Delicious muesli or wholegrain cereal with a glass of orange juice or milk, fresh bread with jam and a side serve of fruit salad. Nothing could be more welcoming to an empty stomach and what better way is there to start the day! Here’s why breakfast is so important plus some tips on what to eat.
The most important meal of the day
At night you sleep but your body keeps ticking over. It uses up reserves of energy to maintain its vital functions – such as a steady body temperature of 37°C, breathing and circulation of the blood. That’s why you need to recharge your batteries in the morning.
A good start to the day:
- There is a direct link between a good breakfast and your performance throughout the morning.
- One of the main advantages of eating breakfast is that it fills you up and stops you from nibbling throughout the morning. Breakfast helps your body obtain all the nutrients you need, like protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
What’s for breakfast?
Ready-to-eat cereals are fast and simple – just add milk and fruit or yogurt. Most cereals are low in fat and provide iron. Calcium is provided by the milk. These two nutrients are often lacking in our diets, so eating breakfast cereal contributes significantly to our daily intake of these essential nutrients.
Not everyone likes breakfast cereals, so try:
- A milkshake, hot chocolate or a fruit smoothie.
- Toast with cheese, egg, avocado, baked beans, yeast extract spread.
- Fruit and custard.
On weekends, breakfast can be a more leisurely, family meal. Hot meals can include mushrooms on toast, grilled tomatoes, eggs, an omelette, baked beans or spaghetti on toast, pancakes with fruit and yogurt.
Does drinking milk or eating yogurt amount to the same in nutritional terms?
100g of yogurt provides 170mg calcium and 4.7g protein, which is roughly the same as for milk (125mg calcium and 3.2g protein for 100mL of milk). Yogurt provides a couple of advantages over milk: it contains beneficial bacteria which help with digestion and it contains less lactose (milk sugar) because the good bacteria help to predigest it.
What is the nutritional value of a cup of coffee?
A cup of black coffee has virtually no kilojoules, protein, carbohydrates or fat. However, it does provide between 60 and 90 mg of caffeine. Caffeine is often the main reason for coffee consumption, apart from the taste, because it is known as a "pick-me-up".
Does the body burn kilojoules at night?
Yes, which is why it is a good idea to "refuel" in the morning by eating a good breakfast.
Is eating bread the same as eating crackers?
Bread and crackers provide you with carbohydrates, and therefore energy, but bread contains fewer kilojoules than crackers.
Can ham and eggs replace milk?
All these foods contain animal protein but only milk contains calcium. Ham and eggs belong to different food groups so they are not providing similar nutrients, apart from the protein.