Top 5 foods to kick start your day

Waking up feeling revitalised is easy with a good night’s sleep and the right dinner to get you through to the following morning. But how do we maintain this energy and ensure we’re performing at our best all day long? Well, it all starts with breakfast.

There’s a reason why it’s been touted as the most important meal of the day – and with good reason! Proven to aid in your body’s metabolism, it also refuels your body after 7-9 hours of inactivity and helps stabilise blood sugars.

Now with work, getting the kids ready for school and exercising, if you’re a morning person that is, these things can all get in the way of a good breakfast, and sometimes it can be missed altogether! Well, we’ve compiled the 5 best foods to have for breakfast that won’t take an absolute age to prepare and won’t have you reaching for that leftover pizza.

1. Oatmeal

The perfect choice for all cereal lovers, this fibre-rich meal can be had on its own or can be combined with several fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, a variety of berries and so much more. Oatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse, containing beta glucan, that helps a person to feel fuller for longer and may also lower cholesterol.

It’s rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, contains folate and even potassium – that’s right it has all of this and has a low GI index, meaning it’s excellent at keeping a person’s blood sugar levels at an optimal level.

You could even throw in some flaxseeds that offer similar health benefits as well as lowering cholesterol, improving insulin sensitivity and are rich in protein. However, it is important to note that whole flaxseeds will pass through the body without being broken down so we recommend purchasing ground flaxseeds or grinding them at home.

2. Eggs

A popular breakfast food, eggs are a staple in most households and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Whether you like them boiled, poached, fried, scrabbled or whipped together into a healthy omelette, they’re highly nutritious and having 3 large eggs equates to 20g of high-quality protein designed to keep you fuller for longer.

In fact, countless studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast can increase feelings of fullness, reduce calorie intake throughout the day and helps maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels. They even provide amazing health benefits such as helping prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration, reducing heart disease risk and offer one of the best sources of choline, a very important nutrient for brain and liver health.

Our tip, we recommend boiling a few eggs the night before to save time in the morning and you can even have them on your daily commute to work.

3. Greek Yoghurt

Much like oatmeal, Greek Yoghurt can be combined with a bunch of different ingredients and can even be had in a variety of ways. It’s main benefit however, is its high protein content that’s more concentrated than other protein-rich foods. And as we’ve pointed out earlier, Protein has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger and has a higher thermic effect (increase in metabolic rate) that occurs after eating.

Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium and contains probiotics that help support a healthy gut and immune system. Pair this soon-to-become-a-staple-in-your-fridge with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries for a massive protein and fibre hit!

Our tip is to get a Nutribullet, or an equivalent blender, and throw in a bunch of berries, Greek yoghurt and anything else you can find for an easy on-the-go breaky. Check out this resource for 32 Greek yoghurt smoothie recipes.

4. Bananas

Probably the easiest breakfast option on this list, potassium-rich bananas are the perfect go-to for a quick, mobile, healthy and, most important, easy breakfast option. And why is potassium so important? Well, Potassium helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.

Potassium also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. It keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure. And in just one medium sized banana you’ll receive approximately 422mg of potassium in one sitting.

Bananas can also assist with maintaining optimal blood pressure levels, help prevent wheezing in children with asthma, can help remove free radicals from the body, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, help lower blood sugar levels and a whole lot more you can find here.

5. Coffee

Now before you audibly scream the word ‘what’ or reach for that thumbs down icon, we’re not saying that coffee should be had as the ‘only’ breakfast item in the morning. Coffee must be paired with anything else on this list, or even rich in protein foods such as almonds or walnuts, as coffee alone doesn’t contain any protein content.

However, what it does have is antioxidants which help fight inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels and decrease diabetes and liver disease risk. And obviously, coffee is a rich source of caffeine – something designed to wake us up.

Now the jury is still out on caffeine, largely due to the potential ‘crash’ or three-thirty-it is as we like to call it, however, studies have shown that caffeine can increase metabolic rate and fat burning. While caffeine itself has been shown to improve mood, alertness and mental performance.

Our tip on this one is to not overdo it. Too much caffeine can interrupt your daily sleep schedule, cause irritability and lead to insomnia. Start with one cup a day, having it straight (or as black coffee) without milk and sugar, and see how it affects your daily performance and quality of sleep and go from there.

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