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7 ways to build a better breakfast

Whether you buy it or make your own, the food choices that you make at breakfast can mean the the difference between a happy and productive day or one full of cravings and chaos. Rise and shine with these breakfast boosting tips.

1. DIY smoothies

Shop bought smoothies may look healthy, but they actually contain a suprising amount of calories and sugar – not to mention other nasties such as preservatives and bulking agents. Whip up a smoothie of your own instead. Not only will you have control over the ingredients but you can really get creative with different flavours too. As a rule of thumb, try adding one or two servings of green veggies for every serving of fruit to help balance out the sugar.

2. Switch your spreads

Whilst butter may be be making a comeback, there are some other benefical options for you to slather on your morning slice of toast. Try switching butter for coconut oil or nut and seed butters, such as cashew, almond or mixed seeds butter, for a protein punch with a dose of healthy fats. These will help keep you feeling fuller for longer to keep you energised right up to lunch.

3. Say no to flavoured yoghurts

Pre-flavoured yogurts often come packed with a hefty dose of sugar. To skip the sugar rush without sacrificing flavour, go for plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt and add nuts and fresh fruit for some sweetness. Try and stick with full fat options if possible - the calorie savings that you think you'd be getting with low/no fat varieties is negated by the extra sugar added to enhance the flavour. If looking for a pudding consistency to your breakfast, try making chia pudding with your favourite nut milk.

4. Up your flake size

If cereals are your breakfast staple try opting for ones with larger flakes and you’ll consume fewer calories. In a study from Penn State University, researchers crushed up cereal to create four different flake sizes and found that when the cereal was crushed into smaller pieces people underestimated the number of calories they were eating.

5. Ditch the juice

If you're tempted to round your breakfast off with a tall glass of fruit juice, don't. Opt for the piece of fruit instead. You'll get all the fibre whilst dodging half the calories and half the sugar.

6. Say yes to protein

In a 2014 study published in the journal Obesity, a protein-rich breakfast can help increase feelings of fullness and reduce cravings later in the day. To keep those mid-afternoon slumps at bay, check the protein content of your cereals and aim for at least 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre per serving. For an extra protein boost try sprinkling your cereal with some sunflower seeds.

7. Try steel-cut oats

A bowl of cereal with large flakes is good, but according to a recent study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a bowl of porridge will leave you feeling more satisfied. Minimally processed steel-cut oats are different to their rolled oat cousins. Chewy and a little crunchy, steel-cut oats have a lower Glycemic Index compared with regular rolled oats, meaning they’ll wreak less havoc on your blood sugar levels.

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