It’s easy to fall back into bad habits during the hectic morning rush, but with a little forward planning and the right ingredients, even the busiest of people can tuck into a nutritious breakfast before they leave home. Better Breakfast dietitian Linia Patel discusses why breakfast is so important and provides some top tips for a healthy start to the day…
Linia is a Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist. She is a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association and Hydration Council. Linia has extensive experience in a number of different nutrition settings. She is passionate about empowering people to better manage their health and optimise their performance through learning the essence of healthy eating.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, yet at least one fifth of the UK population regularly miss this meal. For most, mornings are rushed which is why breakfast is so often placed on the back burner. Eating a nutrient packed breakfast will ensure you can get even more out your body both mentally and physically.
A meal not to be missed
Science has shown time and time again that eating breakfast is important. Skipping breakfast has been reported to have a negative impact on memory, concentration, learning and mood. It has also been shown to help keep you looking trim. Studies suggest that people who don’t eat breakfast are nearly twice as obese as those who do. It’s definitely not a meal to be missed by anyone!
What makes a good breakfast?
Simply eating something for breakfast is a good start; however, remember that quality does count. Keep these things in mind when choosing your breakfast:
- Simply eating something for breakfast is a good start, but remember that quality does count so keep this in mind when laying out your children’s breakfast and try to steer them away from convenient and not so nutritious choices such as high sugar cereals.
- Variety is the spice of life and including different food groups for breakfast not only helps to get a wide range of nutrients and vitamins in your family’s diet, it stops the children from getting bored with the same old dishes. Aim to include at least three food groups from the following: carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy/dairy alternatives as well as nuts or seeds.
- Choose their carbs carefully – pastries, white bread, high sugar cereals are refined carbohydrates that play havoc with blood sugar levels. Opt for slower release carbs such as whole oats, wholegrain breads, barley, fruit and vegetables. These will release sugar more slowly into the blood providing sustained energy levels and help keep them going until lunchtime.
- Add a protein to help maintain blood sugar levels and keep your children fuller for longer. Eggs, nuts, seeds, low fat dairy, oily fish, lean meats and pulses are all good sources of protein.
- There are many foods that can quickly help boost the nutritional content of breakfast in minutes. Try mixing a tablespoon of nutritious baobab fruit powder into their morning porridge or smoothie to provide more than a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and a third of fibre intake.
- Drink to think. Water is the best choice as it hydrates without providing any additional calories. However a glass of low fat milk, no added sugar fruit-juice or smoothies (150ml) are also smart choices.
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