We’ve all heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” However, despite this, many of us still skip it, with a 2021 survey finding that 11% of Brits don’t have breakfast, and in younger people, that number is higher still, with almost 17% of 16-24-year-olds not bothering with breakfast. Even among those who do eat first thing, breakfast food choices aren’t always the healthiest. In this article, we’ll look at why breakfast is important and share some ideas for a healthy breakfast that will set you up for the day.
Why Is Breakfast Important?
When it comes to the importance of breakfast, the research is mixed. Several studies have shown that regularly eating breakfast has a range of health benefits, including helping to prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
There is a suggestion that people who eat breakfast daily are more likely to be concerned about their nutrition and diet overall, meaning they’re less likely to be overweight, which comes with many health risks. However, other studies have suggested breakfast has a limited role to play in weight management.
The 2018 Big Breakfast Study suggests that for maximum health benefits, we should be eating a larger morning meal and smaller evening meal and a 2021 systematic review showed that people who skipped breakfast were more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and were more at risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
If you regularly skip breakfast, there’s also a chance you’ll be missing out on key nutrients, meaning you need to be extra careful when planning your meals later in the day to ensure that you pack in everything you need.
Regardless of how you feel about breakfast, or what the research says, one thing is for certain – if you wake up feeling hungry, you should eat. Breakfast is an opportunity to fuel your body and a nutritionally balanced breakfast can prepare you for the day ahead.
Ideas For A Healthy Breakfast
If you want to start eating breakfast, you might be wondering what exactly you should eat? Here are some suggestions for simple, healthy breakfast ideas.
Breakfast cereals are a go-to breakfast food for many but before you fill your bowl, be sure to choose your breakfast cereal carefully to make sure it doesn’t contain too much sugar, as many do.
Wholegrain cereals are made from wheat, bran and oats and can help regulate blood sugar levels and protein granolas and cereals give you added protein to help you power on through the day. You also want to choose a cereal that is high in fibre and low in sugar. Many kinds of cereal are also fortified with added vitamins and minerals for extra health benefits. For this reason, cereal can be a particularly good source of folic acid, which is especially vital during pregnancy.
Eggs make for a simple and nutritious breakfast. They’re a great source of protein and healthy fats and are rich in B and D vitamins. They can also be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Poached eggs on toast is an excellent choice for a quick, easy and delicious breakfast.
Having fruit for breakfast is a great way to ensure that you get your 5 a day. Fruits are packed with vitamins, are relatively low in calories and only contain natural sugars, which your body can use more easily than refined sugars. Many fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries and watermelon also contain antioxidants, which can protect against stress, ageing and disease. Enjoy fruit by itself or add it to plain yoghurt for a simple, well-balanced breakfast.