You’ve probably heard it many times, but is it true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Health professionals are widely in agreement – a nutritious breakfast, they say, gives you energy and sets you up for the day.
There’s also evidence eating breakfast offers other health benefits, including:
- Better weight control
- Improved concentration
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Better stress management
- More stable blood sugar
A recent study by experts at the University of Bedfordshire and Loughborough University has also found teenage girls are more active when they eat breakfast. This, they suggest, may have something to do with the fact that eating breakfast is linked with positive weight control.
Top 10 healthy breakfast staples
To get the best out of your breakfast here are some nutritious ingredients you could choose, plus why they may help you get a healthy start to your day:
- Oats Porridge contains soluble fibre, which helps with cholesterol management. Oats also release their energy slowly, which means they have a low glycaemic index (GI). Try making overnight oats if you don’t have much time to cook before going to work. Add some yoghurt and milk to a serving of oats in the evening, place the mixture in the fridge and top with fresh fruit and nuts in the morning (no cooking required).
- Beans A meal that includes beans can make a surprisingly healthy breakfast, as beans are a rich source of soluble fibre and protein.
- Eggs Another great source of protein to kick start your day (eating protein may help you feel fuller for longer). Add a poached egg to some wholegrain toast with a couple of slices of avocado.
- Wholegrain cereals If you’re going for a quick breakfast, a bowl of cereal is always a good option – though try to opt for wholegrain varieties, as these release their energy slowly thanks to their high fibre content. Make your bowl more interesting by adding berries, flaked almonds or even a drizzle of honey.
- Wholegrain bread Like wholegrain cereals, wholegrain bread releases energy slowly, helping you feel full all morning. Try a slice or two of toasted bread with scrambled eggs or peanut butter and sliced banana.
- Yoghurt Low-fat dairy foods contain protein and calcium, which help you feel full and keep your bones and teeth healthy.
- Fruit Fresh, tinned or dried, having fruit as part of a healthy breakfast provides fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. How about a smoothie made with berries and a frozen banana, with a scoop of whey protein powder to keep you going?
- Peanut butter Bursting with protein, peanut butter is also a source of healthy fats.
- Tea Bursting with immunity-boosting antioxidants, tea is an ideal drink to start your day. It doesn’t matter which type you have, as black, green and white tea are all good for you (though some believe green may be the healthiest).
- Coffee A cup of coffee not only gives you an energy boost first thing in the morning, but like tea it’s also full of antioxidants. However, skip the cream and sugar for the best version of this brew.