We have all heard it – “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It is not an old wives’ tale. It is true. But what we actually have for breakfast is even more important. Eating the right breakfast every day is so significant because it will help our metabolism, our immune systems, protect against serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes, improve mood, boost energy levels and help with weight loss.
What is the right breakfast?
Good quality protein is the key to a healthy breakfast as it stabilises our blood sugars. Here is what happens in the body when you start the day with a bowl of cereal, coffee or a slice of buttered toast…The adrenal glands are tiny glands that sit on the tops of your kidneys and help our bodies to deal with stress. Stress could be in the form of emotional stress, physical stress, exercise or eating the wrong food – like your cereal, coffee or toast. This is the breakfast deadly trio.
If your body is in stress, then the adrenal glands tell your system to dump sugar and fat into the blood. This gives you a blood sugar spike to provide your body with the energy it needs to deal with the stress. But, you don’t actually need that energy unless you are on your way to the gym or need to perform a physically demanding task. So insulin takes this fat and sugar from the blood stream into storage – usually around the middle. This gives you a blood sugar dip, which will cause you to crave another coffee or a sugary snack to raise your blood sugar levels.
It is soaring spikes in your blood sugars followed by plunging lows that cause poor energy levels, weight gain, cravings, poor sleep patterns and can eventually lead to more serious health conditions. So, starting the day with a sugar spike just sets you up for a rollercoaster of blood sugars.
It is protein that helps us to balance blood sugars: that is why it is so important to start the day with a good quality protein breakfast.
Let’s look at some easy to make but healthy breakfast options together.
5 healthy and good quality protein breakfast options
- Scrambled Eggs
Melt a small knob of butter (not margarine) in a pan then add two eggs per person (no milk) and keep stirring over a very low heat. They are much more scrummy if you take them off the heat before they become too dry. Toast one slice of granary, wholemeal toast. If you fancy a change, add some smoked salmon. For an even healthier option, you can poach your eggs and add raw olive oil after they re cooked.
- Yoghurt, Fruit and Nuts
Mix plain or Greek full fat yoghurt with ground nuts (cashews/ almonds/ brazil/ hazelnuts/ walnuts), flaked almonds or flaxseed or chia seed. Add a handful of fruit and berries. You could always sprinkle some cinnamon on top too as it helps regulate blood sugar level.
- Tomato and avocado This is quite Mediterranean, but really tasty and filling breakfast. Just toast a piece of granary, wholemeal bread and slice some avocado and tomato on top. Grind abit of pepper and sprinkle a little olive oil to taste.
- Mackerel on toast
Mackerel is rich in omega-3 oils, is a good quality protein, a filling and tasty breakfast. All the supermarkets stock pre-cooked mackerel so it is a quick and easy breakfast. Just toast a piece of granary, wholemeal toast and enjoy!
- Protein Shake
If you struggle with breakfasts because you can’t face them or you are always in a rush, then consider a protein shake blended with some frozen fruit and non-dairy milk.
Whichever option you prefer, make sure that you start the day with a protein rich breakfast as well begun is half done!