Why you should eat break­fast

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about their health.

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Ques­tion: I’m look­ing for dif­fer­ent op­tions for break­fast, as I’m a bit bored with the muesli I have most morn­ings. What are some nu­tri­tious break­fast op­tions?

There is one piece of ad­vice that most nu­tri­tion­ists reach unan­i­mous agree­ment with and that is the im­por­tance of eat­ing break­fast. Start­ing your day with the right nu­tri­tion is as es­sen­tial as keep­ing the petrol tank in your car topped up with the right fuel.

Ev­i­dence sug­gests eat­ing a nour­ish­ing break­fast is one of the best habits you can adopt to im­prove your health and well­ness. Its many ben­e­fits in­clude ev­ery­thing from im­proved men­tal func­tion to weight loss, weight man­age­ment and im­proved mood.

Turn con­ven­tion on its head and opt for a break­fast high in plant foods. Try lightly steamed or stir-fried veg­eta­bles with a fist­sized serv­ing of pro­tein or start the day with a green smoothie. Higher pro­tein break­fasts de­crease ghre­lin lev­els (the hunger hor­mone) while high-carb break­fasts can do the op­po­site. Hav­ing said that, you know your body bet­ter than any­one else does and what fu­els you may dif­fer. Many peo­ple enjoy bircher mues­lis or home­made nut-based mues­lis and feel en­er­gised by th­ese choices.

Pay­ing at­ten­tion to what gives you en­ergy and vi­tal­ity is crit­i­cal in help­ing you bet­ter understand the needs of your in­di­vid­ual body.

Nour­ish­ing break­fast ideas:

Omelette filled with greens and herbs.

Bircher muesli made with oats (if tol­er­ated), nuts and seeds and a small amount of fruit, prefer­ably fresh.

For a quick break­fast on the run try av­o­cado and lemon juice or nut but­ter on good qual­ity toast.

Poached eggs with greens with/ with­out good qual­ity toast.

Break­fast smoothie with berries, ba­nana, nuts or seeds or av­o­cado and greens.

Ques­tion: I’m an of­fice snacker, I find my­self eat­ing things I wouldn’t nor­mally eat at home just be­cause it’s in front of me at work, do you have any tips to avoid this mind­less snack­ing?

Many peo­ple find them­selves reach­ing for food when they’re not truly hun­gry whether that is at work, home or while study­ing. Overeat­ing or mind­less eat­ing Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

of­ten comes from emo­tional pain, bore­dom, or when seek­ing en­ergy (typ­i­cally in the af­ter­noon slump). De­hy­dra­tion can also play a role.

If you are a stress snacker, a five-minute walk or stretch­ing in the park at the end of the street can re­solve the need that you may try and ful­fil with a packet of chips or a gi­ant cookie.

How­ever, for many peo­ple a bar­rier to nour­ish­ing food choices is hav­ing healthy and nour­ish­ing choices avail­able. So by hav­ing your own nour­ish­ing snacks on hand such as seed and nut balls, or a piece of fruit, you re­duce the reliance on bought snacks which can con­tain poor qual­ity fats, salt, re­fined sugar and preser­va­tives.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for direct, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Dr Libby’s new book

is avail­able at all good bookstores and from dr­libby.com.

A fruit smoothie is a quick al­ter­na­tive if you need break­fast on the go.

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