We've all heard 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day'. But it's true. It sets you and your body up for the day and can really affect your mood and productivity. If your go-to brekkie is pastries or you've skipped it altogether, chances are you're famished and grazing on some potentially not-so-healthy snacks to fill the void. Plus, you're verging on cranky because all you want is food. Instead, get your day off to a better start with some healthy breakfast habits.
Healthy Breakfast Habits
Breakfast is vital for mental and physical health not just in times of stress - always. So it's worth making the effort to work a decent brekkie in to your day. Here are some healthy breakfast habits to work on, plus some yummy options to kickstart your day!
Taking some calming breaths before eating helps to digest a meal.
Avoid refined sugars and cut back on caffeine
Refined sugar and caffeine may make you feel better temporarily. But your body soon crashes from the high, leaving you exhausted or irritable. When serotonin (the happy hormone) levels are low in the brain, cravings for carbohydrates such as cakes, sweets, chocolate and alcohol can result, as the body uses insulin to trigger serotonin release.
Don’t skip it
When it comes to healthy breakfast habits, this is key! You should never skip brekkie. Most people simply make up for a skipped meal by eating more at later meals which isn't doing you any good. It's so important to make time to eat a wholesome and filling breakfast. It means you're more likely to get your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
If you skip brekkie, you're less likely to make up the lost nutrients at other meals throughout the day. Plus you have a greater tendency to fill up on nutrient-poor sweet/savoury snacks, leaving fruit and vegetables out of the picture. Skipping meals rarely helps with weight loss.
The breakfast of champions
The ideal breakfast should have lots of fibre and wholegrains, some protein and healthy fat, and as little added sugar as possible. In other words, a good balance of healthy carbohydrates, protein and essential fats. Keep your breakfast choices simple so you don’t need to worry or stress about it.
Quick brekkie suggestions
A nutritious breakfast is important for everyone, no matter their age, but it is especially critical for children and teenagers to remain focused and fuelled. If you're looking for some quick suggestions, why not sip on a homemade green smoothie throughout the morning. Or have your oat porridge with nuts, seeds, natural yoghurt and fresh fruit or a boiled egg first, then eat your fruit an hour or so later.
Eggs contain important brain fats called phospholipids. Phospholipids enhance your mood, mind and mental performance. Eggs can help to build muscles and are rich in protein and vitamins A, D and E. Yolks are rich in vitamin D so eat the whole egg to get the entire nutritional package.
Oats are economical, versatile and nutritious. You can't beat hot porridge with natural yoghurt and fresh berries. Or soak oats overnight in apple juice and natural yoghurt to create a bircher muesli topped with flaxseed and banana. Another option is to bake oats in the oven the day before with nuts, seeds and maple syrup to make a scrumptious granola with chia seeds.
Oats stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent you from crashing, as they're full of slow-releasing carbohydrates that give you plenty of energy until lunchtime. They contain a lot of soluble fibre that is rich in beta-glucans too. This particular type of fibre has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels and help prevent high blood pressure.
Give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning
If you are serious about adopting some healthy breakfast habits, do yourself a favour; get up fifteen minutes earlier tomorrow. You'll get to enjoy the whole early morning experience and feel the better for it. Breakfast is the best meal of the day and the most important. In no time it will become a stress-free daily ritual and the benefits are tenfold.
Checked and updated: 9 September 2021