Breakfast is reputedly the most important meal of the day, providing you with the fuel you need to power through your morning. For most of us though, breakfast can be a rushed affair – mornings can be the most hectic time of the day as often it’s not just ourselves we’re organising for the day ahead, but the whole household too! That’s why I’m here today to examine the pros and the cons of a few of the most common type of breakfasts, and to provide some ideas about how to revitalize your morning routine!
1 - Breakfast on-the-go
Arguably the most popular option given most of your manic schedules, breakfast has evolved from the dinner table and is now being consumed on buses, trains, in car parks or some of the time, not at all. This change in our eating habits is certainly not for the best and your digestive system is definitely not thanking you.
When you eat in a rush, the chances are you’re gulping your food down rather than chewing it properly. This is a big no-no as chewing is an extremely important part of the digestive process – if you don’t chew your food properly, your digestive system will find it harder to breakdown, which can result in some less than pleasant symptoms, such as constipation, bloating, flatulence etc. Not what you want as you get into work!
You also have to consider the types of on-the-go breakfasts available. Cereal bars and bottled smoothies might brag about their nutritional content on the label but let’s be realistic – they really can’t compare to a balanced breakfast and the chances are that their bragging is hiding a rather unsavoury ingredients list chockfull of refined sugar.
My recommendation: Be prepared!
If manic mornings are weighing you down and eating away at your breakfast, then why not try to get the upper hand by preparing in advance? Rather than grabbing whatever is left on the shelves of your local Co-Op on your way to work, prepare your breakfast in advance.
Overnight oats, for example, are a great choice if you’re in a rush as all you need to do is grab them out of the fridge in the morning! They’re also packed full of fibre to help keep you satisfied for longer and reduce the risk of snacking through the morning. I’d personally recommend Ayesha’s Banana Nut Butter Overnight Oats – creamy and full of flavour these oats are dusted with coconut while a swirl of smooth cashew nut butter ensures you’re getting a good hit of protein at the same time, yummy!
2 - Protein packed
When you think of protein, the chances are you’re immediately picturing a hulking man in his thirties doing pull-ups at the gym. However, protein isn’t just for fitness fanatics – protein can also be very beneficial for women too, particularly if you follow a restricted diet or are approaching menopause.
This is because you need proteins for healthy muscles and joints, to produce hormones, for strong skin and to encourage a working digestive system. Since these bodily functions are impacted by menopause, upping your protein intake around this time is thought to be very beneficial, however, by protein I mean good, lean sources. Processed meats do not count!
My recommendation: Opt for a protein powder!
Breakfast is actually a popular time of the day to get some protein in. How many of you enjoy poached eggs on toast or smoked salmon? But if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you may need to go a little bit further to get the same intake into your morning meals, which is why I recommend getting creative with Pulsin’s vegan-friendly Pea Protein!
This high-quality protein powder contains absolutely no gluten, soya or added sugars and instead is enriched with 80% pure plant protein as well as a blend of essential minerals such as iron and zinc. You can add this protein powder to smoothies, pancakes or even sprinkle a tablespoon over your morning bowl of porridge for an instant protein hit!
3 – Carb heavy breakfast
A carb heavy breakfast is surprisingly common – after all, how many of you tuck into toast each morning or enjoy a bowl of porridge? However, recently carbohydrates have been on the receiving end of quite a lot of bad press, with many trying to drastically restrict their intake or even jettisoning this food group completely from their diet.
This is unfortunate as complex carbohydrates are an essential food group and can act as your body’s primary form of energy, helping to keep you fuelled throughout the day. Complex, though, is the operative word and most breakfast cereals typically contain processed carbohydrates and added sugars that definitely won’t be doing you any good and could potentially cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
My recommendation: Go spelt!
If you’re looking for a breakfast cereal that’s rich in fibre and unprocessed, complex carbohydrates, then Rude Health’s Spelt Flakes are an excellent option. Packed with protein and containing no unwanted extras, this cereal is full of flavour and texture and better yet, is 100% wholegrain! Simply add your favourite milk and you’re set for the day.
4 – Light and fruity
If you can’t stomach the thought of carbs or protein in the morning, the chances are you’ve gotten into the habit of simply grabbing a banana or something a lot lighter before heading out the door. This is understandable, sometimes your digestive system can take that little bit longer to wake up, however, while bananas are an excellent fruit, they’re unlikely to give you all the nutrients you need for the upcoming day and, when you’re stomach does finally start grumbling, you may reach for something a lot more sugary.
My recommendation: Go crazy for chia seeds!
That’s why I often recommend trying to at least eat a bowl of cereal or something a little bit more substantial. Just like overnight oats, chia puddings are becoming a strong option if you find yourself in this situation as they’re light, bursting with fruit and can be prepared the previous night with very little fuss. However, if you want a quicker and easier option, you could try Superfoodies Chia Seed Breakfast.
Coming in three different flavours, from Goji & Incan Berry to Tropical Chia, this cereal is extremely fruity and contains a blend of supercharged chia seeds, coconut, fruit and sometimes even rich cacao! It’s a light for satisfying option that you can prepare using a range of dairy-free milks – my personal favourite way is to take this cereal with Rude Health’s creamy Almond Drink!
5 – Liquid
Liquid breakfasts, similar to on-the-go breakfasts, are favoured as a quick, easy option that’s relatively hassle-free. All you need, in principle, is a blender and some fruit to blitz and hey presto, breakfast is served! But what are the cons of this particular breakfast choice? Well, while fruit is high in key vitamins and minerals, a smoothie based entirely on fruit and veg is unlikely to offer much in the way of protein and, if you’re buying a smoothie straight from the supermarket shelf, it’s probably loaded with sweeteners and artificial flavourings.
My recommendation: The more nutrients, the better!
If you’re starting the day with a smoothie, you want to make sure that smoothie is going to be capable of keeping you going throughout the morning. Since protein can be a problem, I sometimes enjoy adding nut butters to my smoothie, especially if I’m using a dairy-free milk such as Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. Meridian’s Smooth Almond Butter is definitely one of my favourites as it contains whole roasted almonds and is completely organic and free from palm oil!
However, nut butters don’t always go so well with super-green smoothies so, in those instances, I prefer to turn to a good, high-quality superfood powder, such as Golden Green’s Organic Spirulina Powder. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is practically exploding with antioxidants and minerals, containing 10 times more iron than raw liver, as well as B vitamins and zinc to help support your energy levels. It can also act as a vegan-friendly source of protein so it’s a win-win!