What To Eat To Start Your Day Right

What To Eat To Start Your Day Right


It’s the most important meal of the day, so you really ought to be getting it right. But what should you be eating for breakfast? From prioritising protein to filling up on fibre, here’s what two nutrition experts do each morning…

Forget The Metabolism Myth

“The notion that breakfast boosts your metabolism by kickstarting your day is a myth. This theory is to do with the calories burnt as the body metabolises food, known as the thermic effect. Your body, however, doesn’t define food by meal occasion, so this effect is the same regardless of when you eat. What matters for metabolism is the total amount of food eaten across the day. Research has shown no difference in the energy used up over 24 hours between those who ate breakfast versus those who skipped it.” Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist

Sometimes skip it

“Eating breakfast later, or skipping it completely, can help reduce body fat, blood sugar levels, cholesterol, insulin resistance, and give us more energy. In one of the first human trials of time-restricted eating, two groups of healthy volunteers ate the same food, but the group on a time-restricted eating plan (eating breakfast 90 minutes later than usual, and dinner 90 minutes earlier each day) lost more body fat and saw bigger falls in blood sugar levels and cholesterol than the control group. Intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, is particularly effective for those who have a lot of weight to lose, or have type 2 diabetes.” – Dr Michael Mosley, creator of The Fast 800

“If you do skip breakfast and go without food until lunch, this could lead to low energy levels, which could in turn impact your ability to perform daily tasks. Hunger also runs the risk of unhealthy snacking as your blood sugar levels drop and hunger prevails. In some cases, busy work schedules may limit the time and ability to access something healthy, which is when convenience snacks are more likely to be eaten. It goes without saying chocolate croissants and Danish pastries are not the healthiest breakfast option.” – Rob

Get A Takeaway

“If you are out and about, there are lots of healthy breakfast options on the high street. Places such as Pret, M&S and Leon all do relatively healthy hot and cold breakfast options, including yoghurt pots, boiled egg salads, fruit salads, porridge and warm egg rolls. Try and check the labels as some of these options are loaded with sugar; and try to avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausages, which are high in salt and saturated fat.” – Rob

Think Twice About Coffee

“There is nothing wrong with coffee, with many studies showing it improves memory, mood, energy levels, reaction time and general mental function, but it pays to order the right kind. Keep it simple and avoid oversized options flavoured with syrups and topped with cream. Avoid adding sugar to your coffee; instead try naturally sweet spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon.” – Rob

Prep Ahead

“If you think you don’t have enough time for breakfast, set your alarm earlier to make sure you can fit something nutritious in before you leave the house. If you are really time-stretched, think about prepping ahead to ensure you always have something healthy to hand. Yoghurt pots can be made the night before: in an empty jam jar, layer yoghurt with foods like oats, low-sugar granola, berries, low-sugar berry compote, nut butters, seeds and shaved coconut. I’m also a fan of overnight oats: soak oats in apple juice, almond milk and add foods such as grated apple (add lime juice to prevent browning), dried fruit, nuts, seeds and spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.” – Rob

Choose Your Carbs Wisely

“Although many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, sugary cereals aren’t the best option for breakfast, and there are better ways to get these nutrients in your diet. If you love cereal, choose one that’s lower in sugar. If you’re a toast fan, ditch your white sliced bread in favour of wholegrain – try topping with nut butter and sliced banana or mashed avocado.” – Rob

Up The Protein…

“Eating protein at the first meal of the day helps you feel fuller for longer because ,after a protein-filled meal, levels of a chemical called tyrosine – a building block for dopamine, the chemical that drives our reward circuits – rise inside the brain. By increasing its own dopamine supply as the next meal approaches, the brain experiences a much weaker dopamine ‘hit’ from high-calorie food. To test whether protein at the first meal of the day could help people feel fuller for longer, a US-based study in 2014 divided volunteers into three groups. One group ate a breakfast containing 35g of protein; the second group ate breakfast containing 13g protein; the third group skipped breakfast altogether. Later that morning, volunteers were tested for levels of dopamine. They were also asked to rate the intensity of their pre-lunch food cravings. The results were clear: of all groups, the high-protein breakfast group recorded the highest dopamine levels and lowest pre-lunch cravings.” – Michael  

And The Veg

“Use breakfast as an opportunity to maximise your fruit and vegetable intake, ideally opting for a high-fibre, high-protein dish that includes a couple of servings of fruit and veg. Try avocado and boiled eggs on wholegrain toast; scrambled tofu made with chopped tomatoes and red peppers; a veggie full English with avocado, halloumi, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms; or a breakfast smoothie made with dairy or non-dairy milk, yoghurt, oats, frozen berries and cinnamon.” – Rob

Think About Fibre Too

“Breakfast is a good time to boost your intake of key nutrients that are often lacking in the diet. Fibre is a good example. Filling up on fibre at breakfast will help maintain fullness and help you avoid snacking mid-morning. Research published by Public Health England shows fibre intake in the UK is low, with only 9% of adults achieving the recommended 30g per day. Fill your plate with oats, wholegrain bread, nuts and seeds, all of which are rich in fibre.” – Rob

Include Functional Foods

“I love the idea of supercharging breakfast with functional foods, i.e. foods that offer health benefits which extend beyond their nutritional value. Take, for example, Yeo Valley’s Natural Yoghurt, which is a natural probiotic and great for a healthy gut; or plant sterol spreads which can help lower cholesterol, such as Flora Pro Active Light; or soya milk fortified with vitamin D, which is important for the winter months when many of us are lacking in this vital vitamin. Alpro No Sugars Soya Milk is a good one to try.” – Rob


For more information, visit RobHobson.co.uk and TheFast800.com


DISCLAIMER: Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.


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