Sometimes mornings can be a bit hectic, to say the least. Finding the time to eat a healthy breakfast in between the school run, commuting and making it to work on time can be a bit of a struggle. Many of us end up grabbing calorie-laden coffees or sugary snacks that can quickly lead to pounds piling on.
It’s known as the most important meal of the day, but is eating a good breakfast really that vital to our health? We tackle the science behind breakfast with tips on how make sure you get a nutritious meal even when you’re pushed for time.
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
According to The British Dietetic Association (BDA), while breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day, this may not actually be the case. As part of a balanced diet, each meal is just as important as any other. They advise that the food you eat each day should be considered as a whole and skipping any meal, including breakfast, should be avoided.
However, because breakfast is the first meal of the day it supplies you with the energy you need to gear you up for the morning ahead. It also could be the key to helping you lose weight and keep your body healthy. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight, and can lose weight more successfully if they are overweight.
Tips for eating breakfast on the go
Plan your meal ahead
Getting out of bed in the morning can be a hard task, especially after a long weekend. When you’ve woken up bleary-eyed and groggy the last thing many of us want to do is fumble in the kitchen trying to prepare breakfast. Instead, save time and use the weekend to plan your meal in advance so all you have to do is grab a packed breakfast before you head out the door.
Stock up with food you can eat on-the-go
To avoid grabbing a mid-morning muffin or pastry, keep your kitchen stocked up with food that’s easy to take away, but nutritious. Choose options like pears, apples, bananas, carrot sticks, or bags of nuts and dried fruit which provide essential vitamins and minerals along with dietary fibre.
Prepare yourself for work
If your job is office based and you have access to a microwave, take in items like eggs, porridge or wholegrain cereal that you can easily prepare at work. Wholegrain foods like porridge are high in fibre which will help you feel fuller for longer.
What should you eat for breakfast?
Fruit and vegetables
Start your morning by kicking off your five-a-day. Go for food you can prepare ahead to take with you. Add a potassium-rich chopped banana to porridge or cereal, or blend your own homemade fruit smoothie using frozen or fresh fruit.
Porridge is a high fibre source of energy-boosting carbohydrates that doesn’t have to be served warm. Overnight oats can be left to soak in a handy container, ready to eat on-the-go in the morning. To make, mix raw porridge oats with milk or low-fat yogurt in a jar or container. Add fresh or dried fruit or flavourings like cinnamon. In the morning, the oats will have absorbed the liquids and flavourings, leaving you with a creamy, tasty breakfast you can enjoy on the train or at your desk. Dairy products like milk and yogurt provide a boost of protein and calcium.
Go for protein
Research shows that protein could help manage weight loss and keep your muscles healthy. Get your daily dose from a wide range of natural food sources. Two slices of whole wheat toast will provide you with 7g of protein, 6oz of soy yoghurt offers 6g, and a cup of soy milk will add 7g of protein to your breakfast.
Watch what you drink
Starting the day with a strong coffee is essential for some people. If you can’t survive without a caffeine boost, try using skimmed milk to save on calories. Alternatively, swap your usual order for a herbal tea like peppermint which has a refreshing, energising flavour.
Bottle it up
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be dull. If bottled water doesn’t excite you, make your own fruit infusions by adding slices of your favourite fruit for added flavour. Choose lemon for a sharp, zingy flavour, cucumber for a fresh taste and strawberries and raspberries for natural sweetness.
As research suggests, a filling breakfast packed with nutrients is one of the best ways to kick-start the day. There’s no need to miss out on an important meal just because you’re rushing out the door.