Set Yourself Up for the Day with an Energising Breakfast
Go ahead, make your day
When you’re rushing to get ready for work or make the school run, breakfast can seem low on your list of priorities – we know what it’s like! But a healthy, nutritionally balanced breakfast really will help set you up for the day, waking up your mind and body and providing the energy you need to take you through to lunch and beyond.
So, why do we need breakfast? Your body doesn’t stop working while you sleep. For a start, it will be digesting whatever you have eaten during the evening, so while you snooze, your body is still burning calories. This means that by the time you wake up, your body is crying out for fuel!
Make it a good morning
The ideal breakfast will combine several food groups, including slow-release carbs for sustained energy, fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive system and protein, which will make you feel fuller and less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks to get you through the morning.
More than a grain of truth
You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of whole grains to a diet, and it’s true, they really are energy-giving heroes. They release energy gradually, providing long-term benefits rather than a quick burst. Whole grains promote balanced blood sugar levels, so you will feel both physically and mentally energised, with no mid-morning crash.
Great sources of wholegrains include porridge, whole grain mueslis and bran flakes.
As a general rule, avoid any cereals that are packed with added sugar. These are the imposters that will make you feel great for half an hour, before you experience the ‘sugar come down’, which can leave you feeling more tired than when you first rolled out of bed.
Fill your boots
One thing you want from a breakfast is to feel full and satisfied, and adding some protein to your morning meal will achieve this. Great sources of protein include eggs and Greek yoghurt. If you opt for eggs, boil or poach them rather than frying so that you avoid those saturated fats. Greek yoghurt is higher in protein than other types of yoghurt, plus it tastes deliciously creamy, while being healthy. Add some blueberries or banana for a dose of fibre and you’ll be heading to work feeling physically and mentally ready for whatever the day holds.
If you are pushed for time in the morning, a smoothie is the ideal easy option for a nutritionally balanced, and delicious, breakfast. Combine Greek yoghurt, a handful of oats and a selection of fruits for a magical morning mix. If time is a major factor, prepare your smoothie the night before and put it in the fridge for a truly chilled morning treat.
What to avoid
What you don’t want on your breakfast menu are foods packed with sugar — and sugar is hiding in lots of the foods we often opt for. Sugary foods may give you a rush of energy, but it will be short-lived and you’ll be flagging by the time you catch the bus! Check the ingredients on any breakfast cereals before you buy them. So many of them, particularly those aimed at kids, are jam-packed with sugar.
Apart from the occasional treat, also try and avoid favourites such as pancakes with syrup. Again you’ll experience a sugar overload, followed by a crash. If you can’t resist pancakes in the morning, combine them with blueberries.
And don’t forget to check those low-fat yoghurts for sugar content. Like a lot of low-fat options, yoghurts are sometimes pumped full of sugar to compensate for the lack of other ingredients.
Also, limit the number of fry-up you indulge in. They’re fine for a once-a-month treat, but saturated fats are a big no-no for a healthy lifestyle.
If you still need convincing that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, here’s what renowned nutritionist Adelle Davis had to say about it in the 1960s: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”