by Kathleen Alleaume
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s good to see that message is really sinking in.
A new study of Australian breakfast habits showed that just over 80 per cent (81%) eat breakfast every day. Very few respondents (3%) never ate breakfast, but of those who did (1), the main reason being that they were not hungry in the morning
Why is breakfast important?
Breakfast is important for several reasons. Eating a meal in the morning provides necessary fuel for your body and brain. It can also help stabilise blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn regulates appetite, meaning we are less likely to be hungry and mindlessly snack throughout the day. For children, eating breakfast has been positively associated with brain function, cognition and academic achievement (2).
So what makes a nutritious breakfast?
For the most nutritious start to the day, aim to choose foods from each of the five food groups: fruits and/or vegetables, whole grains, protein foods and dairy. The first step is to choose quality carbohydrates, such as whole grains (e.g. rolled oats, buckwheat, quinoa), whole grain breads, high fibre breakfast biscuits, whole fruits and vegetables. These foods dish up a healthy dose of fibre to keep hunger at bay help and aid digestion and provide longer lasting fuel.
Step two, combine your carbs with a serve of protein from foods like yoghurt, eggs, nuts and seeds or legumes. These foods help to promote satiety (feeling full) and ease blood sugar fluctuations, and also contain other nutrients like calcium and heart healthy fats.
The final step is to choose a variety of fruit or vegetables for added fibre, antioxidants, as well a small amount of healthy fats, such avocado.
Get your day off to a great start with these nutritious breakfast ideas!
- High fibre smoothie; use a combination of fruit or vegetables with milk or yoghurt, rolled oats and nut butters
- Boiled eggs with whole grain toast
- Porridge or cooked quinoa parfait with yoghurt and fruit
- Slice of whole grain toast with baked beans and spinach and/or mushrooms
- Whole grain toast with smashed avocado and feta and a sprinkle of lupin flakes
- High fibre breakfast biscuit with milk and banana
- Buckwheat or lentil pancakes with fresh fruit and ricotta cheese
Or for more inspiration, take a look at GLNCs delicious breakfast recipes here.
Kathleen Alleaume is a nutrition and exercise scientist who is passionate about making sense of the conflicting health buzz.
- Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. 2018. Do you take the time to break-fast? Australian Breakfast Survey. Unpublished.
- Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews 2009; 22: 220-243.