The ideal breakfast is one that leaves you feeling energetic, light and full of energy. Banana bread may be an easy breakfast but it’s full of sugar, has very little nutrients and you’ll be starving by morning tea!
Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will ensure that you make it to lunch with high energy levels and a smile on your face. I think of breakfast as my power meal – it kick starts my metabolism, gets my brain firing on all cylinders and gives me energy for the entire morning. Like you, I am a very busy woman and I need to know how to get the most out of my day. Running out of steam at 10am is not an option for me!
So what makes the perfect breakfast? The answer is a correct combination of protein, low GI carbs, omega 3 essential fatty acids and fibre.
Protein is essential as it provides all the building blocks, amino acids, for your entire body. The Australia Nutrition Society recommended 1gm of protein per 1kg of body weight per day (approximately 60-75 g/day). Protein should make up about a third of your daily breakfast but opt for “complete proteins”. A “complete protein” is a food that contains all eight essential amino acids.
These amino acids are called ‘essential’ because you can’t manufacture them in the body, so it is essential that you get them through your diet. Some complete proteins include eggs, milk, fish, cheese, poultry and meat. Protein also helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels so you don’t have that mid morning crash and hit the coffee and banana bread.
Low GI carbohydrates release energy into your body much more slowly than high GI carbs and this keeps your energy levels even and consistent. Studies show children fed a high GI breakfast suffer from decreased energy levels and are more likely to put on weight1. Low GI carbs include wholegrains (such as oats or multigrain bread), eggs and milk so make sure that you include one of these in your breakfast.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are vital for many functions within your body such as brain health. Don’t let the name scare or confuse you. They’re essential for your memory, learning and reasoning, plus they provide optimal hormone balance and work to prevent cardiovascular disease2. Omega 3s are extremely anti-inflammatory and therefore decrease your risk factor of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Fibre ensures that you feel full and your bowels are regular. Recent research has shown that eating fibre regularly will help you to lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol3. Water soluble fibre such as oats, flaxseeds and barley are the most beneficial for weight loss as they keep you feeling full.
The answer is to get organised! Plan your breakfast ahead of time and ensure you have healthy ingredients on hand. You’ll feel much better for it! It’ll put a spring in your step and you’ll have a much calmer, happier day. It’s your body’s way of thanking you for that extra bit of time and effort you put into providing it with a nourishing breakfast.
7 TOP BREAKFASTS
1) Two Egg Omelette with Mushrooms and Spinach – a protein rich start to the day
2) Wholemeal Spelt Flour Pancakes with Fresh Fruit & Natural Yoghurt – a perfectly healthy Sunday morning breakfast with the family
3) Cinnamon Stewed Fruit with Amaranth Porridge – a fibre filled breakfast, cinnamon is clinically proven to stabilise blood sugar levels and has strong hypoglycaemic properties4. The perfect answer to sugar cravings!
4) Hot Quinoa Flake Cereal with Apple, Cinnamon & Flaxseeds – quinoa is a seed that is incredibly high in protein. Quinoa can be found in the health food aisle of most large supermarkets, or good health food stores.
5) Scrambled Tofu with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs – a healthy option for vegetarians as tofu is high in protein
6) Fetta Scrambled Eggs – a low GI breaky that is full of protein to keep you fuelled and energetic all day long
7) Sourdough toast with Avocado, Tomato & Basil – a perfect combination of low GI and omega 3s
An average slice of banana bread contains half your daily calories. Despite banana bread being incredibly convenient it is also laden in sugar and lacks protein as well as omega 3s. A sure fire way to expand your waistline and experience an energy crash an hour or two afterwards!
Processed, ready to eat cereals
Processed foods contain less vitamins and minerals than fresh wholefoods so avoid the breaky out of a box. These cereals are often extremely high in sugar for example Kellogg’s Coco Pops contains 28.5 grams of sugar per 100grams. To put that in perspective, a healthy level is 5-10 grams of sugar. Often toasted muesli is high in fat so always go for an untoasted version and add natural yoghurt, fruit and flaxseeds to make a more balanced breakfast
Coffee stimulates your stress response. Starting the day with a caffeine injection will have you feeling edgy, irritated and ready to snap. A 2009 research paper demonstrated a link between caffeine intake and depression5. Stay happy and healthy by eating a balanced breakfast instead.