Energise Your Mornings with Breakfast
By now, you’ve heard it dozens of times; breakfast is a very important meal. It’s the way in which we “break” our overnight “fast”, and give our bodies a much-needed boost. By eating breakfast, we’re less likely to overeat later in the day.
According to Esther Selman, the official dietician for our BH-20 challenge, breakfast offers benefits to all. If you skip breakfast, she explained, you may lack sufficient energy to perform daily activities. It can also lower one’s risk of acquiring noncommunicable diseases and aid in weight management.
“A study funded by the National Institute of Health found that men who skip breakfast have a 27 per cent higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those who eat breakfast. “Studies have demonstrated that those who eat breakfast regularly maintain their weight better than those who skip breakfast. This is true for both children and adults. Multiple studies of school age children have reported a significant increase in scholastic scores,” she said.
However, you won’t derive benefits from consuming an unhealthy breakfast. For example, you should avoid saturated fats; these fats increase bad cholesterol, which cause narrowing of the arteries and restrict blood flow. Instead, you should use healthy fats like olive oil, avocado pear, nuts and seeds. Esther noted that breakfast should include mainly macro nutrients and micro nutrients:
“These macro nutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, provide good nutrition to energise the body and prevent disease. Meanwhile, micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals that are obtained mainly from fruits and vegetables.”
The nutrition expert said that eating a larger breakfast and no dinner helps:
• Keeps weight off
• Decreases ghrelin (a “hunger” hormone produced in the gut)
• Increases satiety
• Decreases hunger
• Decreases cravings
• Improves triglyceride
According to Esther, a complete breakfast includes:
• Complex carbohydrates - whole grains, ground provisions, starchy vegetables. Avoid processed carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar etc., because they are not the best food, contain no fibre, and can have damaging effects on the body. Excess sugar intake causes obesity, hyperglycemia, diabetes and other health problems.
• Low fat protein or plantbased protein - egg whites, lean meats/ chicken, milk products, nuts, seeds, peas, beans and lentils. Protein makes up a significant part of the meal as it helps in growth, development, body building and repair.
While everyone can benefit from a complete breakfast, Esther said it is especially important for those who are vulnerable; so, infants and children, pregnant and lactating moms, persons with chronic disease and critically ill patients should not skip breakfast. Esther said persons who are struggling with having breakfast and managing a healthy diet should:
• Start by choosing a small meal • Choose easy-to-prepare foods • Incorporate your favourite healthy options
• Choose healthy grab-and-go foods • Set SMART goals when selecting and managing a diet
• Choose a light supper so your stomach can rest. That way, it will be ready to receive breakfast the following day.
You can find interesting breakfast ideas in her cookbook, Breakfast Like a King.