They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. Beginning your day off right can aid in everything from memory retention and weight loss, to lower incidences of heart disease and a lower risk of diabetes. Men and women who maintain a healthy breakfast routine are less likely to consume higher calorie meals throughout the day, as well as report higher levels of productivity at work.
However, not all breakfasts are made equally. Here are our top tips to avoid making early morning mistakes, and getting the most out of the first meal of the day.
Don’t load up on carbs
Traditionally when you think of breakfast, flakey pastries, fresh toast, beautiful cereals and pancakes come to mind. What do these all have in common? They are all carbohydrates. Whilst they are tasty and enjoyable, just eating these options alone won’t give you enough power to get through till lunch. As carbohydrates act to increase blood sugar levels for a short period of time, the small bursts will inevitably lead to an even quicker decrease in energy, leaving you wondering if you even had breakfast at all.
Opt for protein in the morning in combination with your carbs for a sustainable, longer lasting energy source. Instead of just toast, top with avocado and some poached eggs, or try a green smoothie loaded with good fats, protein from nuts and green vegetables.
A coffee is not breakfast
For too many people, coffee first thing in the morning is their only form of breakfast. Whilst the delicious smell of coffee first thing in the morning can help those who struggle to emerge from the covers, it is important to note that coffee is also a diuretic and can dehydrate you. Also, with no nutritional value that will keep you satisfied or give you long lasting energy, there are much better options.
Swap out your regular morning coffee for hot water with lemon, for an invigorating, cleansing drink that will start off your metabolism and get it working for the day ahead.
Don’t just drink juice
If you are loading up on fruit early in the morning then keep it to a minimum. Low glycemic fruits like blueberries, grapefruit and pears are delicious and are a good option if you like your breakfasts fresh and light. But make sure you’re incorporating protein with the fruits. Add them to a smoothie instead of just juicing them.
“You really only need two pieces of fruit a day, and while fruit is a good source of fibre and vitamins, getting the correct ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat in the morning is critical to starting the day right,” says Dietician Imogen Hooper.
Plan the night before
If you are short on time in the morning or like to eat on the run, make sure you plan your breakfast the night before. Activated overnight oats are a great take-away option. Similarly, Chia ‘Puddings’ are quick and nutritious, perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on the run. Simply add chia seeds to coconut milk in small containers with a selection of flax seeds, berries and cinnamon and set overnight.