You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but is it true?
Breakfast is certainly very important. Its literal meaning is to ‘break the fast’ as it’s the first food you’ve eaten since the day before.
Breakfast provides us with energy to start the day and if we miss it we’re more likely to snackon unhealthy food later on such as crisps or a chocolate bar for that mid-morning fix when we’re feeling hungry.
That’s why research shows that those who eat breakfast regularly tend to have a more balanced diet during the rest of the day.
According to British Dietetic Association breakfast should make up 20-25% of our daily nutritional requirements – but it’s important that it’s made up of healthy food such as wholegrain cereals, milk, fruit, wholegrain toast and porridge.
It’s a good idea to try to include at least one of your five-a-day at breakfast time. You could chop fruit or mix raisins with your cereal, drink a small glass of fruit juice or try making a low sugar fruit smoothie. Just whizz up a handful of frozen berries and banana with plain yogurt and a little milk. This is a good tip if you struggle to eat breakfast, but if it’s not enough you can mix in some tinned fruit such as peaches in juice and a handful of oats to make more satisfying.
Meat or protein is not essential at breakfast but may help keep you fuller for longer and help add some variety. If you’re having traditional breakfast meats such as bacon or sausage try to have them only on the odd occasion and if you do, think about grilling instead of frying and choose the leanest cuts.
The same goes for eggs – they’re a good source of protein but try to boil or poach them rather than fry.
Milk is an important part of breakfast and calcium helps build and keep bones strong. Having milk on cereal is a good way of getting calcium if you don’t like it as a drink, or it can be included in a fruit smoothie.
Don’t forget alternatives such as almond or soya milk are also available.
Try to avoid foods high in fat and sugar try to only have things like croissants or pastries as an occasional treat.
Many people don’t have time or can’t face food first thing in the morning. If this is you, take a box of non-sugary cereal to work and eat as soon as you feel able. Or you could take a piece of fruit, bagel or a fruit bun with some low fat cream cheese.
If you really can’t face eating first thing, start with something really small and manageable such as a small low fat yogurt and drink – it should help you get into the habit. And remember to drink too – water is very important to help you keep up your energy levels through the day.
Finally, it’s also important to mention starting the day with a healthy breakfast is proven to be particularly important for school children. It helps with their concentration, performance and behaviour and helps give them the best start in life.
For advice and tips about healthy eating visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/portionsizewise