This is one of the most common questions I get asked, but also one of the biggest mistakes people make. Without realising it, people are eating the wrong foods for breakfast and then suffering with energy dips, hunger, cravings and weight gain and most of the time this can be avoided with the right breakfast!
So should you be eating breakfast and how much?
The old adage, breakfast like a King, Lunch like Prince and dinner like a pauper is a good one to go by. That means having your biggest meal in the morning and your smallest at night. By front loading our calories it sets us up for the day and we have more opportunity to burn them off.
Where many people go wrong is by skipping breakfast or maybe grabbing a coffee and a muffin on the go, having a sandwich and crisps in the meal deal at lunchtime and then coming home starving to eat a huge plate of pasta or noodle stir fry. This way a large proportion of calories are eaten late in the day and then all we do is end up sitting on the sofa before bed. This doesn’t give our body any time to burn it off!
What about if I don’t eat breakfast?
We have always been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and until recently research has backed this up. Now some people question this data suggesting that it may not be as robust as it was once thought.
My take on it is that you have to learn what is right for your body. My Mum hasn’t ever eaten breakfast and at 70 she is now slim, healthy and like a woman decades younger BUT for most people this wouldn’t work. What tends to happen when you skip breakfast is that you still eat the same number of calories in a day because your body still needs that much energy. And when we skip breakfast we end up really hungry by late morning so end up making less healthy choices because we crave instant energy.
My best advice is to eat a good sizes breakfast as it will set you up well for the day, but there is definitely a time and a place for Intermittent Fasting or Time Restricted Eating but this needs to be approached in the right way in order to be successful.
What’s wrong with what I’m eating now?
Most of our generation were brought up on cereal, white toast and orange juice (the so called healthy part) for breakfast. Many still are. I was allowed Coco Pops every single day and then I wonder where my chocolate addiction came from!
This breakfast combination is laden with carbohydrates and it’s refined carbs that send us on the blood sugar roller-coaster – right from breakfast. This can mean cravings, hormonal swings, hunger, tiredness and grumpiness – just because you ate the wrong breakfast. And to top it all off we store it as fat! When we eat carbs we initially get a high from the energy in them but then our body whisks this away in storage for later and a couple of hours down the line we suddenly feel tired and hungry and crave more quick release foods to perk us back up again.
This Summer Coco Pops reduced their sugar intake by 40% and there was an outcry which reached the media. People weren’t happy sugar had been reduced down!! Looking at the nutritional info of Coco Pops, a serving has 0.6g of fibre (we should eat 25g a day) and only 1.5g of protein (1/4 of an egg) and was made up of 87% carbohydrate. The top 3 ingredients were rice, glucose syrup, which is another name for sugar, and then sugar! And this is what we are feeding our children!
What should I be eating then?
Breakfasts should be a good balance of protein, green veggies, starchy veg, wholegrains or fruit and good fats. If you can increase your levels of protein and good fats and reduce down your levels of carbs then you should see a marked difference in your energy, cravings and weight. Protein helps to keep you fuller for longer plus it takes more calories to metabolise it than any other food. Good fats give you sustained energy in the absence of carbs and contrary to popular media, don’t make you fat – it’s the refined carbs that are doing that!
Here are 3 foods you should be including in your breakfasts each week:
Eggs are the quintessential breakfast food – and for good reason!
Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouse. Yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats. Eggs have been shown to help keep you fuller for longer and to help stabilise blood sugar levels.
Eggs are also great snacks. I always make extra hard-boiled ones when cooking breakfast ones and then I have them as handy snacks when hunger strikes.
And it is also important to remember that all those stories we used to be told about eggs causing increased cholesterol have now been completely disproved. Eggs do not cause a rise in cholesterol – so go ahead and eat them guilt free!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Nuts and /or seeds are a great contribution to a breakfast when you haven’t got time to cook. They are also great as a snack or when you just haven’t got time to sit down and eat breakfast, can be eaten on the go. Just be careful to only buy plain nuts and not salted, honey roasted or any flavoured ones.
The other way to include nuts is through nut butter either with veggies as a snack or just a spoonful in your smoothie or your morning latte.
Most of you already know that you should be eating protein at every meal but this also applies to veggies – including breakfast. When I did my Eat More Vegetables Challenge this was the meal everyone got stuck at!
Vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fibre and water (and we all know that fibre is crucial in keeping us regular which helps detoxify our body each day!)
What are my favourite breakfasts?
- Vegetable omelettes, frittatas or egg muffins which are great as a snack hot or cold too
- Avocado on rye bread with eggs and asparagus, spinach and mushrooms
- Veggie hash – sweet potato, onions, spinach and mushrooms served with either eggs or your favourite breakfast meat
- A small portion of sugar free cereal or porridge topped with lashings of high protein yoghurt and nuts and seeds
- Overnight oats and chia seeds also served with yoghurt and nuts
- Smoothies – keep the fruit content low (berries are best as low in sugar) and make sure you add veggies such a spinach or kale plus fats such as nut butter or avocado or seeds in.
Don’t know where to get started? Grab a free copy of my Happy Healthy Waistline Starter Kit HERE.
If you are ready to start your own weight loss or healthy journey, my programmes will definitely help you achieve your goals! Click HERE to read about The 4 Hour Fullness Formula and how it can help you reach your goals from the comfort of your own home and in your own time. And please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions at all.