Big it up for Breakfast!

Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2013Feeling sluggish and can’t seem to get going in the mornings? The chances are that you’re amongst the 47% of Brits who regularly skip breakfast. But fear not, for this is Farmhouse Breakfast Week, seven days dedicated to championing the importance of eating a healthy breakfast on a regular basis.

For example, did you know that:

Breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer than breakfast skippers. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, skipping breakfast isn’t the way to do it. Choosing a healthy breakfast is less likely to have you reaching for the fattening cakes and chocolate bars mid-morning.

Eating breakfast can help concentration and mental performance at school and work. This is something that we also found when we did our own research into breakfast clubs in schools. Plus it stops that embarrassing stomach rumbling in the middle of an important meeting!

A healthy breakfast provides you with the nutrients and energy needed for an active lifestyle. If you’re not eating breakfast, no wonder you’re feeling like your ‘get up and go’ has got up and left you.

Research shows that breakfast eaters are less depressed and have lower levels of stress than people who don’t eat breakfast. We know that the dull, dark, dreary weather in winter can drag us down, but why not try starting the day with a bowl of porridge or cereal and some fruit juice and see if it makes a difference?

Top Tips for a Healthy Breakfast

Incorporate Wholegrains

Why wholegrain? Well as well as helping you feel fuller for longer, there are several health benefits to choosing foods such as wholemeal bread, oats and wholegrain cereals. Wholegrains are believed to assist in lowering the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Start Your 5-a-day

Healthier eating means making sure you get at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, so get started at breakfast time. You could have a glass of fruit juice, a banana or apple, prunes, or berries with cereal, porridge or yogurt, or make a fruit smoothie. Vegetables at breakfast could include baked beans, tomatoes or mushrooms.

Stay Hydrated

If we don’t remain hydrated throughout the day it can lead to us feeling grumpy and tired or give us headaches. We’ve lost quite a deal of fluid overnight so we need to replenish it when we awake. Water, fruit or herbal tea or fruit juice are ideal first thing in the morning and are actually even better than a cup of coffee or tea when it comes to hydration because they don’t contain caffeine.

Build Breakfast into your Routine

If you can’t face a big plate of bacon and eggs, a bowl of porridge or even a piece of toast first thing, then have a glass of fruit juice and a cuppa before you leave the house and take some breakfast with you to eat on the go or at work. A banana and a yogurt or some cereal or instant porridge are easily portable. Or you could buy a fruit smoothie or a bacon buttie on the way. As long as you eat breakfast within 2 hours of getting up, you will still feel the benefits.

Kids’ Breakfasts

It’s important that children get the nutrients they need from breakfast to set them up for the day. However there are a lot of breakfast items out there that are laden with sugar and salt, so it’s best to avoid these wherever possible. Choose instead cereals low in salt and sugar but fortified with essential nutrients such as vitamin B, Vitamin D and iron. Give them fruit juice for vitamin C and for calcium a yogurt or milk on cereal will fit the bill. Instead of putting the sugar bowl on the table, sweeten cereal and porridge with fresh or dried fruit. Eggs are also a great choice for breakfast since they are packed with protein, vitamins A, D, E and B group as when as phosphorus and zinc.

Getting the Right Nutrition

Understanding how to get the right nutrients into your breakfast and other meals is easy when you know how. At VWA we offer all levels of nutrition courses, starting with an in-house nutrition awareness course which is a basic course for hands-on caterers, or ideal as a refresher course.

For those who prefer to study at their own pace our Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets is also available online.

Many people involved in the catering and hospitality, caring or health, or food retailing and manufacturing professions often opt to take their training further with our Level 3 nutrition course and follow it up with the advanced level 5-day RSPH Diploma in Nutrition and Health, next running on 10 – 14 June 2013. For more information about all these courses, please click here.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring

If you’re always eating the same thing for breakfast, why not try something different? There are hundreds of different recommendations at  some are quick and easy, others are more suited to a weekend when you’re not in such a hurry. Here are just a few we found:

Vanilla Honey Yogurt Smoothie

100ml milk

150g natural yogurt

25g bran flakes

¼ tsp vanilla essence

1tbsp honey

Place all the ingredients in a liquidiser or food processor and blend until smooth. Then pour into a glass and drizzle some honey over the top.

Breakfast Hash with Bacon and Poached Eggs

700g potatoes diced

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 onion sliced

150g mushrooms sliced

100g spinach

150g cherry tomatoes halved

4 slices back bacon

4 medium eggs poached

Boil the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until tender, drain and cook slightly. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 4 minutes, add the mushrooms and fry for another 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for a further 1 minute. Roughly mash the potato and mix into the onion mixture. Season. Meanwhile cook the bacon under a pre-heated grill for 4 to 5 minutes. Divide the potato hash into 4 rounds. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and fry the hash rounds for 2 minutes on each side. Top with bacon and a poached egg and serve.

Crunch Fruit Layer

100g strawberries/raspberries sliced

1 small eating apple chopped

2 x 150g strawberry or raspberry yogurts

55g bran flakes or cereal of your choice

Place half of the fruit in the base of 2 tall glasses. Spoon over half the yogurt and then half the bran flakes. Repeat to form layers, finishing with bran flakes. Garnish with preserved fruit e.g. strawberry jam.

There are plenty of recipes and breakfast ideas to be found at

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