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Do your energy levels plummet mid-morning? Are you hungry again soon after breakfast? Picking the right foods at breakfast time could banish those problems for good and set you up for an energetic day.
Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper, as the adage goes. Medieval titles aside, it’s certainly true that breakfast is regarded as the most important meal of the day.
The morning meal provides the energy necessary to replenish the body after sleep – you’re literally breaking your fast. Breakfast can stop you snacking before lunch, and increase your morning productivity. Some studies have even shown that skipping breakfast is associated with higher levels of obesity.
Breakfast and your metabolism
Your metabolic rate varies depending on a variety of factors, including age, gender, and weight. This means that, depending on whether you have a fast or slow metabolism, your body will need more or less energy to function.
Regardless of your metabolic rate, though, eating regular and nutritious meals is essential to maintain a state of constant thermogenesis – in other words, the process of digesting food and burning the calories it contains to provide the body with energy.
After a night of sleep without food, eating breakfast kick-starts this process, which can be beneficial to weight loss. According to the US National Weight Control Registry, 90 per cent of people who have lost more than 30 pounds, and kept it off for a year, reported eating breakfast regularly .
However, not all breakfasts are equal. To maximise the benefits of the meal, it’s imperative to make a healthy choice that will set you up well for the day.
Time to fill up your bowl?
Cereal is a popular breakfast choice for many because it’s quick to prepare, tasty, and often seen as a healthy option, particularly when it is advertised as being low-fat or fortified with vitamins.
However, as a processed food, cereals often contain high amounts of added sugar, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease . Eating a product high in sugar first thing can also cause your blood sugar to spike, meaning it may later crash and cause you to crave more sugary foods.
Not all cereals make for a poor breakfast – those that contain three grams of fibre or more, for instance, can help promote healthy digestion. It’s imperative to read the ingredients list carefully, though, and watch your portion size.
Healthy breakfast options
There are plenty of better alternatives to cereal that offer that early morning nutrition needed to kick-start your metabolism. These include:
- Oatmeal, a type of porridge made from oats, loaded with potassium, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as being rich in fibre. Mix your oatmeal with dried or fresh fruit to get a head start on your five-a-day.
- Greek yoghurt is a creamy breakfast that contains almost twice as much protein as normal yogurt, which will help keep you full until lunchtime. A no-fuss option, it can be sweetened with honey and combined with fruits and nuts.
- Granola, like oatmeal, features an oat base, but here it is mixed with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and baked. Granola contains high levels of protein, and common granola nuts like almonds and walnuts are sources of omega-3 fatty acids just watch out for added sugar
- Eggs, although previously criticized for their high cholesterol content, eggs are now considered to be a healthy breakfast option because of their high protein and vitamin D content. Although versatile in how they can be prepared, boiled or poached eggs are the healthiest options.1
There are plenty more foodstuffs that will help you start your day right, including grapefruit, melon, and wholewheat toast. The common theme that runs through these breakfast options is that the energy they provide tends to come from protein rather than sugar, keeping you feeling full for longer. When you opt for these foods, you’re making the most of the morning meal – and doing your metabolism a favour.
Building breakfast into your daily routine is a great for your health, productivity, and might even help you with your weight loss goals – what’s not to like? A dietary consultation can help you make healthy changes to your diet with the advice of a consultant dietician.
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