“Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper”. It’s a well known phrase, but it’s a
very apt one. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It can reduce obesity, high
blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. All in all, it promotes better health.
Why eat breakfast?
Whilst many people wake up and don’t feel hungry, it’s still important to eat a good, healthy
breakfast. Even the word itself is self-explanatory, ‘breakfast’ – you are literally breaking a fast. Your
body has had a few hours of sleep and now it needs waking up for the day. This first meal is fuel for
both body and brain and should not be skipped. In fact, scientists recommend that breakfast is eaten
within the first two hours of waking.
What shall I eat?
It may seem tempting to reach for sugary cereals or calorie-laden croissants, but whilst these are
better than nothing, your ideal breakfast should look very different. The best breakfast foods are
good sources of crucial nutrients, for example calcium, iron and vitamin B plus protein and fibre. This
is designed to give your body an immediate boost of all of the essential nutrients as early in the day
as possible. Repeated studies also show that those who skip breakfast are unlikely to make up these
nutrients later on in the day. It’s also important to bear in mind the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable
recommendation and make sure that you include at least one of these at breakfast. It can be
anything from a handful of blueberries to a banana to just a plain glass of fruit juice.
What does eating breakfast do for me?
There have been many studies over the years which show that those people who eat breakfast are
less likely to be overweight and have slimmer waistlines than those who don’t. This is more
important than it sounds because excess weight around your waist is deemed to be particularly
And quite apart from aesthetics, your first meal of the day has an important cognitive impact;
breakfast raises glucose levels after you’ve been asleep. And why is this important? Well, glucose is
an essential carbohydrate needed for the brain to function. It has been scientifically proven that
breakfast improves memory and concentration levels and it makes you happier by improving mood
and lowering stress levels. Your brain needs energy to function at its best.
And finally, breakfast is a mealtime and every mealtime is an important family occasion. The chance
to sit down with your family at the beginning of every day is one that should be seized.
Sample healthy breakfasts:
Bowl of high fibre cereal with semi-skimmed milk and a chopped banana
Two slices of wholemeal toast with honey
Scrambled eggs on toast with a cooked tomato
Porridge with syrup
Glass of fruit juice or milk and a glass of water