Eat more, not less, for breakfast!
What do you have for breakfast? A slice of toast, quick bowl of cereal, bit of fruit, or perhaps just a coffee?
Many of my weight-loss clients are surprised when I tell them to eat a bigger breakfast. Seems contradictory doesn’t it, eat more when you are trying to lose weight?
I notice many of my clients eat very little at breakfast, thinking that fewer calories will aid weight loss. But the trouble with this is, they are not having enough to sustain them, the tummy starts to rumble mid-morning, and inevitably they can’t resist reaching for the biscuit tin.
It is far better to have a really hearty, but healthy breakfast, with an adequate amount of protein and some beneficial fats, as this will keep you fuelled for longer.
I’m not hungry in the morning, do I still need to eat breakfast?
Many people find they aren’t hungry when they first wake up in the morning. That’s fine! ‘Breakfast’ is the meal that breaks your fast: i.e. the overnight fast you have while you are sleeping and therefore not eating. It doesn’t have to be at ‘breakfast time’. Although advice used to be that we should eat as soon as possible after waking to kick start our metabolism, we now know this is outdated. It is now thought that it is actually healthier to keep our overnight fast going for as long as possible, which is why it is becoming increasingly popular to eat within an ‘eating window’, also known as ‘time restricted eating’ or ‘intermittent fasting’ (I’ll save that for another blog!).
As a general rule it is best to eat when you are hungry. If you are someone who doesn’t get hungry until later in the morning or lunchtime, that’s absolutely fine, you can have your breakfast then.
What should I eat for breakfast?
Breakfast should be a relatively hearty meal to sustain you until your next meal, especially if you know that isn’t going to be for a few hours. If you wait to have breakfast until you are hungry, rather than forcing something down because it is ‘breakfast time’, then you will feel ready for something more substantial.
The ideal breakfast should include:
- Good quality protein (a palm sized amount is a portion) – nuts and seeds are an easy option, or something savory.
- A source of good fats (again nuts and seeds).
- ‘Good’ carbohydrates – oats or other wholegrains are a great choice.
- One or two portions of vegetables or fruit. E.g. berries, tomatoes, spinach.
Healthy breakfast ideas
Get creative with your breakfast ideas. Here are a few suggestions.
These are really handy for busy people as they can be made the night before. It’s also a good option for breakfast on the go.
Take a jam jar and add:
- A third to a half cup of oats,
- 1 dessert spoon of chia seeds,
- 1 dessert spoon of flax seed,
- A small handful of any other nuts or seeds or a dessert spoon of nut butter,
- A portion of fruit such as a handful of berries,
- Any optional extras you like such as a spoonful of cacao nibs or a sprinkle of spices like cinnamon and ginger.
Top up with oat, coconut or almond milk and stir well.
You can leave overnight or even just for an hour or so.
Nut butter and banana sandwich
This is my other go-to if I am going to be out and about. Nice sourdough wholewheat bread with nut butter for healthy fats and protein and some fruit.
Make sure you include some protein and fats by stirring in flax and/or chia seeds and top with more nuts, seeds or nut butters. Top with fruit like chopped banana or some berries and experiment with extras like spices too. You could also try varying porridge by using a different grain instead of oats, like buckwheat or brown rice (pictured).
Not with jam but with something healthy and sustaining like nut butter and fruit, or a savory option like hummus and tomato. Opt for good quality sourdough bread from a local baker or make your own, rather than supermarket sliced bread.
Yoghurt, fruit, and nuts
Healthy apple crumble
This is my current favourite breakfast, and it is surprisingly quick and easy to make, especially if you stew enough apples to last a few days in advance. Unlike traditional crumble that would be eaten as a dessert it is free from added sugar and again contains plenty of beneficial fats and protein to keep you going til lunch. Get the recipe HERE.
The vegan equivalent of eggs for breakfast. Make sure you get in your veg, you could add in mushrooms, onions and spinach while cooking, and stir in nutritional yeast flakes and flax seed, yum. Serve with sourdough bread or just salad. Non vegans could also opt for eggs or fish.
Try frying up leftover potatoes, vegetables, lentils or anything else into a sort of breakfast hash.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be ‘breakfasty’! You can have anything for breakfast that you would have at any other time of day, some people even like to have soup, and why not?