Following on from my blog on ‘8 tips to avoid sugar’, this blog will take a look at no-added-sugar meal planning strategies for breakfast.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that in school age children, skipping breakfast can lead to decreased attention and performance. In adults, those with poor dietary choices take a fifth more sick days and are 11 per cent less productive than those with a healthy diet. Rather worryingly, the average child eats 3 cubes (11g) of sugar at breakfast every morning – that’s around half their recommended daily limit! A diet high in free sugars is the main contributor to tooth decay, and is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Here’s a reminder of the NHS sugar intake limit for children and adults:
4 – 6 years: 19g (5 cubes)
7–10 years: 24g (6 cubes)
11+ years and adults: 30g (7 cubes)
A healthy breakfast is low in sugar, and high in fibre, healthy fats and protein. Include foods such as avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds and full fat yoghurt. Don’t be scared of healthy fats! Each cell in our body is made from a fatty lipid layer and the health of this cell wall has a direct impact on our overall state of health.
Avoid refined flour products and sugars such as white bread, jams, marmalades, and most cereals – these are often called ‘empty calories’ as they are usually high in free sugar and contain little of any nutritional value.
5 of the worst breakfast ideas:
- Sugary cereal
- Jam/honey on toast
- Orange juice
- Breakfast bar
- Low-fat fruit yoghurt.
Always make sure you check the label for ingredients and sugar content.
5 of the best breakfast ideas:
- Eggs, eggs and more eggs! Boil them, poach them, omelette-ize them, serve them with spinach and smoked salmon. Eggs are the perfect nutrient powerhouse to start the day, being high in vitamins such as B2, B6, B12, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D. E and K. They also help to keep you full with their protein content and beneficial fats.
- Plain live yoghurt with berries, banana, ground nuts and seeds (you can buy ground nut and seed mixes). Finish with a sprinkle of cinammon. For a truly sumptuous breakfast, try Greek yoghurt.
- Whizz n’ go! Banana smoothie – ½ glass of milk (or unsweetened almond milk), 1 banana, 1 tbsp flax seeds, dash of vanilla essence and half an avocado. This is almost too delicious for breakfast!
- Wholemeal toast with a fat/protein based topping such as avocado, nut butter, sardines, cheese or eggs. Keep a stable release of sugar into the bloodstream by adding fat or protein based foods to a carbohydrate food.
- Lazy weekend cooked breakfasts – choose from eggs, tinned tomatoes (instead of sugar laden baked beans), garlic mushrooms, sausages, bacon, black pudding, wholemeal toast.
Recipes for two more healthy breakfast ideas:
Birscher muesli recipe (serves 1-2):
This is a traditional recipe originating in Switzerland that should be prepared the night before. For a grab and go breakfast, prepare in a plastic pot with a lid and grab on your way out!
- 50g oats (replace with 50g of quinoa flakes for a gluten free, lower carb, higher protein breakfast)
- 20ml apple juice or juice from an orange
- 100ml milk or unsweetened almond milk (throw in some coconut cream for extra richness)
- 1 apple – grated
- 2 or 3 dates – chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped mixed nuts or seeds
Serve with a dollop of greek yoghurt and a handful of berries.
Easy banana and egg pancakes (serves 1-2):
Delicious and easy to make, this recipe can be eaten simply, or jazzed up in a variety of ways. Try adding some nut butter into the mix or thin slices of apple, or serve with plain yoghurt and berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon (cinnamon is fantastic at helping to balance blood sugar).
- 1 banana – mashed up
- 2 eggs – whisked
- A blob of butter or coconut oil
Mix the first two ingredients and fry in the butter or coconut oil until golden brown.
We hope you like some of these ideas, let us know how you get on! My next blog will be looking at healthy ideas for a no-added-sugar lunch.