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When you have a busy morning, it’s easy for breakfast to become low on your list of priorities. However, taking a few minutes to have something to eat can make a big difference to your day on so many levels.
Breakfast provides your body and brain with fuel after fasting overnight and that’s where the name originates, breaking the fast. If you don’t eat it you will be running on empty and it will be a bit like trying to drive car without petrol. Tricky!
It is suggested that breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking and it should make up around 25 – 30% of you daily allowance of calories. We all have different energy needs based upon gender, activity levels and life stage and men generally require more calories than women. Men typically require around 2500 kcals a day and women 2000.
Just like any other organ, the brain needs energy to work at it’s best. Breakfast restores glucose levels, which the brain needs in order to function. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels, make us happier, improve our mood and lower stress levels – which is always helpful.
It is also interesting to notice that children who eat breakfast tend to have better attainment and behaviour levels and ultimately grades too. If you can, eat breakfast together. Establishing and maintaining healthy breakfast habits from childhood throughout adolescence can help develop good eating habits that last a lifetime.
Apart from providing us with the energy we need to function, well chosen breakfasts tend to offer excellent good sources calcium, iron and B vitamins plus protein and fibre. Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals so try to include a portion of your daily five at breakfast. That can be a serving of melon, a banana over cereal or a goodness packed smoothie.
Breakfast can be good for waistline too because if you eat it you’re less likely to reach for sugary snacks that pile on the pounds when the mid-morning munchies strikes.
Even if you are short on time, these ideas will ensure you are fuelled up for the day ahead:
Muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt
Fruit added to your muesli (one with no added sugar) counts towards your five a day and a low-fat yoghurt provides calcium and protein. Do remember if you go for low-fat to watch out for the sugar content as this can be higher.
Porridge with banana and blueberries
Mix oats with semi-skimmed milk then heat in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often. When ready, add the banana (a great sugar substitute) and the berries and enjoy.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel
Halve and toast a wholemeal bagel. Spread low-fat cream cheese on one side and top with super-fresh smoked salmon. Add a squeeze of lemon and a little black pepper and you have a breakfast fit for a king.
Beans on wholemeal toast
This is not only naturally low in fat but also packed with fibre and protein making it a brilliant start to the day. If you are really hungry, or have had an early workout, add two poached eggs.
With energy-boosting porridge and protein-packed eggs, green smoothies and homemade granola bars, breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day but it can also be the tastiest.