Healthy Living Tips: Week 3 – Breakfast

Breakfast is widely regarded as the most important meal of the day and this week we look at the reasons why.

People who eat a healthy breakfast:

  • Tend to have higher intakes of micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamins, and a lower intake of fat. They are also more likely to have a better overall diet quality.
  • Have enhanced cognitive and academic performance.
  • Have enhanced psychosocial function i.e. a person’s psychological development the interaction with their social environment.
  • Have lower cholesterol, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Are more likely to maintain a controlled weight.

On the other hand, skipping breakfast is associated with health-compromising behaviours in adults and adolescents. You are more likely to be hungry during the day and end up grabbing a snack that is high in calories and fat but low in nutrients and fibre. Teenagers who ate breakfast cereals more than five times a week weighed less, had a smaller waist size and lower blood sugar levels than those who rarely ate cereal. Research among adults show that people who eat breakfast are more likely to be within the ideal weight range than people who skip breakfast.

So what constitutes a good healthy breakfast?

Breakfast should make up about one-quarter to one-third of your total day’s nutrients and be loaded with good amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Here is what forms the core of a healthy breakfast.

  • Whole grains – Muesli and porridge are great breakfast cereals. They contain plenty of “slow burn” starchy carbohydrates, and fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Whole grain breads are also good for a healthy breakfast however these may tempt you to smear crazy amounts of butter. Avoid sweet pastries like Danishes. Remember, breakfast is supposed to rejuvenate and give you loads of energy for your day. Consuming lots of fat and sugars will get your day off to a sluggish start.
  • Low-fat dairy – (semi-) skimmed milk and low-fat yogurts are a great source of low-fat dairy and these can be blended with fruits for amazing breakfast drinks.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – Try to choose raw fruit as opposed to fruit juices because of the fibre content you’ll get. Dried fruit are great for toppings or for women trying to boost their iron intake.

Anyway, that’s enough of me blabbing on. If you want more info see:

C. Matthys, S. De Henauw, M. Bellemans, M. De Maeyer and G. De Backer. Breakfast habits affect overall nutrient profiles in adolescents. Public Health Nutrition: 10(4): 413–421, July 2006

SUSU recommends that you always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health, or plan to change your diet dramatically.  Please treat the content within this blog as general information only, and not as a diagnosis.  We cannot accept responsibility for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor do we endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites


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2 Comments on "Healthy Living Tips: Week 3 – Breakfast"

  1. Jonny
    Laura Gardner
    04/10/2011 at 10:51 pm Permalink

    Just want to add that eggs rising cholesterol is an outdated myth and that actually they do not. Otherwise a great article.

  2. Jonny
    Jonny Brooks
    05/10/2011 at 10:45 am Permalink

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for this. I have done a little research in the mean time and it turns out that we’re both right and wrong. See the following research article

    It states that in general, there is no connection between dietary cholesterol intake and disease progression (by disease we generally mean coronary heart disease although it is often implied to relate to cholesterol levels). About 70% ot the population may not have an increase in blood cholesterol level due to consumption of egg yolk but about 30% will. It depends on the individual i.e. people with diabetes are identified as those who may be at risk.

    So all in all, “most people could eat as many eggs as they wanted without damaging their health.” (As quoted from the BBC article you posted) but there may be minority of who do have to watch their intake of egg yolk if they are worried about their blood cholesterol levels.

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