GET YOUR DAY OFF TO A GOOD START
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when was the last time we really thought about what we eat in the morning? A recent study by University College London reveals skipping breakfast and irregular sleep patterns contribute to childhood obesity.
Anne-Sophie Bourhis, nutritionist at Kellogg’s Middle East, has observed that kids and adults in the UAE don’t practice healthy breakfast habits. “Because of busy lifestyles, it seems more people, both locals and expats, tend to skip breakfast or replace it with a hot beverage only,” she says. “It is important, especially for children as they need nutritious meals for their growth and development. Otherwise they may not eat until lunch – a long time since dinner the night before. This hardly gives them the start they need to learn and be their best at school.”
She adds there is a positive link between eating breakfast and mental and physical performance. “While we are sleeping, the body still needs energy to keep the brain, lungs, heart and other organs working. By eating breakfast, you restock the energy stores that have been depleted overnight and this helps you begin the day with a tank full of the right fuel,” Bourhis explains.
“If you start your day without eating, your body is forced to draw fuel from its own energy stores until lunchtime. The stress hormones that mobilise these energy reserves can have a negative impact on mental performance, leaving you feeling irritable, tired and unable to concentrate, due to the lack of glucose, which is responsible for fuelling your brain.”
She reminds everyone that what we choose to eat for the first meal of the day matters. “Breakfast should provide key nutrients, particularly those that may lack in the diet, such as calcium, iron, vitamin D, folate or fibre. Nutritionists recommend breakfast is composed of a cereal product (like breakfast cereal, bread), with dairy (milk, yogurt) and a piece of fruit or vegetables to get the energy and nutrients you need to start your day.” A good variety of food groups is the key. “However busy you are, and however you choose to live your life, it’s worth finding a breakfast that suits you, your family and your lifestyle.”
EAT WELL: Nutritionist