When it comes to breakfast, quality counts and a well-balanced healthy breakfast is linked to improved health outcomes vs a poor quality breakfast or no breakfast at all. In fact, some research suggests that we should consume around 15-25% of our daily energy intake at breakfast time.
If you are a breakfast eater and are wondering how your current choice stacks up or are interested in ways to improve your breakfast, read on below!
A very common breakfast I see is porridge made by using an express oat sachet, milk and honey. While this breakfast offers a source of carbohydrates, protein and fat, it is unlikely to provide a sustaining source of energy and can easily be improved upon.
To improve this:
- Use whole rolled oats soaked overnight if time permits – they will offer more fibre and a slower release of energy.
- Top with fruit such as berries, kiwi fruit or grated apple/pear for added fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Top with a source of omega-3 fats such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds/oil or walnuts because these fats must be consumed via the diet and will help to stabilise appetite and mood.
Pouring cereal straight from a box and adding a dash of milk can be a very convenient breakfast option. However, if you find yourself hungry not long after, here are some tips to improve the meal:
Cereal choice: opt for a wholegrain cereal with at least 10g fibre per 100g (the more the better!), ideally 5g or less sugar per 100g serve (= low sugar) but 10g may be more realistic and at least around 10-15g protein per 100g.
Fruit: add fruit such as berries, banana, papaya or kiwi fruit for added fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Healthy fats: if the fat content is low and/or no nuts/seeds are already in the mix, to help with satiety add in some healthy fats such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts or flaxseeds.
Breakfast smoothies are a popular on the go breakfast pick and can be healthy provided they contain adequate nutrition! Ideally a smoothie will contain one selection from each of the following:
Base: cow’s milk, plant-based milk or coconut water
Fruit: frozen banana, pineapple, berries, mango etc
Protein: protein powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds
Healthy fat: avocado, hemp seed, chia seed, flaxseeds (unless already used for protein)
Extras: spinach, kale, frozen zucchini, green’s powder, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon etc
Eggs on toast
Eggs on toast are a favourite way to start the day for many and on their own are a pretty good breakfast. However, this meal can also be improved by the following:
Toast: select wholegrain toast or sourdough – avoid burning.
Spread: replace margarine with avocado or good quality butter.
Eggs: boil or poach and leave a little bit runny (unless pregnant) because the shorter cooking time, the less nutrient levels lost.
Add a serve of veg: pair this meal with a handful of spinach, rocket, watercress, tomatoes or sautéed mushrooms to add in a serve of vegetables!