A balanced, healthy breakfast is essential to a healthy lifestyle. But why is it so important?
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides both your brain and body with the nutrients they require after a long time without eating (which is why it’s called breakfast – break the fast). If you try to get up and go without making time for this all-important meal, it will never go well. It’s the human equivalent of trying to run your car without giving it petrol. It ain’t going to happen!
So not only is it vital that you don’t attempt to go without breakfast, but it’s also important that you take two other rules into consideration. First of all, nutritionists advise that you should eat breakfast within two hours of waking up – otherwise, it’s called brunch. And secondly, your breakfast should take up about 20-35% of your guideline daily allowance of calories. So no, an apple will not do!
As well as giving us the energy we need to stay active throughout the day, many breakfast foods are great sources of calcium, B vitamins, fibre, protein and iron. These nutrients are absolutely essential to your body, and research has shown that if you skip breakfast, you aren’t likely to make up for this lack of nutrients throughout the day. Many breakfast choices are also perfect for pairing with fruit and vegetables, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get the first of your five-a-day.
If these little nuggets of information still aren’t selling you on breakfast, maybe this will:
Research has shown that those of us who eat breakfast are generally less likely to be overweight and are often closer to an ideal weight than those of us who avoid the first meal of the day.
This makes sense, as if you don’t fill up with healthy foods at breakfast time, you’re much more likely to be tempted by sugary, greasy snacks as the day wears on.
Boost your brainpower
We all know that fish is supposed to be brain food, but it isn’t the only dish! Eating breakfast has been shown to improve cognitive function, even contributing to better academic performances in children and teens. We live in an age where sugar is both worshipped and feared, but the food group isn’t all bad. Eating breakfast is a great way of restoring your glucose levels every morning, and glucose is essential for brain function (though this doesn’t mean that eating lots of sweets will make you smarter).
Plenty of studies have shown that eating breakfast can improve concentration and memory, as well as boosting our overall happiness and lowering our stress levels – something we all need from time to time! Meanwhile, studies involving children have linked eating breakfast with getting better grades. Our bodies need fuel to function, and that means our brains do too.
How do I make a healthy breakfast?
So how can one supercharge the start of a day? To help you out, here are just a few tips to improve your meal.
- Try to favour wholegrain foods.
- Get the first of your Five a Day.
- If you’re short on time, plan something that you can eat on-the-go.
- Try to favour breakfast cereals which are fortified with important nutrients.
- Use fruit or honey to sweeten your meal, rather than sugar.
- Try to include milk or some form of substitute to boost your calcium intake.
- Smoothies are a great side for your breakfast if you want to add as much fruit and veg as you can.
- Remember to have a drink to help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Fruit juice and other sources of vitamin C will help your iron absorption.
- Boost your protein intake with eggs, nuts, milk, yoghurt, fish or lean meats.
- ALWAYS read the label!
Pair your healthy breakfast with daily exercise.
Chances are, unless you already take part in a full-time fitness programme for athletics or sports, you’ll have to add some form of exercise to your daily routine if you want to stay fit. No matter what activities fill your day – whether you go to work, work from home or look after the kids – they will not provide you with the balanced exercise regime your body requires.
Throughout our daily activities, some of our muscles will be exercised extensively while some will experience very little – or none at all. Even if you take part in a sport, there’s a high chance that you aren’t getting an opportunity to exercise all of your muscle groups evenly or effectively. Even those muscles that do see some action often are not exercised to a high enough level to get properly fit.
One of the easiest, most effective ways of dealing with this is to introduce a daily exercise regime that will exercise your body fully and evenly, such as those offered by BX.Plans, Muscle & Fitness or Women’s Health.
To learn more about BX Plans for men, women and children visit: www.fitin15.org.