Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day – it can help you to lose or maintain a healthy weight, it can help you to stay focused through the day and it can even help you to build muscle.
Unfortunately, not all breakfast choices are created equal, and making the wrong choice in the morning can turn a healthy start to the day into a low nutrient, calorie dense mess, which can leave you feeling unsatisfied, agitated and sluggish.
Skipping breakfast is just as bad, and here are four reasons why its imperative to start off the day well:
1. You’ve been fasting all night long, and breakfast will provide your body with the energy it needs to be active and productive, because it restores blood sugar levels. When you don’t eat breakfast it will lead to an energy deficiency.
2. Skipping breakfast will lead to you slumping both mentally and physically. It is impossible to operate optimally if you haven’t eaten a good breakfast. After a good breakfast, you will have more energy during the day, be much more focused and have the ability to concentrate during daily activities. Its not only your muscles that require energy – your brain does as well.
3. If you are aiming to lose weight, countless research has shown that eating breakfast makes it much easier to shed the unwanted weight and stick to the diet program you are following. Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast can increase your metabolism by as much as 10%!
4. Eating breakfast can affect mood, too. When our bodies are hungry it can lead to irritability and mood swings. This not only affects you, but all the people who interact with you.
So skipping breakfast is definitely not good for you – however, eating a bad breakfast can be even worse.
Bad breakfast choices…
A quick sugar fix that many cereals deliver, or the Danish pastry bought to eat at your desk are going to shoot your blood sugar levels sky high. This will initially make you feel good, providing an initial burst of energy, however shortly afterwards your blood sugar levels will plummet and will
Leave you exhausted by mid-morning, leading you to grab the next sugar or caffeine fix of the day.
A glass of the shop bought juice is another poor choice – not only has the fibrous part of the fruit been removed, but the juice will have been processed removing a large proportion of the vitamins and minerals a piece of fruit would normally contain. The drink you are then consuming is basically liquid sugar – which is a fabulous way to send your blood sugar levels through the roof.
Many breakfast cereals are devoid of any nutrients, and will provide you with a temporary sugar high, a bloated stomach and then the blood sugar crash!
Breakfast bars sell themselves to you as being easy, convenient foods that you can eat on the run. However, watch out as they tend to be full of sugars (many contain the same amount of sugar that you’d expect to find in a pastry) that are going to mess with your blood sugar levels.
Fast Food – there is nothing good to say about grabbing a quick breakfast sandwich. Most will be nutrient poor and high in saturated fats.
Good breakfast choices include
Aim to eat something your body can process, use, and has benefits to the body. It should contain proteins, carbs and good fats.
Porridge made with whole oats (not the instant ones, which are a bit like sugary dissolved cardboard), made with either full fat milk or a dairy free alternative, add in a small handful of nuts and seeds for protein and some fresh berries for antioxidants and vitamins. This is a great breakfast, because oats have a low GI – which means that they offer slow-releasing energy that will keep you full until lunchtime. The nuts and seeds are high in protein, which helps to keep you fuller longer and all of the ingredients contain fibre, which is essential to keeping your blood sugar levels balanced thus helping to control appetite and cravings.
Yoghurt with grated apple, dried apricots and walnuts. Yoghurt is a source of protein and so doesn’t adversely affect blood sugar. Walnuts boost protein levels further plus contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, while dried apricots provide iron and beta-carotene.
A couple of rye crackers, three oatcakes, topped with two teaspoons of a nut butter, I recommend almond butter which is absolutely delicious, topped with slices of banana. Nut butter is fairly high in calories, but it’s a great alternative to butter because it’s a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This breakfast is also high in fibre, which helps to keep mid-morning hunger pangs at bay.
Instead of a glass of shop bought juice, make yourself a smoothie with fruit of your choice. The fruit will provide numerous vitamins and minerals, plus can be counted towards your 7j-a-day. Add some flaxseeds or chia seeds to boost your protein and Omega 3 levels too.
Instead of reaching for the coffee why not try a decent cup of green tea, it contains just enough caffeine to give you a “kick”, but the theanine will ensure you dont have the usual coffee/caffeine crash.
Use these great tips from a nutritional therapist to help stick with your balanced vegetarian diet plan!