Breakfast literally means “to break the fast” – in a way you have been fasting, as your body hasn’t had any food for half a day. Glucose stores are depleted as you sleep and breakfast is the perfect time to top up with some healthy fuel for the day. It is an extremely important meal for people of all ages.
Why is breakfast so important?
• It has a positive impact on attention, mental performance and memory.
• If you start the day hungry, your body stays in this fasting state, which makes concentrating more difficult. There is a strong connection between eating breakfast and the improved learning, memory and academic performance of school children, and many scientific studies have shown that eating breakfast is equally important in the adult and older age groups.
• Breakfast helps boost your intake of essential nutrients.
Foods consumed at breakfast are typically breads, cereals and milk, which contribute carbohydrates, calcium and fibre to the diet. Breakfast skippers don’t make up these nutrients later. In addition cereals are often fortified with vitamins and minerals which are often deficient in the diets of the elderly. Studies have shown that older Australians who consume breakfast have a much higher intake of nutrients than non-breakfast eaters and are much more likely to meet 70% Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for micronutrients. Figures from the National Nutrition Survey reveal that older women who regularly include breakfast cereal in their diet are much more likely to reach the RDI’s for iron, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, folate and thiamin. 
• It increases satiety (the feeling of fullness).
• Reduces the likelihood to snack throughout the day.
• Helps maintain a healthy weight.
High fibre choices will help to keep you feeling full for longer and reduces your need to snack throughout the day – an effective way of maintaining a healthy weight. Skipping breakfast often leads to poor nutritional choices later in the day. Muffins, croissants and other high fat, high sugar choices can seem like a good idea mid morning when your blood sugar levels have dropped and your body is searching for a quick sugar fix. People who eat breakfast are more likely to a lower BMI, and children who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight. Skipping breakfast is not an effective way to lose weight -scientific studies show that people who skip breakfast are likely to be heavier than those who find the time to have some food in the morning.
• Breakfast cereals and breads are nutrient dense, inexpensive and are easily stored and prepared.
• Some people don’t think they have time for breakfast but people who skip breakfast are unlikely to meet the requirement for some vitamins and minerals that a simple breakfast would have provided. If you are running short of time a yoghurt and piece of fruit require little preparation time, and there are now also a number of healthy on-the-go choices of breakfast drinks and bars. Even better, if possible, have breakfast at work or school.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
• Choose a wholegrain or high fibre cereal, untoasted muesli or porridge
• Add some low fat milk, hot or cold
• Top with fresh tinned or dried fruit and/or low fat yoghurt
Light and Easy:
• Low fat yoghurt topped with fruit or nuts
• Low fat custard with sliced banana and/or strawberries
• Fruit Smoothies: Blend low fat milk, low fat yoghurt and fruit
• Fresh fruit salad
• When choosing a yoghurt, look for brands which are low in fat and calories.
• Raisin toast with thin spread of margarine or light cream cheese
• Wholegrain/Wholemeal or Rye toast
• Add a topping: baked beans, ricotta cheese /cottage cheese, peanut butter, avocado, fresh tomato, smoked salmon and low fat cream cheese
• Scrambled or poached eggs with lean ham, spinach and grilled tomato