Time to give yourself a Big #BreakfastWeek Boost

This week is National Breakfast Week! HOORAY!!

Without question, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. As an avid Pooh Bear fan, this quote pretty much sums it up for me:

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

by A.A. Milne

I also think breakfast is the most important meal of the day so what a great opportunity to give it a real plug.  You may not be a fan of breakfast but I will do my best to sell it to you here. If you are already an avid breakfast eater, brilliant stuff but perhaps you could do with a few more ideas…………..

Please read the 5 statements below.

If you think any of them apply to you, read on 🙂

  1. I really can’t face breakfast in the morning, I feel sick!
  2. I’m on a diet so it’s an easy way to cut out some Calories.
  3. I just don’t have time in the morning; what with getting the kids to nursery and school and getting stuck in traffic, it would make me late for work!
  4. Breakfast is boring. Who wants to eat brown, mushy cereal every day?
  5. I have a big bowl of granola every day. It’s full of fruit and nuts so must be healthy right?

So let’s sort out the eggs from the bacon and set things straight!

File:Spejlæg og bacon (4649356145).jpg

1. If you feel nauseous and can’t face anything to eat, it might actually be because you need to eat! When we wake up in the morning, our blood sugars are often at their lowest as we will not have eaten for somewhere between 8 and 12 hrs. Some of us are more sensitive to changing blood sugars than others and we can often feel sick when they are on the low end.  The idea is to break the fast and get those sugars (and your energy levels) back up again so you feel more human.

As long as you have something (within reason!) within 2hrs of waking, you can still gain the benefits breakfast provides.

2. Skipping breakfast will most likely have the opposite effect you want when it comes to losing weight. Following on from the last point, after an overnight fast (providing you have not raided the leftovers in the fridge at 3am), your metabolic rate will also be at its lowest first thing in the morning. By continuing that fast until mid-morning or even lunchtime, you are missing a trick to boost it up again! It’s not all about Calories though – this meal can also provide us with the important vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. Missing out on these at the start of the day means we may never actually reach our quota by the time we go to bed at night.

Try something reasonably light for starters – rather than have a commercial ‘breakfast’ bar, which tend to be overly sweet, try making some yourself – these breakfast biscuits are from the Shake Up Your Wake Up Site who are leading on National Breakfast Week and look delicious!  Simply click the image to get the recipe!

25% of us skip breakfast at least once during the week, with 13% never eating it. Women are the worst culprits too, often too busy getting ready and wanting to lose weight being the most common reasons. People who eat breakfast are actually more likely to be slimmer because (a) eating breakfast helps to increase our metabolic rate (hence the rate at which we burn Calories during the day) (b) we are less likely to crave or choose higher calorie snacks if we have breakfast. This is partly because when we are really hungry, we lose control and all common sense when it does eventually come to having something to eat.

3. Breakfast should provide us with around 1/5 of our daily energy requirement  – that’s about 400-500 Calories for an adult and it need not take long at all to prepare or eat! If you are always in a rush in the morning, then all you need do is plan the night before what you can grab and run with in the morning.  The great thing about breakfast is that it is just the sort of meal you can eat on the move. Grab a banana, make a simple smoothie whilst your kids are running around getting ready (takes 3 mins max then stick it in a travel cup for the car), or make a sandwich the night before (banana on wholemeal, ham or whatever you fancy). This beetroot, apple and banana smoothie (pictured above) gets great reviews!

The alternative is keep a box of cereal and some milk at work and make time to have it when you get there.

4. Breakfast never has to be boring! I think many would agree we tend to have the same thing most days. Particularly when we are running round like headless chickens 5+ days a week, routine really helps. But getting stuck in a rut means we lose interest and breakfast loses its appeal. Variety is key; you can alternate different cereals throughout the week, play around with toppings  (of nuts, dried or fresh fruit) on cereal, toast, bagels or crumpets. Try different breads – loads of supermarkets offer a great range these days. What about scrambled eggs, poached or boiled with soldiers for a quick option if you just don’t do cereal or don’t like milk? If you like fruit, why not chop or sprinkle some onto pancakes, along with a dollop of yoghurt? Contrary to popular belief, pancakes aren’t that bad either! Generally, it’s what you put on them that adds the most Calories. Save the butter, maple syrup and chocolate spread to the weekend, when you can sit down and really savour them!

5. I don’t have problem with granola per se (other than once I’ve started on it, I find it hard to stop!) it’s just that most varieties are loaded with sugar (being worse than some of the cereals aimed at children) with a hefty coating of oil. Fine as a treat but I wouldn’t recommend a big bowl of granola on a daily basis. Homemade ones can be a lot better, but still watch how much honey or maple syrup you might be adding. Wholegrain cereals or porridge without added sugar are far healthier as they are significantly lower in Calories but also much richer in fibre. Wholegrain cereals and breads will provide a much slower release of energy which means you will want to snack less often as well as helping stabilise your blood sugars. Studies have shown that this can keep you in a better mood and help you concentrate more. Wholegrains are also rich in B vitamins which are great for your metabolism, helping you feel more energised and ready to go. Recent studies have actually shown that regularly eating wholegrains will help lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

So I hope I have given you some food for thought. For more inspiration, check out the shake up your wake up recipe page, there are loads of ideas for you to try: http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/breakfast-recipes

Wholegrain goodness also has a breakfast page so take a look at what they say is the best was to start the day: http://allaboutoats.hgca.com/news/healthy-eating/enjoy-a-healthy-start-to-the-day.aspx

BBC Good Food also have some nice healthy breakfast ideas too: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-breakfast

If you are choosing things from the supermarket, don’t forget to check the traffic light labels. Go for green when it comes to sugar, salt and fat if you want a healthy option.

So give it a go, what is there to lose (on top of a few pounds perhaps?!) when there is so much to gain.

Coming later this week is a blog eggstravaganza on eggs, how to make the Full English a better option and more on porridge………………………….