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  • Writer's pictureJanice Tracey

Does the time of breakfast matter?


Bowls of berries and fruit, walnuts, seeds, granola and milk
Some healthy breakfast choices

The common belief is the timing of when you eat in the morning is everything when it comes to maintaining good health.


So when to eat breakfast, there is so much discussion and advice ranging from:


"Eat with 30 minutes of rising"

to

Fast for as long as can before eating breakfast".

I personally favour the latter, and for most of my clients I'll be veering in that direction however once we get better habits around WHAT you eat for breakfast, then we can play around with timings for optimal health.


MORE IMPORTANT IS WHAT YOU EAT


What you eat for breakfast, sets the tone for your body for the rest of the day

It’s important to understand that the type of food you eat in the morning is what allows you to have more energy, sharper focus, healthier weight, and better digestion. And that often what you think is a “healthy breakfast”, could actually be leading to poor digestion, cravings, energy fluctuations, brain fog and weight gain.


Breakfast is considered an essential meal of the day as it breaks the overnight fast and provides the body with the necessary nutrients and energy to start the day.


While the timing of breakfast is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism and regulating appetite throughout the day, what you eat for breakfast can have a more significant impact on your overall health.


Consuming a balanced breakfast that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fibre can help stabilize blood sugar levels, provide sustained energy throughout the day, and prevent overeating later in the day.


A breakfast high in sugar or refined carbohydrates can cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash that can lead to fatigue, cravings, and overeating.


WHAT TO AVOID AT BREAKFAST

ORANGE JUICE

The occasional glass of freshly squeezed orange juice may be a refreshing drink but there are a few reasons why it may not be the best choice for everyone, especially at breakfast:

two tall glasses or orange juice on a white background with an orange and orange segments on the table
Orange juice
  1. High in sugar: Orange juice contains natural sugars, but many store-bought varieties also contain added sugars. Drinking too much sugar, even natural sugars, can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes.

  2. Low in fibre: Unlike eating a whole orange, drinking orange juice doesn't provide much fibre. Fibre is important for digestion and can help you feel full for longer.

  3. Acidic: Orange juice is acidic and can irritate the stomach lining, especially if you drink it on an empty stomach.

  4. Lack of nutrients: While orange juice does contain vitamin C and some other nutrients, it's not as nutrient-dense as eating a whole orange or other fruits and vegetables.


TOAST AND JAM


Toast and jam may not be the best breakfast option for a few reasons:

A plate with toasted sourdough and blackberry jam
Toast and Jam
  1. Lack of protein: Toast and jam is primarily a carbohydrate-based breakfast and lacks protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps keep you satisfied. It's important to include it to help regulate your blood sugar levels through the day.

  2. High in sugar: Jam is often high in added sugar, which can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. Consuming too much added sugar can lead to various health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

  3. Low in fibre: Toast and jam does not provide much fibre, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and can also help you feel full for longer.

  4. Lack of essential nutrients: Toast and jam may not provide all the essential nutrients your body needs to start the day, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Overall, while toast and jam or marmalade can be a quick and easy breakfast option, it's not the most nutritious choice. It's best to include a variety of whole foods in your breakfast, such as whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables, to ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients you need to start your day off right.


CEREAL


A bowl of cereal flakes and milk on a yellow background with some spilled flakes for effect
Cereal

For many, cereal can be a convenient and quick breakfast option, but some varieties may not be the healthiest choice for a few reasons:

  1. High in sugar: Many cereals contain added sugars, which can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes. Consuming too much added sugar can also lead to various health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

  2. Low in fibre: Many cereals are low in fibre, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and can also help you feel full for longer.

  3. Lack of protein: Some cereals may not provide enough protein, which is an essential macronutrient that helps keep you full and satisfied.

  4. Lack of essential nutrients: Some cereals may not provide all the essential nutrients your body needs to start the day, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Overall, if you want cereal, it's important to choose cereals that are low in added sugars (or have zero added sugar) and high in fiber and protein. You can also consider adding fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds to your cereal to boost its nutrient content. It's best to opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein to ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients you need to start your day off right.


NOTICE A PATTERN?

Many of the popular breakfast choices are high in sugar, low in protein, low in fibre and low in nutrients.

What to prioritise for breakfast?

Eating a healthy breakfast has been linked to a range of health benefits, including better weight management, improved cognitive function, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize the quality and nutrient content of your breakfast, rather than just focusing on the timing.


BREAKFAST FOR WOMEN IN MIDLIFE AND BEYOND


A healthy breakfast for a woman in midlife and beyond should include nutrient-dense foods that provide energy and support overall health. Good options include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. For example, a breakfast bowl with whole-grain oats, berries, and nuts provides fibre antioxidants, and healthy fats but not enough protein. Adding Greek yogurt, hemp, flax and chia seeds will give it a protein boost. Another option is an omelette with spinach, mushrooms, and avocado, which offers protein, vitamins, and minerals.


Women in midlife and beyond should focus on protein because it plays a crucial role in maintaining muscle mass, bone density, and overall health.


As we age, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass, which can lead to decreased strength and mobility. Protein helps to build and repair muscle tissue, so consuming adequate amounts can help to counteract this process.


Protein is also important for bone health, as it provides the building blocks for bone tissue. Women in midlife and beyond are at increased risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. Consuming enough protein, along with other bone-supporting nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, can help to maintain bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.


In addition, protein is important for immune function, hormone production, and satiety, or the feeling of fullness after a meal. Including protein-rich foods in breakfast, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, or lean meat, can help to support these important bodily functions and promote overall health.


But what's often overlooked is the role protein plays in keeping blood sugars balanced and this is crucial for weight management as well as supporting hormonal balance, energy levels and mood fluctuations. Focusing on protein at breakfast and throughout the day will also help you wave good bye to cravings.


TOP TIP FOR BREAKFAST


Prioritising protein in your breakfast can play a crucial role in blood sugar balancing and overall health. This is one of my top tips for optimising the power of breakfast.

When you consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose and enter the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. However, protein can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.

Additionally, protein can help increase satiety and reduce hunger, which can prevent overeating and promote weight management. It also supports the maintenance and growth of lean muscle mass, which is important for overall health and metabolism.

Therefore, including a source of protein in your breakfast, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, or lean meats, can help balance blood sugar levels, promote satiety, and support overall health.



Here are some ideas for high-protein breakfasts:


  • Greek yogurt with berries and nuts/seeds

  • Omelette with vegetables and cheese

  • Cottage cheese with fruit and nut butter

  • Protein smoothie with Greek yogurt, spinach, banana, and almond butter

  • Scrambled eggs with whole grain toast and avocado

  • Protein pancakes made with eggs, and oats or besan flour

  • Breakfast burrito with eggs, black beans, cheese, and salsa wrapped in a whole grain tortilla

  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese on whole grain bagel or toast

  • Chia seed pudding with Greek yogurt and fruit

  • Tofu scramble with vegetables and whole grain toast.


These breakfast ideas are all high in protein and can be easily customized to your preferences and dietary needs.


Check out my 7 Days 7 Breakfasts reel on Instagram or Facebook


If you'd like to explore how you can work with me, book a discovery call with me today.


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