A recent study by Cardiff University found that school pupils who begin the day with a healthy breakfast are more likely to do well in primary school assessments than those who don’t. A healthy breakfast is important to get the day off to a good start for both adults and children. Making a change to our breakfast habits can boost our concentration, ensure a good metabolism, and reduce the sugar intake which often comes from cereals and sugary breakfast foods.
Why eating a good breakfast is important
It’s long been proven that skipping breakfast does not help with weight loss, and yet many of us are still guilty of not eating a proper breakfast in the morning. The research conducted by Cardiff University alarmingly found that 1 in 5 children eat unhealthy items such as sweets and crisps for breakfast, with many not eating any at all. Concerns raised by teachers included pupils’ waning concentration levels by 10am, with many children starting to fall asleep. It was found that a good, balanced breakfast could provide children with the fuel they need to learn and get their work done throughout the day.
People who skip breakfast tend to be hungry before lunchtime, leading them to snack on unhealthy food in a bid to keep hunger at bay. There’s been clear evidence to show how important breakfast is in the morning. A study by Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem claims that breakfast should in fact be the largest meal of the day to help promote weight loss.
Healthier breakfast ideas
Ensuring that you and your family get your day off to the right start is important, and is easily achievable. Great ideas for healthier breakfasts include
1. A warm breakfast
Many typically ‘cold’ breakfast foods such as cereal tend to be higher in calories and sugar, as are most fruit juices. Enjoying a warmer breakfast such as porridge or eggs typically means that you don’t rely on pre-prepared meals, and are therefore are more likely to consume less sugar-filled products.
2. Who says you can’t have meat for breakfast?
There are many health and fitness plans which encourage followers to eat protein-packed meat (not sausage and bacon) for breakfast, and to rely less on cereals for their morning meals. It may not be what you’re used to, but a healthy dose of protein in the morning from some turkey, chicken (chicken sausages anyone?) and oily fish such as salmon, could make a huge difference to your health, as well as help you lose weight.
3. Make your own cereals
You don’t have to rely on supermarket cereals for your morning breakfast; you can make your own. There are some great recipes out there for healthy cereals such as homemade granola and porridge recipes which you can make in large batches in advance, and are packed with beneficial ingredients to help you release energy throughout the day as well as manage your sugar intake.
4. Remember that a snack is not a meal
It can be tempting to just grab something on the go like a piece of toast or a cereal bar, but this doesn’t make for the healthiest breakfast. Taking time in the morning to make a proper breakfast will set you up for the day, as well as help you spend time together as a family in the morning.
5. Invest in a smoothie maker
There are some great, affordable smoothie makers which allow you to blend your own healthy smoothies straight in the bottle and take them away with you – ideal for those without much time in the mornings to stop and eat. You can make balanced, nutritional smoothies containing grains, fruit and yoghurt as well as other health boosting ingredients. Preparing and measuring them out in advance will reduce your morning preparation time, allowing you to get on with your day.
Making some positive changes to your breakfast habits now will not only benefit your children, but your own lifestyle too. Even if you’re not normally a fan of breakfast, a few weeks of eating healthier breakfast will soon lead you to see the benefits. The NHS’ Change4Life website has some great ideas on how to enjoy healthier breakfasts for all the family, giving you plenty of inspiration to change your habits.