Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
- Health & Wellbeing
A regular breakfast is important to staying healthy and feeling great. Here’s how!
The good news is the vast majority (78%) of adults aged 55-69 consider breakfast as the most important meal of the day and it’s not just talk, 73% say they take the time to always eat breakfast, significantly more than 35-54 year olds (56%).
In fact, a regular breakfast habit may be the key to staying healthy and feeling great. Research shows people aged 65+ years who regularly eat breakfast have better diets and are more likely to rate their health as excellent or good compared to breakfast skippers.
We all know, the challenge as we get a little older is making sure each mouthful counts. Generally, we need fewer kilojoules and yet higher amounts of key nutrients to stay healthy, so, our food choices must be packed with nutrients.
Research shows people who eat breakfast regularly have better diets
So, what nutrients are a must at breakfast and how can we make sure our brekkie choices deliver? Do we need to follow the healthy trend and be drinking green smoothies daily or will traditional brekkie favourites still give us what we need?
Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, and Director of the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum, Ms Leigh Reeve says there are four must have nutrients to start the day and offers ideas for delicious brekkie options that provide nutritional bang for their buck. These are much loved brekkie staples that are great value for both your health and your wallet.
Best brekkie choices
1. Get an easy fibre fix
Whether starting the day with cereal or toast, the key is to choose whole grain or high fibre options. They are an important source of fibre, which is a nutritional hero. As well as maintaining a healthy bowel, regularly eating high-fibre breakfast cereals have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 24% and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 29%.
In fact, a diet high in cereal fibre may be the secret to longevity and has been linked to a reduced risk of premature death from cancer (15%); heart disease (20%); respiratory disease (21%); diabetes (34%).
When it comes to increasing your fibre it doesn’t need to be overloading on prunes.
Other tasty breakfast options include:
- Experiment with high fibre or whole grain breakfast cereals until you find a favourite
- Top up your favourite cereal with a high fibre cereal or bra cereal
- Include cereal toppers for an extra fibre boost such as chia seeds, psylliumhusks, dried fruits or nuts
- Love toast? It’s as simple as making a switch from white bread to a whole grain variety. Generally the more visible grains or seeds the better
2. Milk it for better bones
Calcium is vital for staying strong and for maintaining the health of our bones. Yet the truth is most Australians are just not getting enough.
Increase your calcium intake by drinking more milk
To bump up your calcium intake, the key is to:
- Enjoy more dairy products, or calcium-enriched milk alternatives. At breakfast, cereal and milk go hand-in-hand. People who regularly eat breakfast cereal are more likely to have better vitamin and mineral intakes, especially for calcium.
- Try adding yoghurt to your cereal
- Prefer toast in the morning? Enjoy it with a milky coffee like a latte or a bowl of yoghurt on the side
3. Pump up the protein
Protein is not just important for body builders or fitness fanatics. It is critical to support the body’s normal tissue maintenance. Australian’s aged 71+ years are the group that stand out as less likely to meet their protein requirements.
Try experimenting to discover a new breakfast favourite
Yet a higher protein brekkie can easily be achieved without expensive or unappealing protein shakes:
- Simply enjoy eggs on whole grain toast, muesli with Greek yoghurt or higher protein breakfast cereal options and dairy
- A sprinkle of nuts is another easy way to add protein
3. B2 is a must at brekkie
Vitamin B2 is important for converting nutrients into forms that can be easily used by our bodies. As we get older, our bodies are less able to process nutrients from food.
Starting the day with a breakfast containing vitamin B2 is simple:
- Use milk with your breakfast cereal
- Try yeast extract spreads on your toast
- Add some grilled mushrooms to your egg
- Or enjoy a handful of almonds at brekkie
Almonds are an excellent source of magnesium and Vitamin E
What are you best breakfast tips for a healthy breakfast? Join the conversation below.