Naturally when it comes to nutrition advice it feels logical to start with breakfast, particularly with the latest craze surrounding intermittent fasting, (which for many people can be suitable for varying health reasons & for others may not). So right here, right now, I’m laying down the very foundations on breakfast including what time to eat, what deliciousness to eat, and also of course what naughties you should be skipping for most of the time. Before I delve into this, you should note that no nutritional advice is suited to all people, the following is very general so if you have health concerns or questions, you should seek something more personal by reaching out to a trusted degree accredited nutritionist.
BEST TIME TO EAT BREAKFAST
Generally, between 8-10am I advise clients to eat within a 12-hour window. Munching on breakfast between 8am-10am allows for lunch between midday – 2pm, and then dinner between 5-7 (Dinner eaten early is best but more on this another time). So even if you are intermittent fasting, ensuring you have something around the 10am mark will keep your metabolism and circadian rhythm in check & stop you reaching for the carb loaded snacks or the over portioned meals later in the day. FYI: There is so much to discuss on this topic so watch this space for another time.
If you wake up ravenous, this could be due to varying reasons, namely thirst, certain medications, PMS, unhealthy gut microbiome and commonly – poor sleep hygiene. On sleep: When your hours are inadequate (aim for 8hrs) or interrupted possibly by babies, busy minds, stimulants or booze, your body produces the hunger hormone ghrelin which stimulates your appetite. On the flip side, waking with an inkling appetite is a plus, that being a positive sign of a healthy digestive system, liver health & circadian rhythm. OK wait, I hear you thinking what if I don’t wake hungry? This may be as simple as possible over consumption or eating late the night before, but can also be in relations to certain medications and varying other health reasons.
What to eat: So many delicious options
It doesn’t need to be the largest meal of the day isn’t necessarily for many individuals the most important (controversial comment maybe) however, I absolutely feel it’s imperative to have yourself a nutrient rich little/ medium something even if you don’t feel hungry at the time. Options that are high in Omega 3/healthy fats, quality protein & whole grains are key here for stabilising blood glucose, building healthy microbiome & to keep your brain satisfied and body fuelled. This can be your ‘same old’s’, or something more fun, just don’t make it hard on yourself as we all know mornings can be the most hectic time, I’d rather you have 2 simple boiled eggs on the run than nothing at all.
It should go without saying that homemade is always best, however we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves & appreciate that this isn’t always possible. If going for store-bought options, always aim for whole-food ingredients and don’t be afraid to ask what is in it.
- 2 boiled or poached eggs with whole fat ricotta or, tahini dressing with ½ an avocado and a drizzle of olive oil
- Nutrient dense smoothie with a mix of fruit & vegetables (fresh or frozen), handful of spinach, with a few picks of: Whole or nut based milks, top quality protein powders, greens and collagen, hempseeds, avocado, coconut yoghurt, nut butters, tahini, nuts, seeds, MCT oil.
- Paleo based or home-made granola without added refined sugars topped with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and mixed berries
- Coconut/whole milk yoghurt chia/whole grain pudding of some variation
- Nut & Seed style paleo/gluten free loaf or a super dense slow rise sourdough with:
- ½ avocado, tablespoon of whole fat ricotta or goats cheese drizzled with olive oil & lemon juice.
- OR, try with a good quality nut butter topped with chopped berries, banana and sprinkle of cinnamon.
What to skip
A traditional western style breakfast advocates for processed cereals, breads, spreads & juices. For those circa 90’s…remember that advertisement “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, always have cereal with milk, toast, fruit and juice”? Gosh, nutrition research has certainly developed and I don’t want to shame the brand that ran this campaign, yet If you still live by this rule, you owe it to yourself to move out of the low fat high carb 90’s and into the now. I know personally, and from results in my practice, that if you eat this refined way for breakfast, your entire eating day will be a fail & in the long term that has the potential to follow with serious health ramifications, I don’t like to make food sound negative but this is true, you will feel it and science proves it. You wouldn’t eat a slice of cake for breakfast, would you? So comparatively, in terms of low nutrient, low fibre, highly processed and refined sugar content you also shouldn’t be eating:
- Packaged muesli/granola with added refined sugar and dried fruit content served with flavour enhanced and/or 0 fat yoghurt. A serve of this (generally) contains just as refined much sugar as a slice of cake. Not to mention the sulphur content of dried fruits.
- Steel cut oats: The fibre and nutrients are lost here when the husk is removed from the whole grain so essentially you are eating empty carbs. If you love your oats, always pick whole grain and consider going for a mixed grain option.
- Just fruit or juices without healthy fats and proteins. Meals are meant to be nutritive complete. Healthy fats and proteins not only keep your blood glucose balanced to keep you satisfied but also help to metabolise carbohydrate, this helping to reduce central adiposity, increase muscle mass & keep stress and sex hormones in check.
- White or wholemeal processed breads or pastries with butter and processed condiments. 0 nutrients and fibre, sky rocket high sugar – say hello to inflammation, increased stress hormones, central adiposity and a never-ending appetite.
Our experienced Nutritionist Liv Crumpton is here to help you.