Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It’s something we have all been told since we were kids, but what exactly makes it so important?
We spoke to our Hit 100 Dietitian Team to find out!
The word breakfast comes from the term ‘breaking the fast’. Overnight your body fasts for an average of 6-10 hours. For most people, going that long without food would be torturous and yet roughly 18-25% of adults skip breakfast each day.
When we fast overnight, our blood sugar level plummets, while our cortisol level rises until our blood sugar has been brought back to a steady state. The only way to do this is by eating.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, plays an essential role in your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar. When our bodies’ blood sugar has gotten too low, cortisol is used by the body to bring it back up. Too much cortisol in the body is correlated with excessive weight gain, hormone imbalance and acne. Those who skip breakfast regularly are putting themselves at risk of elevated cortisol levels, which can ultimately lead to adrenal failure and insulin resistance (diabetes).
The latest studies show that we should all be aiming to consume around 15–25% of our daily energy intake during breakfast (300-500 calories for women and 375 – 625 calories for men). A well-balanced breakfast is designed to set us up with the needed energy and nutrients to take on the day. Those who skip breakfast often experience signs and symptoms of low blood sugar and stress including: fatigue, inability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, even nausea and fainting.
A well-balanced breakfast will improve your energy levels, boost your fibre intake, provide nutrients beneficial to your immune system, brain function and overall wellbeing, as well as stabilise your blood sugar and improve your memory and concentration.
So what exactly makes a well-balanced breakfast?
A healthy breakfast should contain the following 3 components;
Carbohydrates are your bodies preferred source of energy and are vital to your brain's ability to perform. Previously in our blog, we spoke about the importance of ingesting low glycemic carbohydrates. Whole grains are high in fibre and nutrient-dense carbohydrates, which will help you stay sharp and focused throughout the day. Great whole grain sources include: bran, wholemeal toast, barley, buckwheat, spelt, oats, wholegrain muffins, low sugar granola
Fruits & Vegetables
The Australian guide to healthy eating recommends 5-7 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day. Packing your breakfast full of nutrients will ensure you are feeding your body with not only the calories it needs, but the nutrients it deserves. Nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables include blueberries, raspberries, bananas, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, capsicum, beetroot.
By incorporating these components together in the morning, you are ensured a healthy breakfast that will energize you for the day! A few easy-to-make healthy breakfasts include: greek yoghurt topped with muesli and blueberries, avocado toast with an egg, or a wholegrain muffin with tomato and egg.
Implementing simple changes in your daily habits can have a huge positive impact on your long-term health. Our Hit 100 dietitians work hard to ensure that you are set up for success with all of our clients having access to a 4-week dietitian designed meal plan that will assist you in achieving your overall health goals.
The next time you leave your house on an empty stomach or reach for that pack of doughnuts, instead grab one of our Hit 100 breakfast options from your fridge. Remember that the small choices we make throughout the day can have long-term effects on our health.