Grab and go breakfast options have become increasingly popular in recent years but are these quick fixes providing us with the right nutrition we need to start the day?
What does a healthy balanced breakfast look like? It ideally should contain carbohydrate such as wholegrain toast or cereal, protein such as eggs or milk/yogurt and a portion of fruit/vegetables. Sit-down breakfasts can seem a little time consuming, therefore breakfast biscuits and more recently breakfast drinks, have become increasingly popular. Are these convenient options good for us?
Breakfast biscuits: These types of products can apparently release energy slowly over several hours and as part of a balanced diet provide the body with the essential energy required to start the day. For a complete breakfast you’re advised to eat them with a yogurt for protein, a piece of fruit and a cup of tea for hydration to create a balanced breakfast. This sounds okay in theory but how easy it is to just pick up the biscuits and munch on them like a snack forgetting the yogurt and fruit! Sugar content is also quite high so consider as an occasional breakfast.
Cereal bars: There are a huge amount of cereal bars on the market – some are ‘healthy’ some are not. The best ones to look out for are those made from dried fruit, nuts and seeds only – avoiding any added free sugars. These are usually small in size so will most likely not be the most filling breakfast on their own.
Breakfast drinks: Another on-the-go alternative with many brands now serving up breakfast in a bottle, claiming to offer an all-in-one solution by delivering protein, energy and fibre. You should check the sugar content of these products before consuming and if high consume only occasionally. It’s easy to drink a lot more calories than eat in one go – for example in a smoothie it may contain several portions of fruit (and vegetables) and some added fruit juice, you can easily drink this quickly but you probably wouldn’t sit down and eat an apple, banana, and handful of strawberries in one go. So think before you drink!
So in order to make your breakfast the best it can be we recommended always choosing wholegrain bread, natural yogurt, poaching or boiling eggs, grilling rather than frying for your cooked breakfast and when having fruit juice or a smoothie making it 150ml - it counts as one of your 5 a day. And add fruit in where you can, you can get 2 of your 5 a day just from breakfast!
Better breakfast suggestions:
- Porridge topped with fruit (fresh/frozen/dried), nuts or seeds - look out for sugar content in flavoured sachets and pots
- Bircher museli (oats soaked in milk, yogurt and often fruit juice with fruit and nuts) - great to prepare the night before
- Low sugar, wholegrain breakfast cereal, such as Weetabix, with milk or yogurt and fruit
- Wholegrain toast with a poached egg and a small portion of smoked salmon
- Avocado on wholegrain toast
- Reduced sugar and salt baked beans on wholegrain toast with a poached egg
- A healthier cooked breakfast; grilled tomatoes, grilled bacon, mushrooms, wholegrain toast and poached egg(s)
- A 150ml serving of fruit smoothie containing milk/yogurt and oats/nuts/seeds