Without a doubt, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one of the key’s to achieving better health. It is such a simple and easy step to take, however so often it is forgotten.
Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast.” Eating breakfast helps us to “restock” or “refuel” our energy stores, which have been depleting during the overnight fast. It also gives us energy for the day’s activities.
It has been shown that people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who regularly skip this meal. However, the BDA state that 10 – 33% of us regularly miss out on eating breakfast.
What are the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast?
- Eating breakfast causes our metabolism to speed up, and therefore more calories will be burnt throughout the day.
- Our hunger will be well regulated and therefore, less total calories should be consumed during the day, from snacking on unhealthy foods.
- Breakfast can provide essential vitamins and minerals (from fortified cereals), which people may find difficult to get elsewhere, if they regularly skip this meal.
- Eating a healthy breakfast helps to improve mental performance, concentration, and mood.
- Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
Good examples of a healthy breakfast may be a bowl of whole grain cereal with semi-skimmed milk, a hard boiled egg, and an orange. Or, porridge with semi-skimmed milk, a slice of whole grain bread, and a bowl of mixed berries. Try to avoid choosing sugary cereals, sweet bread, pastries, and white breads, as these foods are absorbed quickly into the blood, and will cause you to feel hungry and tired again within a very short period of time. Opt for high fibre, wholegrain versions where possible, which will help you to feel fuller for longer.
If you find you don’t have time for breakfast, or don’t enjoy eating first thing in the morning, at least try to have a piece of fruit, or a small carton of low fat yogurt, within a few hours of getting up.