Improved concentrationJump start your brain in the morning with energy boosting foods which aid in concentration and productivity throughout the day. A cup of coffee or tea in the morning is only going to serve you for a short period of time before you're dreaming of shutting your eyes. Eggs for breakfast may take a little longer to cook than a piece of toast or choosing some fruit, but protein and omega-3 rich food has been found to be beneficial for memory, mood and concentration levels. Combine this with a leafy green such as spinach and you will find yourself with a prolonged feeling of concentration, motivation, and procrastinating less, due to the energy-inducing properties of the food.
Increased energyThis is something I think the majority of people reading this will desire throughout the day. Breakfast is the perfect chance to fuel your body with the food it needs to replenish your blood glucose levels, which is your main source of energy. Up to twelve hours may have passed since you last had something to eat, so your body will be craving the glucose already used up by your body. For an energy packed breakfast, try eating oatmeal in the morning. It's considered a whole grain which contains plenty of complex carbohydrates, which will keep you energised for longer than a breakfast high in sugar will do. Oatmeal is also high in fibre, which will keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing cravings for snacks. Prepare the oats with a milk of your choice and top with fresh fruits for a burst of healthy nutrients and more energy.
Essential vitamins and mineralsEating in the morning is your first opportunity in the day to get your dose of vitamins and minerals. They are needed to strengthen your body, boost your metabolism and help maintain a healthy immune system. You are more likely to meet your daily nutritional requirements if you start the day with a healthy, balanced diet. Try a breakfast with three combinations of foods in them including a whole grain carbohydrate, a high calcium food and a serving of fruit. For example, good combinations could be non-fat yoghurt with blueberries and a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter or scrambled egg on whole-wheat bread with fresh fruit on the side.
Maintain a healthy weightSkipping breakfast should not be used as a tool to kick-start your weight loss journey. By avoiding breakfast in the morning, you start to reach for the snacks throughout the day, eating more at your next meal or finding you have an increased craving for something sweet and satisfying. Starting your day with a fibre-rich breakfast will keep you feeling fuller for longer, it will get your metabolism going and distract you from consuming extra calories throughout the day. Aim for at least 5 grammes of fibre in your breakfast to get you on your way to eating the recommended 15-25 grammes per 1,000 calories a day. You can get this dose in a few easy bites from foods such as a large apple, 1/2 cup of blackberries, high fibre cereals, or 2 slices of dark whole-grain rye bread.
Choosing the right foodsAlong with the ideas, we have given above, there are many other options to fulfil your breakfast needs, whatever kind of morning person you are. Stick to whole grain bread, low/non-fat dairy, smoothies made with low-fat yoghurt and fruit, oats, protein such as eggs and salmon and healthy fats like avocado. Avoid fatty and sugar filled foods such as fried breakfasts, sugary cereals, and fruit juices with high sugar content, cakes and sweet pastries. For on-the-go types, to ensure you are always eating something beneficial, see below for an easy at home recipe for breakfast bars which can be prepared in advance and will last all week. Unlike the sweetened bars you find in the shops, you know exactly what is going into your breakfast.
- 150g jumbo oats
- 2 medium, very ripe bananas
- 60g melted butter of choice
- 60g chopped cherries (dried if you prefer)
- 60g chopped cranberries (dried if you prefer)
- 40g sunflower seeds
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Mix the oats, cranberries, cherries and seeds together in a bowl.
- Pour in the melted butter and mix well.
- On a separate plate, mash the ripe bananas and add to oat mixture.
- Spread the mixture into a 30x20xm tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Press the mixture well to help bind the process.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool and cut into 6 bars.