Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will either start you off really well or it will set you up for a day of eating the wrong kinds of food and cause fat storage!!
Breakfast is designed for your body to “break its’ fast”. In an ideal world you should leave at least 12 hours between the last meal of the day and your breakfast the next morning. This is being recommended by many health professionals at the moment due to the benefits that they are seeing in reversing many illnesses. This is because it allows the body to do what it needs to do - detox and repair - over night. If it has to work at digesting food whilst you sleep, it can’t then focus on the other important things that it needs to do. The body undergoes so much when you are asleep. It is repairing any damage, detoxing, your heart rate and breathing slows, hormones balance out, to name a couple of things.
So when you waken, it is important that you give your body what it needs.
If I was to ask you what do you eat for your breakfast, what would be your answer?
There are studies out there that show that the most common breakfast choices are:-
- tea and toast (with butter and a type of topping eg jam, marmalade, banana, nutella)
- coffee and run
We don’t prioritise our breakfast and yet it is the most important meal of the day.
Think of the old saying “Eat like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner”. In today's society it tends to be the other way around. We miss out breakfast as we are in a hurry, eat a very carby lunch – because we are in a hurry, and then eat a huge dinner in the evening because we are starving!!All these actions have consequences and people are suffering from this type of habit. People are overweight, tired all the time, suffering from inflammation and getting ill. If you start the day the right way, these things can be reduced. By having a good healthy breakfast you kick start your metabolism, stimulate the right hormones and can function at a higher level throughout the day.
What should you avoid having for breakfast?
1 Sugary Cereals
The shopping aisles are full of sugary cereals that are primarily marketed to young children, however, adults tend to eat them as well. The habits that we create when we are a child, tend to be habits that we have as an adult. So if we are eating sugary cereals as a child, we will most likely have that habit for life.
However, sugary cereals are not a great way to start the day. They rocket your blood sugars and this will lead to an energy slump very quickly. As an adult we then tend to reach for the coffee/tea and a biscuit to cope and as a child, it tends to lead to problems in the classroom.
The other problem with cereals is that the portion sizes tend to be huge. We tend to eat more than twice the recommended portion size. I will be doing a video on this soon. It will blow your mind.
Food companies design their packaging very cleverly so that you think you are getting something healthy but unfortunately, it just tends to be marketing. The “fortified with” looks great, but in reality, if they didn’t destroy the natural grain in the processing of the food, they wouldn’t need to fortify it. – I will do a blog on that too
Opt for whole grain cereals and ones that aren’t high in sugars. Check the portion sizes as well. Or try the SMASH Granola Recipe. It is delicious and very low in sugar.
2 Tea/Coffee and White Toast
This although quick and handy can cause issues. The white bread will again rocket your blood sugars, especially if you add sweet toppings. The coffee will spike your cortisol levels first thing in the morning. You really don’t want to do that. Cortisol is a stress hormone in the body, and the last thing you want to do is to start your day with your body being stressed. Tea can dehydrate the body if drank first thing in the morning as it is a diuretic – makes you go to the toilet. The body is already dehydrated, so try not to make it even more dehydrated.
Drink lemon water or a fruit tea in the morning and opt for wholewheat or wholemeal bread. The more fibre in the bread the better as it will help with cholesterol levels too.
3 Just a Smoothie
Smoothies are being promoted as being a healthy way to start the day as they are some of your “Five A Day”. Yes you are getting fruit and sometimes veg, but unfortunately as the fruit has been highly processed and the fibre removed, your blood sugars will rocket. This is due to the natural sugars being broken down and therefore they become Free Sugars which are detrimental to your energy levels, weight, insulin levels and even your teeth.
Check the labels on these smoothies and don’t fall for the marketing on them. One that I recently looked at had over 30g of sugar in a bottle. This is the amount that an adult should have throughout the day – not in one serving!!! It was also being marketed to tired mums! Shame on that company.
Make your own protein shake and fill it with natural ingredients. This is the protein that I recommend as it is so clean, high in protein and low in sugar. It also tastes amazing too.
If you would like a recipe for a tasty breakfast smoothie, let me know and I will put one together for you
4 Pre-Packed Porridge Sachets/Pots
These are becoming more and more common. You can actually get them in service stations nowadays too! You are probably thinking – Sandra, I thought porridge was a good thing. Yes it is, but not the pre-flavoured ones! They tend to be packed with hidden sugar AND salt.
Making your own porridge is quick and easy. There are some sachets that aren’t flavoured which are ok but then you have to use the microwave, which in the long run isn’t great for your health. The sachets also tend to be very expensive.
A large bag of rolled porridge oats really isn’t expensive, so I would advise using that, making the porridge with water and then adding your own natural flavouring eg fresh fruit and seeds. This is not only cheaper but you will be fuller for longer. I use the Lidl porridge oats as they come in paper packaging, so it means that it's good for the environment too.
This is something that has come over from USA and we have embraced them. These are made from highly refined flour that has been stripped of its’ fibre and nutrients and very high in calories. They will also rocket your blood sugar. Many people also cover their bagels with sweet toppings first thing in the morning, which isn't great either.
Go for wholemeal options rather than white options and check the labels for the nutritional information. Top with something that is protein based so that it will help with balancing your blood sugars.
6 Cereal Breakfast Bars
These are a result of clever marketing towards busy mums. They focus in on that fact that mums are really busy in the morning and don’t necessarily have the time to make breakfast. They then say that the cereal breakfast bar is a great way to get breakfast on the run. However, what they don’t tell you is that they are full of sugar which can raise your insulin levels, cause sugar crashes and even inflammation in the body.
Read the labels and don’t be fooled by clever marketing. The biggest thing to look out for is the sugar content. Remember that 4g of sugar is a teaspoon of sugar. Also be aware of the portion size versus the pack size. They really do try to fool us. Try and get up a little bit earlier and make breakfast at home rather than grabbing something on the run.
7 A Big Greasy Fry
This isn’t something that people tend to do on a daily basis at home but some people will get fried foods for their breakfast at a service station. We are famous in Ireland for an Ulster Fry. Fries tend to be high in rancid vegetable oils which will increase inflammation in the body and may lead to heart issues later in life. The quality of the meats used for a fry aren’t really that healthy. People also tend to cover their fry in ketchup which is extremely high in sugar.
Make a couple of easy swaps – have poached or scrambled eggs rather than fried eggs, grill the meat rather than fry it, chose healthier meats, stay away from the sauces. Add in some extra veg like mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach.
8 Concentrated Fruit Juices
These again are high in free sugars and will therefore spike your blood sugars and they have very little nutritional value as they so processed.
Eat the fruit in its’ original form – have an apple or orange – this will give you lots of nutrients and you will get the natural fibre from the fruit too. If you would still like to have an orange drink, why not try our Vibracell as an alternative. You will be getting lots of extra health benefits by drinking this superfood drink that contains over 50 natural ingredients.
9 Shop Bought Granola
These are promoted as being healthier than the sugary cereals that we have eaten for years. However, when you look at the nutritional value of them, there is very little difference and in fact some of them will have higher sugar content than the children’s cereals!! This is because they are made with syrups, dried fruits and chocolate shavings. There tends to be very little protein and not much fibre in them.
If you fancy granola, I recommend making your own. That way you will know exactly what is in it. I have created a SMASH Granola and it is so delicious! There is very little sugar in it and it is high in protein and fibre - the perfect way to start the day. It is absolutely gorgeous as a topping on a SMASH Smoothie Bowl. The Granola recipe is one of the recipes in the SMASH Way, everyone loves it
This will lead to issues throughout the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it will set you up for a highly productive day when eaten. If you skip breakfast it can lead to tiredness, sluggishness, poor concentration and performance.
You will also tend to over eat later in the day as you are hungrier then (your body is trying to get your to make up the extra calories). When you are hungrier, you tend to make poorer food choices and if you eat too late in the day, your body tends to store it as fat as it can’t burn it off. When you skip breakfast you also tend to crave sugary foods or caffeine for energy which causes further problems.
Fasting is great, but load it from the back end of the day rather than the front end of the day.
Make sure that you have a breakfast to boost you in the morning. Once you get into the habit of doing it you will feel the benefit and will never turn back. You will be more productive during the day and you could even lose a bit of weight by just introducing breakfast into your daily routine.
By becoming more aware of what you are doing and eating you will be able to make little changes that can dramatic changes to your life. You will learn how to make a really healthy breakfast when you start eating The SMASH Way. Breakfast is so important and the best way to start the day, regardless of what time you have it at.
Yours in Health and Happiness