#NationalBreakfastWeek - planning your first meal of the day

It is often stated by nutritionists and dieticians that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, however there’s no real physiological reasoning behind this. It just boils down to the fact that people who make the effort to eat a breakfast are more inclined to look after the rest of their diet, and not rely on high calorie snacks for their energy. So start the day as you mean to go on, and that means without cereal too. Often the box it comes in is more nutritious. Research discussed at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2012 annual meeting and food expo highlighted that, in general, breakfast skippers miss out on key nutrients through the day and consume more sweets and fewer vegetables, in turn leading to over-eating. So a good breakfast certainly sets you up for the day ahead. Another point raised was that protein at breakfast time was key to control over eating and satiety, however the staples we consider for breakfast are often low in protein and high in carbohydrates. Far from optimal.

Here are my top breakfasts to get your day started the right way:

 The low carb, but very filling option: Eggs, no toast

This Nourish best seller was only added due to customer feedback, and requests for a scrambled egg dish without the toast. We added a bed of spinach, feta, which helps to give a salty texture, and coconut oil and avocado for healthy fats. Despite being low in carbs, it's still high in fibre, protein and healthy fats. This breakfast will help for a slow and steady rise in blood sugar levels, with the fats also helping to keep them stable, meaning no mid-morning crash.

Pre-gym breakfast: Jam & nuts on toast

So, you have a big gym session planned. Research shows that lifting weights and performing exercise is best when fuelled in some way. However, for most people, a heavy breakfast will just slow you down due to sitting in your stomach and not being digested quickly enough, but for many, the extra fifteen minutes in bed will be more important than a nutritious breakfast!

Our Jam & Nuts on Toast - almond butter, chia jam and half a banana - is always a good choice. You’ll get protein and fats from the almond butter which will slow digestion, and the toast wont sit too heavy. The banana and jam will provide an early morning boost, giving you a quick start and a good mix of energy.

The ‘why did i stay out until 3am on a work night’ option: Breakfast/Hangover smoothie

Sometimes facing food first thing in a morning before work, and after a big night out, is just not going to happen. However, you still need to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover, and that means eating the right things. This blog post explains a little behind whats happening to the body when you have a hangover, and what needs to be addressed. We made a smoothie based on this, with orange juice, egg whites, oats and whey protein powder all served over ice. It’s refreshing, hydrating and helps with the hangover.

The full English without the guilt: Full breakfast

Scrambled eggs, grilled bacon with the rind removed, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, wholemeal toast. My clients are always surprised when I say they can have a full English on a weekend! This version is high in protein, includes healthy fats, and slow release carbs from the wholemeal toast - a much better alternative to white bread. The tomatoes give you a boost in vitamin C and antioxidants, whilst the mushrooms are low in calories (but filling) and great for boosting the immune system.

The complete protein porridge: Protein porridge topper pot

My all year round favourite. Nothing quite beats this for quality and satiety; it really does keep me going until lunchtime! 

- Porridge oats mixed with coconut milk powder – a slow release, complex carb that keeps you fuller for longer.

- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon – research has shown that this helps to control blood sugar.

- 1 scoop of whey protein – protein is a must at breakfast, whatever your goals.

- Choc toppers from Wholeplus – full of antioxidants and adds sweetness and flavour

- Coconut milk powder - packed with omega 3 fatty acids as well as being rich in lauric, caprylic and capric acids. This helps boost the healthy fat content of this complete porridge.

 So there you have my top breakfasts to get your day started - from supporting fat loss to pre-gym - they all have one thing in common, and that’s protein. For the healthiest start to your day, base your breakfasts around protein, no matter what your goals are.

 

David Stache

Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Nourish