Since I’ve been in practice, one of the most common issues I find amongst people struggling with their weight, is that they skip breakfast. It has been estimated that at least one third of us have been skipping it! As the name suggests, it literally means “breaking the fast” since you’ve had no food or fasted since the day before. Breakfast is often said to be the “most important meal of the day”.
I think it is better to think of all meals as being important since skipping meals in general is not advised. Forming a regular eating pattern has been shown to improve sugar control, reducing the likelihood of weight gain and curb hunger pangs.
In particular, people who have breakfast have shown to:
So what makes a healthy breakfast?
Building a breakfast from the main food groups below will give you a great start to the day.
Starchy foods such as breads and cereals. These are quick and easy to prepare and are often fortified with vitamins, iron and calcium to contribute to your daily nutrient intake. Choose a wholegrain version to get in a good amount of fiber. Remember to your check labels as some of these may have added sugar and salt. Read this post for more information on how to read food labels. Evidence shows that having oats porridge for breakfast is beneficial for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. If you don’t have time to cook porridge, you can always blend it in a smoothie – a perfect breakfast on the go.
Fruit and vegetables. These are good sources of vitamins and fiber. It will be best to start getting in your 5-a-day from as early as possible. Add some chopped fresh fruit to your cereal or freeze some before hand to blend into a smoothie. How about trying out a peach, blueberry or mango smoothie recipe? You can also give vegetables a try at breakfast time such as mushroom or tomatoes or even baked beans on toast (when you have more time that is.)
Milk and dairy foods. These will give you protein, B vitamins and are a great source of calcium for healthy strong bones. Since you need to get in about 3 servings of dairy a day, breakfast will be a good place to start. If you aren’t a fan of milk, you can always substitute it for unsweetened yoghurt. Remember to choose low fat or skimmed sources of dairy. If you are using milk from a non-dairy source, such as almond or soy, make sure it is unsweetened and fortified with calcium.
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein. These foods can help you add variety at breakfast but still get in your protein. They don’t have to be included everyday. Remember to use low fat cooking methods such as grilling, poaching, boiling or scrambling instead of frying using a lot of fat. Avoid processed meats such as polony and sausages as well as fatty bacon to reduce your saturated fat intake.
Remember to include a drink. Staying well hydrated will also help you to concentrate better. Water, milk, tea and coffee all supply vital fluids for the day. Remember to choose low fat versions and try not to add any extra sugars.
If you would like to know exactly how to include breakfast as part of a healthy eating plan with specific portion sizes specifically for you, you can make a booking here.