Breakfast can be difficult - not everyone is in the mood to eat straight away after waking up, some don't have the time.
It’s easy to crave sweet things or eat processed cereals.
The good news is that for most people, if you want to wait until later in the day to eat, then going without a conventional breakfast is fine, as long as when you do eat it’s something substantial.
Think of your body and its need for fuel as if it’s a fire that you need to keep burning all day - you don’t even want it to go out completely at night.
When we feed a fire with nothing but paper it still burns, but each batch of paper is soon completely used up and we are forever having to add more to keep things burning. The warmth we get from the fire can go from too hot, when the paper first catches light, to almost cold as it’s all burnt away.
If we use logs or coal on the same fire though, then the fire burns more slowly and consistently and we get the benefit of its warmth all day long.
Our bodies are a bit like fires. Sugary foods are to your body like paper is to the fire. They cause a quick release of energy and we can feel good, but very quickly the benefit wears off and we can go into an energy slump.
The drop in energy drives us to add more of the sugary fuel so that we feel better, and so we keep the up-and-down cycle going. You might recognise this pattern in yourself.
If we provide our body with more slow-burning fuel, like proteins and healthy fats, and more slow-burning, unprocessed carbohydrates, and smaller amounts of the fast-acting fuels (like biscuits, pastries, breads and sweets) then we can avoid the up-and-down cycle.
We then feel more satisfied and we avoid the urgent cravings for sugary/starchy foods that are triggered by our ‘fires’ starting to go out.
So start your ‘eating day’ well by making the first thing you eat a slower burning fuel. Whether this is at 6.30am or
11am, have something ready, or easy to prepare, that will keep you going with reliable, constant energy.
Later in this section, there are some recipes we’ve used if you want to prepare something special, but here are a few ideas for a steady reliable ‘fuelling up’ for breakfast.
Eggs - any way you like. Try two eggs and just one piece of quality wholemeal bread. If you are short of time boil a batch of eggs all at once and then eat them hard-boiled over a few days.
Fruit and whole fat live Greek yoghurt (or live coconut/soya yoghurt if you are vegan). Berry fruits are particularly good because they help to balance your blood sugar. Sprinkle with nuts/muesli for a bit of variety if you fancy it.
Cheese and an apple/pear
Wholemeal porridge with berries and yoghurt
Smoked mackerel or any tinned oily fish on wholemeal toast
Leftovers from last night’s dinner (yes, cottage pie is delicious at breakfast time...for some of us!)
Carefully sourced/made flapjacks (recipe later)
Any fruit/veg protein-rich smoothie (recipe later)
Plan for ‘lazy’ moments
If you normally just tip some commercially made cereal into a bowl, or grab a processed cereal bar, or have a piece of toast spread with something sweet, you’ll need to break the habit if you want to nurture your wellbeing.
Do this by having your alternative breakfast ready-prepared, or at least write down what you intend to have and leave the remainder where you will see it in your hazy wake-up daze.
If you intend to eat for the first time mid-morning or at work, when you are well into your day, be prepared for ‘lazy mind’. You won’t want to spend long finding/preparing food as you’ll be feeling quite hungry, so plan ahead and have it ready and easy to eat.
For example, prepare and put your food in the fridge, take it to work or write down what you intend to buy. If your workplace has stores of tempting snacks brought in by other people (mine always did!), or a canteen stocked with sweet goodies, it’s all the more important to go in with your alternative food to hand.
Useful breakfasts to take to work might include (* means we’ve included the recipe further down)
A breakfast flapjack*
Apple, nuts, raisins and live, full-fat yoghurt, either mixed together or separately
A homemade protein-rich smoothie/shake (or a quality bought one) *
Banana wholemeal sandwich*
Wellbeing bars *
Overnight oats *
Smoked salmon and cream cheese wholemeal bread sandwich