While many of us are aware of the importance of starting the day with a nutritionally balanced breakfast, in reality we do not always get it quite right. Here are the most common breakfast mistakes that can have a big impact your calorie intake and energy for the rest of the day.
Eating breakfast too late
As a general rule of thumb, the earlier you enjoy your breakfast, the better it will be for your metabolism. It is commonly thought that delaying hunger until later in the morning; or waiting until after a workout will maximise fat burning but the truth is in both cases, the metabolic boost you will get from enjoying your first meal of the day before 8am will override both of this rationalisations. So forget waiting until you reach the office at 9am and start the day with coffee and toast, get into the habit of starting the day with a light protein rich breakfast such as an egg on toast to get your metabolic rate up and kicking.
Not getting enough protein
An ideal balance of wholegrain, low glycaemic index carbohydrates and 15-20g of protein at breakfast will ensure that you not only have well controlled blood glucose levels and energy throughout the morning but a good serve of protein will help to keep you full and satisfied for at least 2-3 hours, ideally until lunchtime. Muesli with sweet yoghurt and fruit; plain toast and coffee and breakfast smoothies made with fruit, milk and yoghurt all tend to be relatively high in carbohydrates relative to protein which can leave you hungry just an hour or two later. Protein rich breakfast options including eggs on toast, a toasted sandwich or Greek yoghurt with fruit and a small amount of oats or muesli will help to achieve a good balance of carbs and protein.
Not counting the coffee
Flat whites, cappuccinos, soy mochas and chai Lattes all contain calories and sugars (generally from lactose naturally found in milk) and calories that do need to be considered as part of a meal, not an insignificant extra. Often we start the day with a milk coffee, and follow it up with another once we arrive at work and forget that these both count as part of the breakfast. For any coffee that contains a significant amount of milk, consider is equal to a slice of toast in calories and if you are watching your total calorie and / or sugar intake consider swapping to black coffee or tea to cut out some of these extra calories.
Enjoying a café breakfast
For city workers, or anyone who has a great café close to home or work that offers a coffee and toast for a cheap price, it can be hard to resist a daily café treat. Unfortunately the types of breakfast options served at cafes rarely complement our dietary goals. Large slices of Turkish toast slathered in butter; fatty sandwiches with cheese and fatty meats, large slabs of banana bread or oversized muffins and thick sugary yoghurt and granola can equate to 600-800 breakfast calories, more than double what the average person needs. Save the café breakfasts to weekends or special occasions or at least look for lighter options such as an omelette with 1 slice thin toast, mini breakfast wraps or Greek yoghurt and fruit.