During a night’s rest, our body goes for many hours without food or water. During sleep and restoration our body consumes most of its stored energy and by the time we wake, our glycogen stores are low. Glycogen is our body’s storage form of carbohydrates for long-term energy. When we get stuck into a busy day, our body uses energy from the food we eat and from our glycogen stores. Without breakfast we are relying on our depleted glycogen stores to keep us going, which is not helpful for our energy levels or our ability to concentrate . Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast is important for all ages. It will restore energy and glycogen levels, ensuring you are equipped and ready for a full day of work, study or play.
The benefits of having a healthy breakfast:
- Reduces the possibly of consuming high kilojoule foods later in the day
- Stabilises blood sugar levels
- Assists with memory and concentration
- Those who regularly eat breakfast tend to maintain a healthier weight than those who don’t, including both children and adult’s
- Improves and sustains metabolism
What should a healthy breakfast contain?
A healthy breakfast should contain essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, healthy fats and low GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates. Low GI means that the energy from the carbohydrate eaten is digested and released slowly, giving you more sustained energy for a longer period. Low GI foods include wholegrain oats, muesli, cereals and breads as well as milk and yoghurt. Additional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are also essential components of a healthy breakfast. The best way to check all of these boxes is to pick whole foods for breakfast and to mix it up throughout the week.
Tips for a great breakfast:
- Stay away from cereals that contain too much sugar or salt. A tip is to look for cereals that have whole grains and are high in fibre such as Weet-Bix, VitaBrits and BranPlus. The Muesli Bar, Freedom Foods and Goodness Superfoods have a great range of healthy muesli and cereals.
- Plan for your breakfast. Just like lunch and dinner, breakfast needs some forward thinking. This may include adding additional breakfast foods to your shopping list, planning what you will eat each morning or getting some things out the night before so you are prepared in the morning.
- Set the alarm 10 minutes earlier to leave yourself enough time to have a good breakfast.
- Prepare some foods at the start of the week, such as boiling eggs, chopping veggies, fruit or nuts so that they are ready to go in the morning.
- If possible keep some breakfast foods at work.
- Sit and eat breakfast together as a family.
Throughout the day children are growing, learning, concentrating and problem solving. Consuming the right amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals is crucial for a child’s growth and development as well as sustaining energy levels for a happy and productive day.
- 100g full fat yoghurt with some diced fruit
- Smoothie – 1 cup of milk and or yoghurt, 1 cup of fruit (banana or berries)
- Boiled egg with some wholemeal or multigrain toast
- Whole-wheat or wholegrain cereal such as 1-2 Weet-Bix biscuits with ½ cup of milk. Try adding a serve of fruit or 100g of yoghurt
- ½ cup of porridge, adding some grated apple or berries.
As some teenagers start to make their own food choices it is important to note that breakfast is an important meal, not only for energy but for weight management and academic performance. Breakfast can help with memory and concentration, which are crucial for study or that after school job. Some teenagers can suffer from acne and, while no one food causes acne, eating less processed food and drink will help. Starting the day with a breakfast of whole foods helps to avoid poor food choices in the mid-morning and afternoon.
- Bowl of porridge with drizzle of honey or sprinkle of cinnamon
- Scrambled eggs – 2 eggs with milk, you can add some spinach, tomatoes or zucchini for an extra veggie hit. Served with a piece of wholemeal or multigrain toast.
- High-fibre, low sugar cereal or muesli, with 1 cup of milk or yoghurt
- Boiled or poached eggs on wholemeal or multigrain toast, adding some avocado
- Fruit smoothie, including foods like milk, natural yoghurt, bananas, berries
Breakfast is crucial for preparing the body for a days work and helping to fight that morning to midday fatigue. Breakfast provides the body with energy and fuel to burn throughout the day and so it is important not to skip. The brain relies on glucose for fuel throughout the day, so choosing carbohydrate-rich breakfast foods such as cereals or wholegrain breads can be a great start to the day providing adequate amounts of sustained energy.
- 1 cup of porridge/oats with 1 cup of milk, try adding ½ cup of diced fruit like apple or berries
- Breakfast fritters made from eggs, wholemeal flour, adding zucchini, feta, salmon, carrot or your favourite vegetable picks
- Bowl of muesli or oats, with 1 cup of natural yoghurt, adding some berries or nuts
- Scrambled eggs or omelette with your choice of chopped veggies or added slices of salmon
- 2 pieces of wholemeal or multigrain toast with mashed avocado and feta
Use breakfast as a chance to fuel the whole family for the day ahead!