We all know how important it is to start the day with a good breakfast. Research suggests it sets us up for the day ahead, helps us to stay focused and boosts our metabolism. We’re told that eating breakfast makes us less likely to be overweight, and if we don’t we’ll be so hungry that we’ll eat more later. Many experts are so passionately attached to this message it’s as if the world might end if we skip breakfast!
However, for every study in support of eating breakfast, there are studies countering this. Intermittent fasting is changing the way we think. Research suggests that regularly allowing a 12-16 hour gap between our evening meal and our first meal of the following day could be really beneficial. It helps us to get control of our hormones while improving cellular function. It can also lower our risk of chronic illness as well as being brilliant for reducing body fat.
Well yes and no – it’s really not as simple as a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
There are those of us who seem to function really well with no breakfast, and can stay focused easily until lunchtime. Then there are those of us who would simply keel over if we left the house without eating something, and would be completely unable to work. It all boils down to hormonal balance in the body, which is tied in with stress levels and blood sugar levels. This is where personalised nutrition can be super helpful, when figuring out what works best for you.
Whatever you decide to do, to eat breakfast or to skip it, or simply to eat it slightly later, one thing really DOES matter…… make your breakfast a good one!
The absolute worst thing you can do when heading off to your desk job, is to quaff down lots of sugary cereal and toast…or worse…a pastry or muffin and juice. These types of high carbohydrate breakfast will cause a spike in blood sugar levels, trigger the release of insulin and put your body straight in to ‘fat storage’ mode for several hours (not great if you’re watching your weight). When blood sugar plummets mid-morning, you’re then more likely to reach for more sugary carbohydrates or coffee as you begin to lack focus and feel fatigued.
Dust off your Nutribullet and keep it on the work top – you’re more likely to use it. Throw in half an avocado, some frozen berries, half a banana, some cashews and a couple of tablespoons of whole flaxseeds. Top up with milk of your choice and blend. To make it even quicker, and more substantial, try using a good quality protein powder instead of nuts and seeds. Most products provide about 20g protein per serving, which should easily keep you energised and focussed for several hours. Smoothies can be blended at home and taken with you as you leave.
As simple as it sounds, a good quality rye bread with a nut butter of your choice will provide protein and complex carbs and takes all of five minutes. Take care to choose a product without added sugar, such as Whole Earth or Meridian.
Breakfast on the go at its simplest and most basic. Cook the night before and have them ready in an airtight container. Throw a few cherry tomatoes in if you have them.
When you have more time at weekends, make up this tasty granola. It’s packed with protein and healthy fats from the nuts, seeds and coconut oil. This will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container. It’s good eaten on its own, with some berries, yogurt or your choice of milk. It also doubles as a handy portable snack for when energy levels dip:
Combine 250g flaked almonds with 140g each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Stir in 200g of desiccated coconut and two teaspoons cinnamon. Melt 30g virgin coconut oil in a small pan, and stir in 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of good quality vanilla extract. Pour this over the dry mixture and stir thoroughly to coat, so that it’s all nice and glossy. Spread it all out in a large baking tin that has been lined with a sheet of parchment, and bake for 20-30 minutes at 180 degrees. You may need to turn the mixture a few times, until it’s browned fairly evenly.
Indulge the child within and try chocolate overnight oats. All the work is done the night before, and this also keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge; plus it s super tasty!
Put one mug full of rolled oats in a large bowl. Add a mug full of your choice of milk and a drizzle of maple syrup. Then add a sliced banana and two dessert spoons full of cocoa powder (unsweetened). Stir well and leave in fridge overnight. You can eat this cold, or heat it up. Make double the quantity so you have some for the next day. For a protein boost, use a good quality protein powder, such as Nuzest Rich Chocolate instead of cocoa powder. You could also use raw cacao powder (a wonderful source of antioxidants) but you may need to use less, due to its stronger taste.
To conclude, try to make the first meal of the day really work for you by including some good quality protein. This will support blood sugar levels and keep you focused for several hours. A good breakfast on the go is entirely do-able and doesn’t have to be complicated.
If you would like to find out more about our brand new Nutrition MOT’s and elite nutrition package – all delivered electronically contact us today, or find out more by downloading our quick guide below:
Tonic's workplace wellbeing app offers unlimited access to a library of health, wellbeing and lifestyle guidance and support.
We know that supporting engagement consistently leads to a more productive, healthier and resilient workforce. Therefore, our unique and innovative approach utilises intuitive digital technology, blended with personalised on-site services delivered by the Tonic team.