so it is the parents’ responbitlity to make sure they take care of their child’s health in the long term.

From Ms Suzy Mohammad Sobhi

Dean of Studies at Health, Sciences and Safety Institute living in Ras Al Khaimah

— Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor

Have Your Say: Should breakfast be part of job perks for companies to encourage healthy habits in employees? Do you think people prefer blaming their work schedules instead of making the effort to live healthy? How can parents and schools build a habit among children to have breakfast regularly? If you want to share your views on the debate or participate in future discussions, write to us at readers@gulfnews.com

Gulf News asked: Do you skip breakfast?

• Yes, most of the times. 36%

• Sometimes. 26%

• No, I always eat breakfast. 38%