Is breakfast really so important?
People talk about breakfast being the most important meal of the day but is this true and what actually is a good breakfast?
Breakfast is important for a number of reasons but primarily because it balances your blood sugar. This is vital for your body to maintain energy levels and prevent late morning or mid-afternoon energy slumps. It is also important for how we cope with stress. If you have eaten a good breakfast your ability to cope with stressful situations is greater than without.
Balanced blood sugar gives you even energy levels so that you can function well both physically and mentally. Research shows that both memory and concentration improve after a good breakfast. It also improves your mood. When blood sugar levels drop that’s when we feel irritable and anxious.
You may think that skipping breakfast is good when it comes to losing weight but actually it can have the opposite effect. If you don’t eat breakfast blood sugar levels remain low after the night and this makes you more likely to snack later. Unprepared snacking often results in reaching for that high fat or high sugar food available in the nearest vending machine! It also increases hunger hormones levels that may result in you eating more at lunch.
If you miss breakfast you’re also missing a great opportunity to have more vitamins and minerals. Every time we eat we have the chance to get nutrients on board that help our bodies to work more effectively. If we skip a whole meal that’s a large chunk out of your recommended daily requirements.
Of course, none of these benefits are felt if your choice of breakfast is poor. So, what constitutes a good breakfast? It must contain protein in order to balance your blood sugar and assist with how you cope with stress. Protein sources that are good for breakfast are eggs, nuts / seeds or protein powder. You could have fish, something like kippers and poached eggs but this isn’t very practical for a work day! Good examples include:
- Eggs – scrambled egg with mushrooms, boiled egg with wholemeal toast or egg muffins
- Porridge with nuts or seeds and a handful of blueberries
- A smoothie – in a jug mix ½ pint almond milk and 1/3 pint water, add a heaped dessert spoon of protein powder ( I find pea protein best but any is fine), add a banana and a handful of frozen berries. Blend. If you don’t have protein powder you could use ground almonds or a small handful of nuts if your blender can cope with them.
- Granola with a spoonful of probiotic yogurt to mix in and a handful of fresh berries
So, next time you think about breakfast don’t reach for the sugar filled cereal… think protein, balance your blood sugar and have a much calmer, healthier start to the day!
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