What do you need on your plate for breakfast in the morning?
Breakfast is the best way to kick start your day
It’s widely recommended your morning meal should provide around 20% of your daily energy. It should also contribute significantly to your daily nutrient intake, including carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. And children need to get up to a quarter of their daily calcium from their breakfast too. So breakfast has a pretty big job to do!
Breakfast helps you set up for the day ahead and if you skip it you’ll miss out on the goodness you need to get going. You might think you can get what you’ve missed later – but studies show that if you don’t get the right nutrients first thing, it’s quite hard to make up for them during the day.
What does a balanced breakfast look like?
A balanced breakfast will give you and your family the very best start to the day. You need a good mix of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. These are found in lots of foods, and you can choose pretty much what you like, as long as you pick from the different breakfast food groups: grains, fruit and dairy – and of course a glass of water.One serving, of the right size from each of these food groups will set everyone up for the day ahead. Take a look below, to find out why this is, and check out some examples of delicious balanced breakfasts.
1. Start with grain
Grains like oats, corn, wheat and barley are good for you. Especially if they are whole. For a glorious breakfast with grains try a bowl of breakfast cereal made with whole grain or a slice of wholemeal toast.
2. Fill up on fruit
Breakfast is a great time to kick start your ‘5 a day’. High in vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit’s a great addition to any breakfast. Try to eat fruits that are in season (it’s more sustainable, they have a better taste, and it gives your child the chance to learn more about the beauty of the different seasons). With so much to choose from, it isn’t hard to make a fabulous fruity feast. And for the little ones , why not cut up some of their fruity favourites and add them to their yogurt or cereal bowl? Yummy.
3. Delicious dairy
Rich in calcium for healthy teeth and bones, dairy foods are also a good source of protein and are great at breakfast time. Milk is good with cereal but why not dollop on a spoonful of yogurt? And cheese isn’t just for sandwiches, it makes a great breakfast – try it on toast!
Need a bigger breakfast? Add some extra protein
When we eat breakfast with protein, that protein intake will help to prevent the cravings of sweet foods such as confectionery, sweets or sugary drinks later in the day.
If you’re feeling very hungry in the morning or will need a lot of energy, you could add some more protein to your plate. Try a slice of ham, an egg or a small handful of almonds – your balanced breakfast will be complete and you’ll be ready to kick start your day!
“And water of course!”
With so much delicious food to think about, let’s not forget about drinking. It is generally recommended to drink around 2 litres of water every day. Research shows that almost 2/3 of children are not hydrated enough when they get to school. So let’s reverse the trend!
Also Skipping the breakfast won’t necessarily make you skinny!
If you prefer to sleep longer in the morning, cut the fruit in the evening and just add milk or yogurt , nuts or cereal in the morning. A breakfast smoothie made from fruits – also frozen – buttermilk, a bit of spinach leaves and flaxseed as a satisfying fat is made quick.
And if you just can not get anything down in the morning, take sandwich bread or a bowl of fruit salad to work with you. But you should not miss out on breakfast: during the night, the body’s glycogen stores have emptied and your brain needs new energy.
If you forego replenishment in the form of breakfast or morning snack, your ability to concentrate suffers. In addition, food cravings are inevitable and there is a temptation to grab calorie-rich snacks before lunch.