According to many health specialists, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even so, busy lifestyles, not getting up early enough in the morning, or attempts at losing weight, can sometimes mean that some people forego breakfast altogether.
Don’t skip breakfast if you’re trying to control your weight
Perversely, some research has shown that eating a healthy breakfast, rather than skipping it, can actually help with weight loss rather than hinder it. An experiment on BBC’s Horizon programme split a group into two, with one set eating breakfast whilst the rest sipped water. Then nearing lunchtime, both sets were shown around 160 images of different types of food – some highly calorific like pastries and doughnuts – others like fresh fruit and vegetables.
The group were then asked to score each image as to how much they felt inclined to eat it. Interestingly the ones who had only had water chose mostly fattening foods, whilst those who had breakfasted went for the healthier options. There are many experiments like this that seem to prove that eating a healthy breakfast makes you less likely to choose fatty, sugary foods later in the day.
So it seems there really is something in the saying ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.’ Other benefits of eating breakfast include greater concentration, better memory, reduced stress and feeling happier generally. Dr Verner Wheelock’s publication Healthy Eating in Schools illustrates a number of case studies in primary schools where school breakfast clubs have helped to improve concentration amongst youngsters.
Reap the benefits of a healthy breakfast during Breakfast Week
Why am I banging on about breakfast? Well next week marks the start of Breakfast Week. Now in its 15th year, this time the theme is ‘Shake up your wake-up’ which aims to encourage people to make small changes to their routine to fit in a healthy breakfast. Ideally to kick-start our metabolisms we need to eat breakfast within two hours of waking and eat around 20% to 35% of our recommended daily calorie intake – for women this equates to between 500 and 875 calories for men and between 400 and 700 calories for women. The traditional farmhouse breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms etc. is packed with protein to help you feel full. Equally the slow release of energy from porridge or banana will have a similar effect.
Another benefit of eating breakfast is that it contains essential nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium and iron. On www.shakeupyourwakeup.com there are loads of different ideas and recipes for breakfast, including how to fit in breakfast on the move. Whether you’re a commuter, office worker, busy mum, active and sporty, trying to lose weight, suffering from the winter blues, looking to boost your energy levels or trying to shake off a sniffle, you’ll find the right type of breakfast to suit you.
What your choice of eggs says about you
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods you can have for breakfast. The average person eats 172 eggs per year and one-third of these is likely to be consumed at breakfast time. But did you know that scientists have found a statistical relationship between how you like to have them cooked and your character, lifestyle and social class? Apparently, if you like your eggs poached you’re more likely to be outgoing and happy; if you favour boiled eggs you’re disorganised; if you prefer an omelette you’re self-disciplined or if you’re a scrambled egg fan you’re more guarded. Finally, if fried eggs are your favourite, you have a high sex drive!
We’re often guilty of eating exactly the same thing for breakfast every day, so why not take a look at the Breakfast Week website and mix things up a bit? There are plenty of recipes for a twist on traditional meals as well as the simplest ways to cook old favourites. View and download some of their breakfast ideas here.