Start By Choosing Your Carbs Wisely
“You’ve heard countless times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s because your body fasts overnight,” explains Myles Hopper, nutritional coach and co-founder of Mindful Chef. “By eating breakfast, you replenish the supply of glucose that’s been depleted overnight, which is vital to help boost energy levels and keep metabolism fired throughout the day.” While carbs are an important part of breakfast – they will top up energy that’s been lost overnight – not all were created equal. “A bowl of cereal may be a speedy breakfast option, but most cereals are packed with sugar and don’t provide enough nutrients,” adds Myles. “If anything, a bowl of cereal just won’t fill you up and can lead to sugar cravings.” If you can’t start the day without cereal, choose one that’s lower in sugar; and if you love toast, swap white for wholegrain bread, and top with nut butter and sliced banana or mashed avocado.
Load Up On Protein
“Breakfast is the meal of the day where people fail to consume adequate amounts of protein, so making a change here is an opportunity for better health,” says nutritionist Marc Bubbs. Swapping carb-rich breakfast foods such as toast and cereal with protein-rich alternatives can have a significant impact: “Replacing your morning bowl of muesli or cereal for plain yoghurt and berries reduces carb and calorie intake by a whopping 60g and 240 calories, respectively. Ditch the mid-morning muffin or croissant and there’s another significant reduction of 40-50g and 160-200 calories.” As a rule, Marc says the leaner and fitter you are, the higher your carb intake can be at breakfast, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s better to fill up with protein. “Aim for at least 20g of protein at breakfast. Three eggs contain 18g of protein, while plain yoghurt, smoked salmon or a smoothie made with whey protein powder are also great options.”
Fill Your Plate With Fruit & Veg
Nutritionist Rob Hobson says breakfast is the perfect opportunity to pack in the fibre, something many of us are lacking in. “Filling up on fibre at breakfast will help keep you full and help you avoid snacking mid-morning. Research published by Public Health England shows that just 9% of us achieve the recommended 30g per day, and many breakfast foods are high in fibre, such as oats, wholegrain bread, nuts and seeds. A breakfast that is high in both fibre and protein, including plenty of fruit and veg, is the ideal combination,” he says. Think avocado and eggs on wholegrain toast, low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with berries, nuts and seeds, or a breakfast smoothie made with dairy milk, yoghurt, oats, frozen berries and cinnamon. If you’re a fan of a cooked breakfast, try a veggie version, suggests Rob. “Eggs with avocado, halloumi, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms will set you up nicely for the day.”