Do you breakfast like a King (or Queen) or are you more likely to grab a coffee and Danish or even give the most important meal of the day a miss altogether? Reasons for skipping breakfast can vary from lack of time to a conscious attempt to reduce calorie intake to help with weight loss.
As the name suggests this meal is meant to ‘break the fast’ since dinner the previous evening. Your body has probably gone at least eight hours without food and making it wait longer can have repercussions for your blood sugar balance. This can lead to poor food choices and a tendency to overeat later in the day. This extended fast will also do nothing to maintain your metabolism. The consequence of these factors is that rather than helping you to lose weight you are more likely to be overweight than your breakfast eating counterparts. If you are pregnant, eating in the morning can also help to reduce feelings of nausea and improve your energy levels.
Studies show that eating a high calorie, low glycaemic load breakfast (that’s one low in sugar and refined carbohydrates) improves attention, behaviour and memory in children. Overall breakfast eating children tend to have a better intake of nutrients, perform better academically and are less likely to be overweight. Cereals aimed at children are usually very high in sugar, some containing as much as 50%, while cereal bars targeted at the breakfast market can be even higher. While a high sugar content may not surprise, what many parents don’t realise is that salt levels can also be high. Some cornflakes brands for example have twice as much salt as the same weight of crisps. To find the healthiest choices you need to be label savvy and compare ingredients labels on cereal packets. Go for those with less than 0.3gms sodium and 15gms of sugar per 100g weight. Bran based cereals are best avoided (by adults as well as children) as they can interfere with the absorption of minerals and may irritate the bowel.
So what are the best choices? The ideal breakfast would contain some protein (eggs, dairy or nuts) with some carbohydrates (preferably from wholegrains). The addition of fruit either fresh, dried or as a juice/smoothie provides a sweet replacement for refined sugar and also allows you to make a head start on your five day. I recommend –
*Wholemeal toast with nut butter (almond, hazelnut or peanut) and a small fruit smoothie
*Boiled egg with wholemeal soldiers and a glass of orange juice
*Natural yoghurt with fresh fruit and muesli
*Porridge with banana or chopped dried fruit.
*A healthy shake (see below)
*Poached egg, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, wholemeal toast and a rasher or two of bacon (or vegetarian equivalents) on the weekend.
If you’re in a hurry or can’t face much in the morning a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, a couple of oatcakes with nut butter or a pot of natural yoghurt with a banana are all better than nothing.
This healthy shake is quick to make, filling, nutritious and delicious – it’s basically a meal in a glass and lovely for breakfast. Ideal if you’re short on time but don’t want to go short on nutrients. It’s a good source of essential fatty acids, calcium and vitamins B6 and E. It also contains two of your five a day and is a great way to get reluctant children to eat fruit. Plus it only requires one hand to consume (a very useful thing if you’re a new mum).
Avocado and Banana Shake
1 ripe banana
½ ripe avocado
1 teaspoon of almond or hazelnut butter ( or to taste)
Enough milk to cover
(use semi skimmed or a dairy free alternative such as calcium enriched almond milk, oat milk or soya milk). You can add more or less depending on the consistency you prefer. I like mine thick enough to eat with a spoon!!
Whizz all ingredients together in a liquidiser or with a hand held blender. Drink immediately. Enjoy.