Breakfast is still seen as the most important meal of the day and a great way to start your day off the healthiest way you can. Breakfast remains on the menu for nearly everyone, eaten by 95% of Brits.That breakfast is widely viewed, here in the UK, as the most important meal of the day, functioning for many as a springboard for healthy eating throughout the day, supports its place as a cornerstone meal occasion.
However, signs are pointing towards a generational shift in breakfast eating habits and seems that fewer of us eat the morning meal every day compared to past years. The older generations are more likely than younger people to eat breakfast at home every day and also have a lower repertoire of foods typically eaten. Traditional breakfast patterns seem to remain with those of us who are a little older! Growing up during a time, when there was time to eat breakfast and then most of us walked to school, mums might have been at home, or worked locally. With younger generations, most mums work, often leaving early and lots of children, teenagers are growing up, eating at nursery, school or with their childminder, if at all. So they are eating breakfast out of home, many doing so while on the go, and to eat a wider range of foods for breakfast. Additionally, these generations seem to snack much more, impacting on breakfast, they’ll often graze on smaller breakfast items throughout the morning rather than eating one big breakfast.
Family routines seem to be becoming much more fragmented and appear to be taking root among the younger generations. Consequently, breakfast habits are becoming more fragmented. Busy lifestyles are seeing people skip this important meal, eat it on the go or graze their way through the morning, fuelling demand for convenient products that can be eaten quickly and easily. Meanwhile, when time permits, brunch offers an attractive opportunity for people to spend time enjoying their morning meal, helping to counterbalance the stress of everyday life.
So why try to change this and keep a breakfast routine? Eating a healthy breakfast can help increase energy, mental focus, maintain a healthy body weight, protect the heart and maintain good health. Eating breakfast regularly is linked with a higher intake of various vitamins and minerals, which boost the likelihood of meeting your daily recommended intake for these nutrients. In fact, breakfast eaters usually get more fibre, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, and iron than those who skip breakfast. Additionally, breakfast gives you a chance to pre‐fuel for a workout or refuel from an earlier one, so don't short-change your body.
Some people avoid a morning meal in attempt to lose weight, but research shows that eating a healthy breakfast can actually help people lose weight. Running late or not enough time in the morning is another common excuse from breakfast skippers. But there are numerous healthy, portable breakfast choices that people can grab on the way out the door. Yogurt, fruit, and nuts are easy on‐the‐go options. Preparing these items, the night before can also help save time in the morning when you’re fighting the clock. These could also work, if you just can’t face food first thing in the morning, but are ravenous by 11am! We are all individual remember and if the very idea of breakfast makes you feel queasy, eat when you do feel like it, but have something prepped!
Look for my other blog on ‘Breakfasts on the go’ on the website.
Although I recommend eating breakfast, this doesn’t mean grabbing a croissant and coffee. In fact, research shows eating a high sugar/high carbohydrate breakfast can be detrimental in terms of appetite control and snacking later on in the day. Remember some cereals, breads, and muffins may look healthier than they really are. Pay attention to the ingredients and choose ones made of whole grains that contain minimal added sugar, check the labels! As with all meals, portion control is important. (There’s a blog on that too!) A bowl of whole‐grain granola can be a nutritious choice, but too large a portion can be scary when you look at the calories and sugar content.
Breakfast should be a nutritional powerhouse. Homemade smoothies can be a great way to boost your fruit and veggie intake that can be enjoyed during the morning commute. Oatmeal, Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts, and eggs with veggies are delicious ways to add protein and fibre to your morning and keep you full until lunch. Start your day off right and make a healthy breakfast part of your daily routine!