Let me start off by saying, that each and every meal is important – it is an opportunity to refuel, replenish and nourish your body, but there is good evidence to support that, yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day (if you had to pick one).
Why is breakfast so important?
Evidence shows that people who habitually eat breakfast tend to have a lower BMI, may have lower circulating LDL cholesterol and better diet quality overall, particularly in regards to carbohydrate and fibre intake. (1, 2,3) Eating a quality breakfast kick starts the body’s metabolism after an overnight fast (aim for a 10 – 12hour fast) and provides a fresh supply of glucose to the brain to tackle the day ahead. Children who regularly eat breakfast clearly demonstrate this advantage and can be seen to have better concentration and attention, they perform better academically and are less likely to be disruptive in class. (4)
Eating breakfast may also help to reduce binging on less healthy foods later in the day (more on how to prevent diet ‘blow outs here).
Are all Breakfasts created equal?
Manufactures have been pretty enthusiastic with this idea that breakfast is the most important meal and have developed literally hundreds of breakfast specific foods and although something is probably better than nothing we certainly shouldn’t consider all breakfast foods to be equal.
Now there are no hard and fast rules on what constitutes a breakfast food – if you want to have a roast meal with all the trimmings, go for it! Obviously this wouldn’t be a quick or convenient choice for most people but the point is you are ‘allowed’ to think beyond cereal or toast. If little Suzie says she wants to eat Lunchbox sushi for breakfast, what’s the harm? – It has good whole grains, a little protein and veggies, which to me sounds like a perfect way to start the day.
Highly processed breakfast cereals (especially the ones marketed towards kids), usually lack the fibre and protein needed to give you sustained energy across the morning and are usually loaded with added sugar which can trigger restless behaviour, irritability and poor concentration as blood sugar levels drop quickly (note that this is not the same as hyperactivity which is unrelated to sugar).
Ideally aim for something like little Suzie’s Lunchbox Sushi which contains whole grains, lots of fibre, has a little protein and naturally contains some good fats. Of course add a serve of fruit and/or veg too.
Great Breakfast Ideas
Natural muesli with seeds or nuts, served with milk and fruit would tick all boxes, as would avocado, cheese and tomato on a slice of dense grainy toast. No added salt baked bean on grainy toast are always a winner in our house too.
Eggs – scrambled, poached, boiled or sunny side, are all good options; serve with some baby spinach on a slice of sourdough and you got yourself a great breakfast.
Even grabbing a few almonds, a glass of milk and a banana as you run out the door would give you a good start to the day.
Homemade muesli bars or muffins could even be a good option if you are really time poor.
If you still want more ideas, try some of these:
Apple & Pumpkin Butter on Grainy Toast
Banana Coconut Pancakes
Raw Buckwheat Porridge
Spinach, Fetta & Sundried Tomato Frittata
The Monthly Myth Bust
Using research and evidence to bust and debunk all those Nutrition and Fitness myths you've been wondering about.