Nutritional Health For All

Breakfast - A Great Start to Your Day!

As the name suggests, breakfast literally means breaking your overnight fast. It may be up to 14 hours since your last meal, and your brain and body need to re-fuel to perform at their best. A healthy breakfast will kick-start your day by filling you up until break-time and helping you to concentrate. The right breakfast can provide you with lots of essential nutrients like fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins.

Some surprising facts about breakfast!

  • Adults who consume breakfast everyday are less likely to develop metabolic complications such as diabetes.
  • Regular breakfast consumption is associated with a lower Type 2 Diabetes risk in older women.
  • Those who enjoy breakfast are more likely to have a balanced diet.
  • Children have a lower risk of becoming obese if they regularly eat breakfast with their family and have parents who are strict with respect to their children’s breakfast consumption.
  • Regularly eating breakfast is positively associated with academic performance in children.

“But I don’t have time for breakfast!”

The morning is a busy time with everyone rushing to get ready for work, college or school, but a little organisation and planning can go a long way to fitting in the most important meal of the day…

  • Prepare your breakfast the night before: Pour cereal in a bowl and cover with cling film to keep it fresh; set the table; make sure there is milk in the fridge.
  • If a sit-down breakfast is not possible, pack a piece of fruit, yoghurt, bagel or smoothie in your bag to eat while travelling in the morning.
  • Why not set up a breakfast club at work? A great way to catch up with colleagues and to give your brain the fuel it needs.
  • If your child is missing out on breakfast due to time pressures in the morning, enquire about a breakfast club at your child’s school. Check out our factsheet “A good practice guide for breakfast clubs”

Breakfast Ideas

“I have time to sit down in the morning...”

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereal with low-fat milk.
  • Porridge made with low-fat milk and fresh or dried fruit. Add a tablespoon of seeds or nuts for a heart healthy crunch
  • For a quicker option try microwavable oats
  • Scrambled egg on toast
  • An omelette
  • A homemade smoothie
  • Beans on wholegrain toast
  • Natural yoghurt and fresh fruit salad
  • Wholegrain toast with grilled mushrooms

TOP TIP! Low-fat milk contains the same calcium as full-fat milk. It has less fat and calories so it’s better for your heart and waistline!

“I’m running out the door...”

  • Wholegrain toast with a banana
  • A piece of fruit and a yoghurt
  • A homemade smoothie you made the night before
  • A bagel with reduced fat spread, peanut butter or cheese
  • Wholemeal or fruit scone with reduced-fat spread or jam

TOP TIP! Choosing a breakfast high in fibre (eg. wholegrain cereal, wholegrain toast or porridge) will keep you fuller for longer and is healthy for your heart and gut.

“Eating out for breakfast...”

  • If you’re eating out for breakfast, choose a restaurant or café or that serves fresh fruit, low-fat yoghurt, wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread and rolls, porridge, fresh smoothies, pure fruit juices and low fat milk drinks.
  • Limit pastries and cooked breakfasts to special occasions.
  • If the “full Irish” is your only option, try to choose the following: lean grilled rashers, scrambled/boiled/poached egg, grilled tomato, mushrooms, beans and wholemeal toast. Avoid sausages, pudding and fried eggs as these are high in fat.

Getting tired of the same, boring breakfast cereal? why not make your own – check out this delicious homemade muesli recipe

Delicious Homemade Muesli - This tasty homemade muesli is sure to get you up in the morning. It’s full of fibre to give you a slow release of energy ‘til lunch.

Ingredients

300g jumbo oats

100g Allbran/Branflakes

25g wheatgerm

100g raisins

140g chopped ready-to-eat apricots

50g golden linseeds

         

Method

  1. Mix everything in a large bowl
  2. Portion out as required and enjoy with milk.
  3. Store for up to 2 months in an airtight container

Written and updated by Eileen O Brien MINDI, January 2016. Review date: January 2019.

© 2016 Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute, INDI. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with dietitian.  It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

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