Start the day with a nutritious breakfast
20 February, 2015 | In: Nutrition
Whether your goal is weight loss, better health, more energy or sports performance, a healthy breakfast is key. Here's why - and how - to breakfast like a champion.
A great breakfast choice will not only give your body the fuel it needs for the day ahead, but will also kick-start your body, brain and hormones for a day of fat burning, concentration, productivity and high energy levels.
The wrong choice of breakfast will give you a fast burst of energy, followed by a slump. If you've ever experienced those 11am cravings for a sugary coffee, a pastry or biscuits, you'll know exactly how that feels. But with the correct choice of breakfast, you'll set yourself up for a day of great healthy eating.
Traditional breakfasts of boxed cereal, granola, toast or pastries sound great, but our bodies disagree. These foods usually offer little more than a very high caloric load, lots of sugar, and plenty of carbohydrates (often far more than we will need). Pair them - as many do - with milk, yoghurt, banana, honey or fruit and all you're eating is sugar. No wonder your body then craves more sugar all day long!
Instead, turn to the foods which were around long before boxed cereal was on the shelves. The best breakfasts combine all the macronutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates) with much more protein and fat than most people are used to eating at breakfast. Why? Because protein and fats are essential for our brains, for concentration and productivity, and for balancing our hunger hormones. If you worry that fat contains too many calories, consider that calories are simply energy, and you could quite easily eat just as much "energy" in the form of sugar and carbohydrates without blinking an eye.
Try these nutritious balanced breakfasts:
- Omelette - 2-3 eggs along with some green vegetables or leaves (such as courgette or spinach) or leaves (spinach is great) and and add some colour with vegetables such as red onions or, bell peppers. Sprinkle a little flavoursome cheese like parmesan or sharp Cheddar, just enough to add delicious flavour. Season with red chilli for an extra thermogenic boost.
- Protein porridge - Add protein powder to your porridge and turn this hearty breakfast into a more balanced meal which won't kick off sugar cravings. Cook your porridge in water and then stir in one scoop of protein powder once it's off the heat. Choose any flavour - they all work! Top with raw nuts, or even a tsp of almond butter. This will kick off your day with fats, protein and slow-release carbs with lots of fibre.
- Greek yoghurt with toppings - Real Greek yoghurt is a good source of protein. Top it with raw nuts, seeds, berries, chopped fruit and a sprinkle of flax or linseed. No sweetener needed!
- Overnight oats - Try this tasty take on porridge. Before bed, combine real porridge oats with some Greek yoghurt, berries or fruit (grating an apple works well for this), raw nuts or seeds, and a scoop of protein powder. Add enough water to stir everything together. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. You can make this in a tub and take it to work with you too.
- Guilt-free fry up - There's actually nothing wrong with the fundamental elements of a good old English breakfast. Just avoid the hash browns, fried bread, and fattier cuts of meat. A great weekend breakfast would be lean sausages and a rasher of good quality bacon, grilled tomato and mushrooms and poached eggs, with baked beans for carbohydrates. If you want to be even healthier, try chicken sausages and turkey bacon!
Choose foods that nourish your brain and aid concentration, that fill you up and balance your hunger hormones, and you'll set yourself up for a highly productive day at work or the gym!