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  • Writer's pictureJane Webber Nutrition

What's on your breakfast table?

Is breakfast important?

Do you eat a breakfast and if so what do you eat?

Or do you grab a hot drink only?

I am a big fan of having a breakfast each morning. It helps me start my day, however in the past it wasn’t really on my radar. I was up early, always rushing off to work after the gym.

I understand why people find it hard to eat early in the morning or have routines that limit their time. Maybe they are just bored with the same old breakfast staples, toast, orange juice and cereal.!

Why is having a meal after sleeping important?

During the night you still burn calories. Yay! When you wake up your blood sugar levels are low. You have been “fasting” while sleeping, so that why the first meal of the day is called “breakfast”.

Not having breakfast isn’t a “bad” thing, but what you eat to break your fast can make a difference.

Getting up and doing activities, so burning more calories means you are using up the glucose levels in your body. It stands to reason that your blood sugar levels continue to dip.

Your liver can only produce so much glucose, so that why your blood sugar levels fall even more. If you don’t have diabetes, then your body is pretty good at regulating your sugar levels, however will start to feel light-headed, tired, and maybe slightly bad tempered!

Your brain tells you that you require food to replace your lost glucose, so you may grab something processed sweet treat or some caffeine. You grab a coffee, and the sweet treats are just too tempting, so you eat one!

“Brilliant” says your body, your blood sugar levels spike up and you feel so much better. However, the food you have eaten goes straight through you very quickly because its processed and provides very little nutrient value, just sugar.

Your blood sugar levels dip as quickly as it rose, and this continues if you keep reaching for processed foods. The spikes and lows confuse your body and what you are looking for are a steady blood sugar level.

Breaking your fast with food that are a good mix of complex carbs, protein and fats that release their energy slowing into your blood stream will give you a more steady level. That’s why for me skipping breakfast, or any other meal isn’t the best in the long term.

What type of breakfasts are better for you and keep your sugar levels stable?

Stay away from sugary breakfast cereals such as frosted or flavoured ones, such as coco pops, crunchy nut cornflakes. Definitely too high in sugars.

Ditch the pop tarts, muffins, pastries, French toast etc. Also toast with butter and sweet preserves aren’t the best either.

Why not look at the following?

Porridge oats. Soaked overnight and eaten either hot or cold. Made with either semi skimmed milk or diary alternatives. Serve with either fresh or frozen fruits, nuts or seeds.

Eggs, anyway that you like – poached, scramble, omelette. If frying, then keep an eye on the fats and the amount you are using. I am not a fan of “light” spray oils, but if you really want a fried egg, then look at this alternative.

Add veggies to your omelettes such as mushrooms, peppers, spinach as examples. Adding spinach to your poached egg or stick it on wholegrain toast.

Homemade pancakes with fruit and yoghurt, but don’t go for sweet, processed topping such as maple syrup, golden syrup, honey, or agave etc. They are just pure sugar, even if they are natural.

Look out for recipes for low sugar muesli that you can make, so you don’t buy the processed brands.

Look out for smoothies you can make yourself but don’t go for the processed supermarket versions as they are high in sugar. Try not to relay on smoothies for your breakfast to get your 5 a day in. They are great for that, but you will miss out on the fibre of whole fruit and vegetable.

Want more hints and tips on making sure your diet is one you can be proud of?

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