The Big Breakfast Question: to have or skip it?

We are constantly hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but is it? The government currently recommends that people eat breakfast and some research supports numerous claims that starting the day off with a meal actually aids weight loss.  However, a recent study opposes this idea. Only last year, researchers at Columbia University assigned people to one of three groups; one group ate basic oatmeal for breakfast, one ate a high in sugar meal of frosted flakes, and the last skipped breakfast altogether. Surprisingly, overweight people who skipped breakfast were the only group to lose weight.

But nutritional epidemiology is a very difficult disciple. It’s well known that research results are highly unpredictable and studies with positive results have a higher chance of getting published. Ironically, a lot of these nutritional studies are actually funded by the supplement manufacturers they are trailing. Whilst another problem with these studies is that a lot of the time the groups are too small or the study is done over too short of a time period to be viable.

However, it’s important to focus on the nutritional facts we know to be true.

I think the more important question is not whether you should have or skip breakfasts, it’s about what you are having for breakfast. If you tell me that you have a Starbucks caramel latte with a muffin or pastry then I would definitely tell you to skip it! When we wake up in the morning our blood sugar is at its lowest (of course that depends on when you had your last meal as well as what and how much you ate) so you should aim to have your breakfast within the first two hours of being awake. Firstly it’s important to start off with a glass of water, preferably with lemon, to rehydrate and alkalize your body after your nights sleep – it’s important to do this before you have any tea or coffee. Stay away from breakfast foods containing simple carbohydrates and sugar, such as white toast or cereal, as having too much sugar in your blood will switch your body to “storage” mode, so you’ll store more glucose.

The ideal breakfast should contain a mix of protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates. Here are some examples;

Poached eggs on sourdough bread with avocado or spinach

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

Plain probiotic yogurt with fresh berries

Porridge (with an option small serving of raw honey for sweetness) 

All of these are great breakfast options, but lets be honest, we don’t always have time to cook eggs - or sometimes we feel eating something a little different.

If you have a blender at home then the quickest and easiest way to have a yummy, nutritious breakfast is by making a smoothie.  You can use almond, oat or coconut milk as your base. For sweetness you can use bananas, berries (go for the frozen ones, they are full of nutrients and you won’t waste them if you change your mind in the morning and decided to have eggs). And you can add ingredients that are high in nutrients and taste great such as flaxseeds and chia seeds, which are high in of Omega 3. Hemp protein is another great option and is fantastic for getting your protein from a vegan source and is gluten free. Green Matcha has 130 times more anti-oxidants than a standard green tea and it also boosts your metabolism and energy. You can always add Bee Pollen, Acai powder (made from dry Acai berries), Chlorophyll etc. All these products listed can be found in your local health store such as Holland and Barrett and are packaged and produced in a way that’s easy to add to smoothies, mostly in resalable powdered forms.

Here are a few recipe ideas:

Simple starter smoothie:

1 cup coconut milk

1 banana

1 handful of frozen raspberries

2 tspn flaxseeds

Blueberry acai smoothie:

1 cup almond milk

1 banana

1 handful of frozen blueberries

1tblspn freeze-dried acai powder

1tblspn chia seeds

Blended for 30 seconds.

Acai powder is very high in antioxidants, and its concentrated powder means a little goes a long way. You can make this into a drink or pour it into a bowl and add toppings.

Super green smoothie:

1 cup oat milk

1 banana

2 tbsp Primrose’s kitchen smoothie booster cleanse mix (chlorella, wheatgrass and barley grass)

1 tbsp matcha powder

Smoothie mixes or boosters like the one mentioned are a great way to get nutrients into your smoothie in a quick and easy way. They come in a blender friendly powdered form and don’t change the texture or the flavour too much. This ratios can of course be altered to your taste.

Banana Ice cream:

It has a very similar texture to ice cream, minus the dairy and sweeteners. As it’s only made from bananas, the flavor options aren’t limited and you can add anything from more fruit to peanut butter. It’s quick and easy to make and can be a delicious breakfast or even dessert. Chop bananas and keep them in the freezer overnight, blending them in the morning before further blending them with the flavors of your choice


See more great healthy breakfast ideas here