Have you been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but never told why?
Recent research suggests having a meal in the morning may be beneficial for our health.
Whilst research in this area is still ongoing, a growing body of evidence suggests the reason for this is due to what’s known as circadian rhythm, in which our body’s physiological functions are controlled by light and dark stimulants. Research suggests our body’s response to daylight is to wake up and eat, whilst darkness or night-time stimulates our body to sleep and fast.
Therefore, eating a meal in the morning breaks the overnight fast our body undergoes whilst we sleep. Breakfast allows us to top up our body’s carbohydrate stores, known as glycogen, that we use to keep our body functioning whilst we sleep. By refuelling our body’s glycogen stores, breakfast provides us with ongoing energy throughout our day.
Additionally, the Big Breakfast Study conducted a clinical trial which looked at the effects of meal-timing and circadian rhythm. This study found participants consuming a large nutritious breakfast suppressed their appetite, keeping them feeling full across the day. This may be beneficial for weight control as reduced hunger levels could prevent overeating in the evening.
Breakfast is also a great opportunity to provide our body with nutrients which are important for our health. To create a nutritious breakfast it is important to include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Good protein sources for breakfast include eggs, fish, and meat as well as dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt. Grains and cereals such as oats, bread, and muesli are good sources of carbohydrates. Whilst healthy fats in breakfast foods can be found in eggs, avocado, dairy products, nuts, seeds and fatty fish such as salmon. Vitamins and minerals are abundant in fruits and vegetables and should be included with breakfast to create a colourful and nutritious meal!
Included in this article are three delicious warm winter breakfast ideas to inspire you to eat a nutritious breakfast!
Shakshuka is a hearty breakfast made with jammy eggs poached in a spicy tomato & capsicum sauce! This meal is packed full of protein and has a good serving of veg too! Best enjoyed with crunchy toast and a sprinkle of feta to contrast the rich flavours of this dish.
Serves 1-2 people.
½ small brown onion, finely diced
1 small capsicum, diced.
1 cup tomato passata
1-2 slices wholemeal toast
½ tsp harissa powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
½ cup water
A generous sprinkle of crumbled feta (optional)
1. Saute onion in a small pan until translucent. Add garlic and spices and cook until fragrant.
2. Add capsicum to the pan and cook until soft. Then add passata and ½ cup water and let simmer for 5-10 minutes until a nice thick sauce forms.
3. Make 2 small holes in the sauce and add eggs. Place the lid on and turn the heat to medium. Let cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked.
4. Enjoy with toast and feta!
Apple Pie Porridge
Porridge is a quick, easy, and filling warm breakfast. The addition of cinnamon poached apple adds so much warmth and depth to creamy vanilla oats. This breakfast feels very comforting, and the cinnamon makes it smell like Christmas! Best of all, everything can be cooked in the microwave in a matter of minutes.
Serves 1 person.
Vanilla Porridge sachet
½ – 1 cup milk of choice
1 apple, diced.
Dash of cinnamon
½ cup water
1. Follow instructions of porridge sachet to make porridge in the microwave or on the stove. Use ½ – 1 cup of milk depending on the consistency you like your porridge.
2. Poach the apple in a microwave safe container with cinnamon and water for 5 minutes in the microwave.
3. Add poached apple & cinnamon to a bowl of porridge and enjoy!
Banana and Peanut Butter Baked Oats
Who doesn’t want cake for breakfast? These baked oats taste like warm banana bread with a thick spread of peanut butter and a hint of cinnamon. This cake-style recipe is super easy as you just chuck all the ingredients in a blender and cook in the oven. You could even make the batter the night before!
Serves 1 person.
½ cup rolled oats
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter, + more to drizzle on top before serving.
½ teaspoon baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (fan forced).
2. Add ingredients to a blender and blend until mixture is a smooth batter consistency.
3. Add the batter to a greased ovenproof ramekin and bake for 20-25 minutes.
4. Drizzle more melted peanut butter on top of the baked oats and enjoy!
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