Breakfast is often described as one of the most important meals of the day. Breakfast--literally a break after a period of fasting--restores blood glucose levels that have declined during the night and ensures you have adequate energy to begin your day. A good breakfast can help stave off hunger and sustain energy levels throughout the morning, reducing your chances of suffering a mid-morning energy slump and associated sugar cravings. A healthy breakfast is often associated with weight loss and weight management. Numerous studies indicate that breakfast eaters are generally closer to their ideal weight than non-breakfast eaters.
Eggs are rich in protein and essential fats which means they are satisfying to eat and keep you feeling fuller for longer. An average egg contains around 76 calories, 6.5 grams of protein and 5.6 grams of fat. Eggs cook very quickly and can be poached, scrambled, fried, boiled or made in to an omelet as preferred. If you want to save some fat calories, you can remove some of the yolks as this is the part of the egg that contains the majority of the fat. It is worth noting, however, that most of the vitamins contained in an egg is found in the yolk.
Oatmeal is a low glycemic grain that provides slow releasing carbohydrate, soluble fiber and is also low in fat. The high fiber content of oatmeal means that it stays in your stomach for longer which promotes a feeling of fullness. When made with milk, oatmeal also provides essential protein and calcium--both important factors in weight loss. Oatmeal is very quick and easy to prepare and can be heated in a microwave to save time. You can also eat oatmeal cold by soaking the oats in milk overnight and then eating straight from the fridge the following morning. Serve with fresh fruit or a small amount of honey if you want a sweeter tasting oatmeal.
Smoothies can be prepared quickly and easily making them ideal for when you need a good breakfast in a hurry. Smoothies are also ideal if you find that you aren't very hungry first thing in the morning. To make a smoothie, pour around half a pint of water or milk into a blender, add soft fruits e.g. a banana, berries or similar, add some whey protein powder or natural yogurt and then blend until smooth. If you prefer you can use almond, rice or soya milk as your liquid base. You can spice up your smoothie by adding natural peanut or almond butter, frozen berries, honey, dry oats or any number of other ingredients but be aware that these can all increase the calorie content of your smoothie.
Breakfast cereals are quick to prepare, tasty and satisfying to eat. On the downside, many breakfast cereals contain so much sugar that they are broken down by your digestive system very quickly and can leave you hungry soon after consumption as your blood sugar levels initially rise very quickly and then fall even quicker! If you choose to consume breakfast cereals make sure you select products that are low in sugar, high in fiber, have undergone minimal amounts of processing and contain as few artificial additives as possible. Whole grain cereals such as unsweetened muesli are a good choice as are bran based cereals such as bran flakes and bran sticks. Even the healthiest breakfast cereals can be very calorie dense so you should endeavor to practice good portion control by measuring the amount of cereal you eat by using a cup to ensure you don't consume too much.
- "The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition"; Anita Bean; 2009