This Is Exactly What to Eat for Breakfast, According to a Dietitian
A nutritious breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day. It's a divisive topic, with some people unable to properly function without their regular morning meal, while others are satisfied with nothing but a strong coffee until lunchtime rolls around.
To gain some more clarity about the types of food we should be eating in the morning and if it's as necessary as we've been told, we chatted with Dietitian and best-selling author of The Nude Nutritionist Lyndi Cohen. Here, she answers all of our burning breakfast questions, reveals her own daily breakfast routine, and provides us with some really easy and tasty brekkie ideas to try.
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
You may be surprised to learn that breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day. In fact, you don’t need to eat breakfast to be healthy. There is no one perfect way to eat. Some people work best with breakfast, others don’t need to include it to feel their best. The trick to healthy eating is to ignore the diet noise and find what works best for your body, even if that means going against the grain.
Research shows that while it’s best for kids (under 18) to eat something for breakfast to fuel their growing bodies, adults do not require breakfast. However, breakfast is another opportunity to get a mix of nutrients and food into your diet. If you don’t have breakfast, it’s still really important to make sure your other meals are loaded with plenty of healthy foods including fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.
Do you eat breakfast every day?
Instead of eating first thing when I wake because it’s ‘breakfast time’, I wait to feel hungry for my first meal. This means I might eat for the first time at 11 am, while days I eat at 8 am. Many people end up ‘eating by the clock’—this is when you wait until a mealtime to eat, regardless of whether you are hungry or not. Throughout the month, your energy requirements can change quite a bit. When we wait to feel hungry to eat, we give our body the right amount of energy without having to worry about portion size or restriction.
What does your ideal breakfast look like?
My favourite breakfast is my homemade muesli and I miss it when I travel. Each time I make it with a different mix of seeds and nuts and that helps me get a little more variety in my diet. It takes five minutes to make and the oven does the rest. I love this with milk. During the colder months, I love to make my sticky date porridge recipe as it’s a real feel-good food.
What should we be skipping at breakfast time?
Instead of focusing on what to avoid at breakfast time, I recommend focusing on what to fill up on. Most people don’t eat enough wholegrains, which is why I love to include oats with plenty of seeds and nuts in my homemade muesli. Including a serve of fruit like some strawberries or a banana is a great way to get your recommended serves per day. If you like to have eggs for breakfast, try to add in a serve of vegetables like mushrooms, spinach or cherry tomatoes.
What about a morning coffee?
I always start my day with a homemade coffee with milk and little chocolate on top because it makes me happy! Research shows that drinking coffee can be healthy for you. Each person has a different caffeine threshold so it’s best to see how much coffee is best for your body.
How can you make sure you stay full until lunchtime?
It can take some trial and error to work out how much you need to eat for breakfast to stay full until lunch because not everyone is the same. Be sure not to under-eat for breakfast. I think many people try to 'be good’ (i.e. they try to eat less food) which means they become ravenous as the day goes on and end up overeating because they’re hungry and tired.
I prefer to eat like the French do—which means I like lunch to be my largest meal. Most people under-eat during the day and come home after work and find it hard to stop eating. This works for me, so it’s good to find what suits your body.
What are some easy (and delicious) breakfast ideas?
- A piece of wholegrain toast with avocado and a glass of milk.
- Homemade porridge with a handful of nuts and a banana.
- Eggs with a piece of wholegrain toast, mushrooms and tomatoes.
- Plain Greek yoghurt with homemade muesli.