It’s often called the most important meal of the day, yet rather than sitting down to a healthy breakfast many of us are still guilty of grabbing something to eat on the go, or even skipping it all together.
Dalton Wong, founder of TwentyTwo Training, co-author of The Feel Good Plan and the man behind Jennifer Lawrence’s healthy and happy lifestyle, gives us his top 10 tips for enjoying a nutritious and delicious breakfast to improve health and give you the energy to enjoy everything life throws at you for the rest of the day.
1. Take advantage of the fact that your metabolism is most efficient in the morning.
People who eat a large breakfast and a light dinner typically lose two-and-a-half times more weight than those who eat a small breakfast and a big dinner.
2. Variety is the key to getting all the nutrients you need.
Experiment with different foods and mix up your menu. Pancakes, smoked salmon, blueberries with creamy Greek yogurt – they're all good.
3. Eggs are the most filling breakfast.
A complete egg delivers the perfect balance of protein and healthy fat, and the yolk contains the most nutrients. They only take three minutes to cook – or even faster if you keep a bowl of beaten eggs in the fridge, ready to go.
4. Sneak greens into your breakfast.
Add asparagus to poached eggs or throw last night's sautéed veggies into an omelet. In addition to their many vitamins and minerals, adding more magnesium-rich foods into your diet such as dark leafy greens can also help you to sleep better. If you don't fancy eating vegetables in the morning, blend a green juice and drink them instead.
5. If breakfast isn't breakfast for you unless it involves toast and cereal, choose the feelgood options and add protein.
Try scrambled eggs on rye or porridge with a scoop of protein powder. The protein will also help you to feel fuller for longer and resist any unhealthy mid-morning snacks.
6. Watch out for hidden sugar.
It will set you up for a mid-morning slump. Muffins and pastries are obvious no-nos, but sugar also lurks in 90% of processed foods, including ketchup, granola, flavoured yogurt and orange juice.
7. Want a healthy sweet fix?
Chop strawberries into cereal or grate apple into your bircher. Or add some fresh blueberries to your Greek yogurt, their high levels of Vitamin C will help you feel calmer and get your morning off to a better start. Fresh fruit beats juice or dried fruit every time as you get more flavour, more fibre and less sugar.
8. We're all dehydrated in the morning
Eight hours without fluids makes us sluggish. Have a big glass of water by your bed for when you wake up and another with your breakfast. Within 10 minutes of rehydrating, your metabolic rate rises 30 percent. For an even bigger health boost add some fresh lemon to balance the acidity of your blood.
9. Is it coffee o'clock yet?
Make your coffee count by drinking a cup when cortisol naturally dips in the day, so you feel more alert in an energy slump. Caffeine increases the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, so try waiting until after breakfast to have your first cup. Around 10 am is the perfect time.
10. And finally, if you don't feel hungry, it's crazy to force yourself to eat.
It takes four days for your body to go into starvation mode and suppress metabolism, so a missed or mid-morning breakfast won't mess you up. Enjoy an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning or get up and do some stretches, then eat when you're ready.