A well balanced, nutritious breakfast is key to help fuel you for whatever your day brings. Whether you break your overnight fast first thing, or wait a few hours is a personal preference. However, what you choose to eat is going to have an impact on your energy and hunger levels and also your concentration and productivity throughout the day.
A bowl of cereal is a go-to for many of us – it’s quick and easy after all. However, I want to show you some simple ways to ‘boost’ your bowl of cereal to make it more nutritious, more satisfying and even more delicious!
There is vast research on the health benefits of fibre including for both digestive health and cardiovascular health. As well as this, fibre can help you to feel fuller for longer. Oats are one of the best choices when it comes to cereal/fibre. Beta glucan found in oats is a viscous fibre that helps promote feelings of fullness. If you struggle with mid-morning cravings, a bowl of porridge may help you! Adding a tablespoon of chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds or sunflower seeds to your cereal is a great way to boost fibre further. Seeds also provide protein, as well as plenty of micronutrients such as magnesium, zinc and vitamin E… bonus! Adding raw, unsalted nuts can also help to boost fibre – almonds are a great choice as they also provide a source of calcium and magnesium or Brazil nuts as they are one of the best sources of selenium.
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body and is therefore a crucial part of our diets. Boosting protein at breakfast helps to increase satiety, helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Head to our article all about protein to find out more about the many health benefits to adequate protein intake. To boost protein in your breakfast, add natural Greek yoghurt to your cereal or mix through porridge and add seeds and nuts. Greek yoghurt is also a great source of probiotics, which help to promote a healthy gut. Alternatively, you could start your day with eggs as they are an excellent source of protein or have eggs on the side of your cereal.
As we all know, now more than ever we really need to be focussing on supporting our immune system as much as possible. A key micronutrient here is vitamin C. Head to our previous article here, to find out all about vitamin C. To boost vitamin C in your breakfast, try adding sliced kiwi fruit or strawberries to your bowl of cereal. Fruits such as strawberries and kiwi fruit will also help to boost the fibre content as well as providing antioxidants.
Something else which is so important to include in our diets right now. Antioxidants are key to help support your immune system, prevent cell damage and help to prevent chronic health diseases. Try addings blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, goji berries and nuts to your cereal. As well as this you could make a smoothie to have on the side, packed with a mix of berries. Adding kale and spinach to smoothies is a great way to boost the antioxidant content too (despite the green colours, if well balanced with other berries, you won’t taste the greens!).
Calcium is vital for bone health. There is often a lot of confusion around dairy products but regular cow’s milk is one of the best dietary sources of calcium. Milk is also a great source of protein, healthy fats and vitamin B12. If you aren’t able to consume dairy products, I advise you to buy plant milks that are fortified with calcium, as well as vitamin D and B vitamins where you can.
Whether or not you choose to break your fast before or after your workout is up to you. I weigh up a few pros and cons in a previous blog post here . Try adding a few of suggestions I’ve listed above into your week, and you should notice a real difference!
Words by Beattitue trainer and nutritionist, Becs Sandwith