Many claim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
If this is the case then surely we should make it the most nutritious and beneficial?
Breakfast nutrition has been argued about for years. Due to our busy lives we are now spending less time making nutritious meals. Instead, we choose to opt for convenience foods that don’t fuel us properly, and can even cause drops in energy or mood through the course of the day.
Over the last couple of months I have been testing out a number of recent “trend” breakfasts. The first is the smoothie. Initially I started as most would, by blending fruit and adding yoghurt. This is of course very yummy and actually rather filling. However, I was finding that after a couple of hours at work I would find myself nibbly and wanting more food.
I looked into this and found that a high proportion of fruit would cause a sudden increase in sugar levels. The body processes these sugars at a rapid rate, causing an initial spike of sugar in the blood, followed by a crash that can leave an individual feeling hungry, tired and generally low in energy.
After reading this, I decided to adapt my recipe. Instead of fruit and yoghurt I instead opted to find a better balance between vegetables and slow-release fruit, such as red berries. I went from a 100% fruit smoothie, to 70% vegetables and 30% fruit. The fruit provides the obvious yummy taste and sweetness, but the vegetables allow for the more sustainable nutrition.
I have also tried a number of extras in my smoothies to keep me feeling fuller for longer, this includes the popular chia seeds, oats, nuts, bee pollen, protein powder/shakes and ice. Personally I think chia and oats give the best consistency, both of these are also extremely nutritious
Chia contains a large amount of antioxidants and a minimal amount of carbohydrate. The majority of this is actually fibre. Chia is also high in protein, making it not only a nutritious option but also an ingredient that could help with controlling appetite and managing weight.
The fibre in the chia expands in the stomach, which helps to slow absorption. The last brilliant fact about chia is that it contains omega-3 fatty acids, however the omegas found in plant based foods are not as easily absorbed by humans compared to oily fish.
We have been eating oats for years mainly as porridge, but why are oats so good for us? They are a good source of fibre, and are also reasonably high in vitamins and anti-oxidants. It is also claimed that they have health benefits such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. Much like chia, they also contain protein. Oats are ranked number 1 breakfast food to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Due to the great nutritional benefits of both oat and chia I thought I would next try using these as my breakfast nutrition. Porridge is obviously the most well know breakfast food. Unfortunately, I have never grown accustomed to the taste and texture, which appears to put lots of people off. A great way to improve this is by placing some ground nuts in your porridge after it’s cooked and also adding a small handful of your favourite fresh berries to add some yumminess and sweetness. I also tend to make my porridge with water instead of milk, because I add extra bits to it.
Next I tried making the very fashionable chocolate chia pudding, as a definite “chocoholic” myself; I thought this would be the obvious choice to balance my breakfast nutrition.
I found it rather disappointing in all honesty. The first thing to point out is the thick lumpy texture and also it’s less than chocolaty taste. However, I did not give up on chia that easy. Instead I thought I would try combining chia and oats in an overnight soaked “bircher” style muesli. The great thing about this is that it takes 1 minute to make then you just leave it in the fridge overnight to soak, all you need to do in the morning is add fruit and a drizzle of honey. This makes it very yummy and it definitely keeps you going for longer.
James Revell, your Eastbourne chiropractor
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By James Revell
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