Our Food Crew food-genius Heather Leeson was on Virgin Media One talking breakfast, the benefits and the pit-falls. Check it out here if you have headphones or are not annoying the person next to you on the train.
Why eat breakfast?
Should you be eating breakfast before you start your day at work? It makes sense that ‘breaking the fast’ or fuelling our bodies correctly ahead of a busy working day is important. There has been lots of research about the benefits of breakfast on health outcomes such as weight management and diabetes but what about right here, right now? How is eating breakfast going to affect me and my day at work?
More energy, more concentration
Research shows that eating breakfast can boost our focus, concentration and productivity. We want to include slow-burning sustaining food that will help us blaze through the morning. The human body clock is set to be the most productive in the morning. If you leave yourself a to-do list of important tasks to get done first thing, you will need to come in all-systems-go and then watch those to-do’s get ticked. Here’s where a quick sugary fix is not going to cut it – assuming that most people grew out of chocolate flavoured cereal in their teens, we are taking about grabbing a slice of white toast or a sugar-laden breakfast bar or granola. This is short-lived energy and you’ll be only barely touching that to-do list before you feel yourself yearning for another boost with a cuppa and a biccie. If you take in something more sustaining, you’ll be burning through those tasks and not even notice the time coming round to lunch.
What to avoid
- Avoid juices and fruit smoothies. These are high in ‘free’ sugars, and while we like free stuff, this is not a good thing – for example a 250ml smoothie can contain a whopping 7+ tsp of sugar. Munching on a piece of fruit is always the better option
- Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing – marketing geniuses know that we want to look for wholegrain or ‘natural’, but some options can still be high in sugar, with many exceeding total added sugar guidelines for the day – just in one little bar! Cereals and yoghurts are especially guilty of this, and those marketed to children are often the worst. 4g of sugar is a teaspoon – you should try and get less than 2 tsp of sugar in breakfast
- If you add sugar to your cereal, try swapping it for fruit or adding ½ tsp cinnamon. Slowly weaning down from the sugary taste helps you adjust. I’m sure you barely miss the chocolate flavoured cereal now that you are a grown up?
- And lastly, avoid the bakery! You know the one, on the corner that smells soooo good. If you’re trying to cut down, simply choosing a different route and avoiding your biggest temptations is a good way to make it a little easier.
Great breakfast options
Slow morning or weekend treat – Dark rye toast with smushed avocado, pepper, salt, chilli flakes and a soft poached egg (mmmm.. is it Saturday yet?)
Midweek with a bit of time on your hands – 1 slice wholegrain bread, 2 scrambled eggs, spinach or other vegetables
5 minute prep – Porridge with natural yoghurt, chopped fruit, 1 tbsp mixed ground seeds
2 minute prep – Natural full fat / Greek yoghurt with fresh berries, 1 tbsp. granola and 1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
1 minute prep – slice brown bread, nut butter and sliced banana
Overnight prep – Mix 1-2 tbsp. chia seeds (or oats) in 1/2 cup almond milk with a drop of good vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp maple syrup. Top with blueberries and flaked almonds and place in a jar ready to be grabbed in the morning as you race out the door.
Enjoy! If you have any breakfast ideas, be sure to comment below. And if you would like one of our Food Crew in the flesh to do a morning breakfast demo at your workplace, that’s an option too!