You’ve heard it before – it’s famed as the most important meal of the day. But why is breakfast so good?
Breakfast, literally, breaks the fast from overnight, fuelling your body with energy and nutrients for the day ahead. So, breakfast is like the platform you use to dive into the day. Start the day right and the day ahead is looking good from the get-go!
In nutrition research, eating breakfast is linked to many good things. There’s an association between eating breakfast and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as increased overall nutrient intakes for key nutrients like fibre, calcium, iron, folate and vitamin C. Research suggests skipping breakfast impairs cognitive performance (so little brains don’t work as well!) , and there are associations between skipping breakfast and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Back in 2014, an Australian Bureau of Statistics Census at School Survey found that as many as 1 in 7 kids weren’t eating breakfast on a given day. And similar numbers of adults were found to skip breaky back in the 2013 Australian Health Survey, and 2012 National Nutrition Survey. So if this is a common occurrence in your house, it’s time to take action!
Set aside even as little as 5-10 extra minutes in the morning routine to sit and eat. And given that breakfast is one-third of our main meals, it makes sense to make it count nutritionally.
Breakfasts higher in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and lower in free sugars are the way to go.
How do we do this? It’s as simple as choosing minimally processed foods, (like food from the major groups of the Australian Guide to Healthy eating, or AGHE, below), and getting your kids on board with the choices! When kids have some input and ownership of the meals that are chosen for the family, they’re more likely to eat them.
When talking to kids I love using the analogy of foods that make you GO, GROW and GLOW.
GO foods are the grains or carbohydrate sources – the yellow area from the AGHE. They provide energy, fibre and if you’re choosing whole grains, lots of metabolism-boosting B vitamins.
GROW foods are what you might typically think as the protein sources – meat, eggs, nuts, dairy – giving protein and essential nutrients like iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc – important for building muscles and bones. These are the blue and purple sections of the AGHE.
GLOW foods are those foods that help your body feel great – they’re from green sections of the AGHE. Filled with fruits and vegetables, they’re packed with all the good stuff – fibre, prebiotics, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
So a breaky that ticks all 3 big GO, GROW and GLOW boxes is a great start.
How do we achieve this? Try some of the easy ideas below:
· A smoothie (milk, yoghurt and fresh fruit) & a slice or two of grainy toast with your favourite topping
· Grainy granola, with oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, served with milk or yoghurt
· A breakfast wrap – multigrain wrap, filled with scrambled eggs, tomato and spinach
· A jaffle, made with wholemeal bread, filled with baked beans and cheese
· Good old fashioned porridge oats made with milk, and topped with banana and cinnamon
· Rye sourdough with tomato, avocado and crumbled feta
The list goes on!
So give your family breakfast the once over. Look at what you’re regularly serving, and where you might have gaps. Pop in something from the food group that’s missing to give your breaky a nutrient boost and supercharge your day!