For many of us, mornings are the busiest time of the day when we’re rushing to get to work or school on time. Even during the most strict periods of lockdown when we were all staying at home, breakfast could often be pushed to the bottom of the priority list!
But carving out some time for a delicious, healthy breakfast will get your day off to the very best start, nutritionally and mentally.
It seems there’s a good reason why breakfast is known as the most important day of the day! We asked our nutritionist Vicky Hughes to share some reasons why.
Why is it so important that we eat breakfast?
After a long night without food, breakfast is when we ‘break the fast’ – this is where the name originates from! The period from our last meal of the day to breakfast time is normally the longest time we go without eating.
Throughout the night, your body will have been busy using its energy stores for essential growth and repair. Breakfast is the first opportunity to refuel with nutrients and energy for the day ahead.
Like with any period of fasting, the body breaks down glycogen and releases it into the bloodstream as glucose overnight. This helps keep our blood sugar levels stable and is also essential for the brain, as it relies almost entirely on glucose for energy!
Breakfast replenishes those glycogen stores, making us feel mentally alert and giving us energy.
What impact can skipping breakfast have on our bodies?
Skipping breakfast or even not eating enough can really impact our overall health and wellbeing.
Firstly, it can make it harder to concentrate and leave us feeling sluggish, even when we’ve had enough sleep.
It can also cause us to miss hunger and fullness cues – leading us to make less healthy food choices throughout the day. This means that skipping breakfast can have weight loss implications too.
When people don’t eat breakfast, they often snack more – and consume more calories. One-third of people who took part in a LivLife survey back in April 2020 said they were snacking more during lockdown. A healthy breakfast is even more crucial during these stressful times to help balance blood sugar, make you feel fuller for longer and reduce those snack cravings.
In the same survey, one-quarter said their snack habits hadn’t changed – it would be interesting to see if subsequent lockdowns have affected this!
If you skip breakfast to help reduce your overall calorie intake for the day, this can actually be counterproductive. Research shows that people who eat breakfast are often more physically active in the morning than those who skip it, meaning that they burn more calories.
And eating breakfast is not just about getting energy – it’s also a chance to provide our bodies with vital nutrition. Many essential nutrients only come from food – and many of the most popular (healthy) breakfast options provide key nutrients such as folate, calcium, iron, B vitamins and fibre.
What is the best thing to eat for breakfast?
It might be tempting to reach for sugary cereals or baked goods in the morning, but making clever choices will give you the best possible start to the day.
Like all good meals, the ideal breakfast combines a balance of quality protein, healthy fats and nutrient-dense carbohydrates. This is the perfect balance to help stay feeling fuller for longer, maintain your energy levels and provide your body with important nutrients.
Breakfast often needs to be quick and easy. Seeded toast with eggs and tomatoes or natural yoghurt with oats and fruit are brilliant options. It’s best to avoid refined carbs like white bread and foods with added sugar to avoid a mid-morning crash!
For more brilliant breakfast options, take a look at our mouth watering recipes here.
What can you tell us about eating a low carb breakfast?
Eating breakfast foods that are higher in protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer, helping you avoid eating excess calories as the day goes on.
You don’t need to completely avoid all carbs at breakfast. Beans, for example, contain small amounts of nutrient-dense carbs as well as protein. Leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, asparagus and mushrooms can give you the carbohydrates and nutrients your body needs while maintaining a low carb dietChoose these and avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread and added sugar products.
Our mushroom and kale on toast recipe demonstrates how to balance protein, carbs and fats for the perfect low carb breakfast.
What are the benefits of eating LivLife bread for breakfast?
As well as being low carb, LivLife bread contains wholemeal flour and wheat bran that are rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. These flours also contain more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.
LivLife’s healthy mix of seeds provides your body with fibre, healthy fats and good quality proteins – and it’s low in sugar too. All of this makes it suitable for people following a reduced carb diet, providing them with a nutrient-dense, macronutrient balanced meal.
Is there anything else you’d recommend to ensure we get a better breakfast?
A recent study found that on average, people spend just 9 minutes eating breakfast with others in their household. This is less than the 14 minutes at lunch and 22 minutes at dinner. 25% of people asked said they didn’t eat breakfast with anyone at all.
Breakfast is clearly a meal that is rushed – but as we have seen – it is so important for our body and our brain.
By taking a more mindful approach to breakfast, we can turn it into an enjoyable part of our daily routine. Try to find breakfast foods that you really like and take the time to enjoy it while sitting down. You might find yourself looking forward to getting out of bed each day!
You could spend some time journaling your thoughts or setting your intentions for the day while you eat. Practise gratitude. Spend time chatting to the people you live with about the day ahead.
As lockdown continues and we’re all feeling a bit more tired, these small shifts in our routine can make big changes to our mental health, helping us face each day with more energy, clarity and a sense of calm. And as we transition out of lockdown, this healthy habit could help us adjust to the ‘new normal’.
Thank you to Vicky for these valuable insights. At LivLife, we love a healthy breakfast and trying out different recipes. If you’d like some inspiration, why not try our nut butter on toast or ultimate bacon and eggs on toast.