Everyone has heard the phrase ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, this is true as the body experiences a period of starvation during the night. By fuelling up with a balanced breakfast ensures that there are sufficient calories to keep the body and mind healthy. Starting the day without a breakfast can cause reduced concentration levels, reduced alertness and increase the likelihood of feeling tired or fatigued.
It is necessary to consume a balanced breakfast, one which provides slow releasing carbohydrates for example; 2 slices of wholegrain toast or a bowl of wholegrain cereal such as: porridge or Weetabix. These breakfast options will allow energy to be released slowly into the body due to the fibre content and will provide the body with energy for approximately 2 hours.
Some protein should also be included as part of your breakfast such as; baked beans or eggs on wholegrain toast, adding milk or natural yoghurt and a few nuts (unless you have an allergy) to a bowl of cereal. This will improve the satiety levels (feeling of fullness), the same way as fibre by suppressing the appetite.
Cereals which are coated with sugar should be avoided as they cause a rise in blood sugar levels, followed by a fall in the blood sugar levels. This is due to the amount of refined sugar in them. Choosing this type of cereal can cause increased hunger and can result in overindulging in unnecessary calories to compensate for the feeling of hungry soon after.
It is important to eat a breakfast that you have tried and tested, especially prior to exercise as some individuals cannot tolerate a breakfast high in fibre due to gut discomfort, they can experience cramps, constipation or diarrhoea. It is also quite common for those who participate in sport to experience excitement of a game or a training session combined with high adrenaline levels and/or increased anxiety levels. These symptoms can affect the gut and/or stomach, so a familiar breakfast is recommended.
When participating in physical activity the demand by the body for more calories is significantly increased, quite simply to allow the body to sustain the duration of exercise without feeling tired physically and psychologically. If for example you have a training session or a match mid-day, consuming a balanced breakfast 2 hours before, combined with a snack such as; a banana or a fruit yogurt, 30 minutes before, will offer adequate calories for training or a match.
Some Examples of Healthy Breakfast Options
- Two slices of wholegrain toast with scrambled eggs
- Bowl of porridge or Weetabix with nuts (walnut halves or pecan nuts), some berries and semi skimmed milk
- Two slices of wholegrain toast with peanut butter
- Homemade fruit smoothie made with berries, banana (or other fruit of your choice) and natural yoghurt
- Two slices of wholegrain toast with baked beans