Starting your day right with a nutritious breakfast is one of the best ways to set yourself up for good health.
Why is breakfast so important?
While all meals are important, breakfast literally means ‘breaking the fast’. It’s your chance to refuel your body for the day ahead.
Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast:
can help you manage your weight
can help you meet your daily nutrition needs
can help with concentration, particularly in children
can boost your metabolism!
1. Breakfast and weight loss
Some people skip breakfast to cut their food intake and try to lose weight, but research shows the opposite is actually true. Eating a high fibre, low GI breakfast helps keep you fuller for longer and is strongly linked to successful, sustainable weight loss.
Why? A high fibre breakfast is quite filling which means you're less likely to snack on high-fat and sugary foods mid-morning. In fact, studies show people who skip breakfast, especially children and mothers, are more likely to have a higher body weight.
2. Breakfast, nutrition and health
Breakfast is actually your best chance to get a head start on packing in the nutrients your body needs to function well.
As well as helping you to meet your daily nutrition needs, a regular breakfast habit may help you reduce your cholesterol levels and maintain healthy bowels.
Make the most of breakfast by choosing nutrient dense foods like:
Should I choose breakfast cereal?
Breakfast cereal and milk is a great choice. Research shows that Australians who eat breakfast cereal have more nutritious diets than people who eat other breakfasts.
The research compared people who ate breakfast cereals with people who ate other breakfasts. It found that the breakfast cereal eaters had the same daily energy intake (kilojoules) but significantly higher intakes of iron, calcium, fibre, folate and magnesium. They also had lower intakes of sodium and were more likely to meet nutrient needs.
Breakfast cereal also makes sense if you’re watching your weight. Adults who ate breakfast cereals had slimmer waists and were more likely to be a healthy weight than people who ate other breakfasts.
Together breakfast cereal and milk, as part of a balanced diet, with regular exercise, represent an important source of vitamins including B1, B2 and B3 for energy and vitality, protein for muscles, iron to help fight tiredness and calcium for strong bones,
3. Breakfast & concentration
Studies have shown eating breakfast can help improve concentration, behaviour and learning in school children and young people. In fact, a review of 50 years of research on breakfast and cognition in children found that eating breakfast was better for cognitive function than missing breakfast.
Did you know?
Breakfast skipping tends to increase as children get older. Eating breakfast as a family while your children are young is more likely to help them to maintain good breakfast eating habits as they become young adults!
Don’t skip, make it quick
“I don’t have enough time for breakfast” is one of the most common reasons people give for skipping breakfast. The solution? Make it quick!
Team a wholegrain cereal like Weet-Bix™ with fresh fruit, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and So Good™ with calcium, or dairy, for healthy bones*.
Sanitarium™ Peanut butter, with protein, to help maintain muscles*, and sliced banana on wholegrain toast or a grainy crisp bread.
Sprinkle natural muesli, berries, nuts and seeds on some low-fat natural yoghurt.
A chilled liquid breakfast like UP&GO™ with protein to support muscles*.
A piece of fruit, a handful of unsalted nuts and a glass of milk or So Good™
Have a bit more time?
Try these healthy starts:
fruit smoothie with frozen fruits (such as banana or berries), nuts (like almonds, cashews or hazelnut), and some dairy or dairy free milks(soy, almond or coconut milk)
grainy sourdough toast topped with hummus and baked beans
poached or boiled eggs with baked sweet potato, mushrooms, tomato, baby spinach leaves and avocado
traditional rolled oats made into a porridge, topped with sliced banana, ground linseeds and a little honey.
Not hungry in the mornings?
These tips might help:
Make sure your dinners aren’t too big or too late. Try eating 2-3 hours before sleeping and watch your portions - you’ll be surprised how hungry you’ll be by breakfast time.
Don’t snack on high fat and sugar foods after dinner or when you’re in front of the TV or computer late at night. Instead try some herbal teas, fruit, or popcorn instead – these will be lighter and easier for your stomach to digest, especially when it’s just before bedtime.
Pack up your breakfast, especially if you don’t have the time or desire to have it at home. Try going to work just a little earlier and have it at your work kitchen or at your desk just before starting your work routine.
If you’re not a breakfast fan, don’t feel that it needs to be big. Keep it to a 1/4-1/3 cup of muesli or 2 wholegrain cereal biscuits topped with milk, berries and ground linseeds. Or a slice of grainy sourdough toast with avocado or peanut butter and a glass of dairy or fortified dairy alternative will do just fine.
* as part of a balanced diet with regular exercise