Written by Talia Cecchele
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
I wouldn’t say any one meal is more superior than another but a nourishing and well balanced breakfast can really help to kick start the day by providing you with a hit of energy, keep you focused, alert and stabilise blood sugar levels and appetite. Breakfast doesn't just mean boring gluey porridge or jam on toast. Try to make your breakfast colourful and exciting by following my guide to building a balanced breakfast below.
What makes a good breakfast?
Like any main meal, you want to get a balance of macronutrients on your plate as these are the nutrients that give your body energy. This includes:
Aiming for 20g protein to keep you fuller for longer and provide essential nutrients needed for muscle repair (especially if you work out first thing in the morning). Protein is the nutrient I often see left out of breakfast (smashed avo on toast anyone?) which can leave you feeling unsatisfied and increase cravings later on in the day.
I always opt for a food first approach but protein powder can be convenient if you need something quick to add to your smoothie or cereal, or need to eat on-the-go.
For energy, B vitamins and folate. Choose wholegrain carbohydrates (such as wholegrain bread, oats, rice or quinoa) which are higher in fibre where you can. This helps keep you feeling satisfied and stabilises blood sugar levels and mood over the day. Carbohydrates are also important to re-fuel and replenish depleted carbohydrate stores post work-out.
For satiety and taste. Aim to have mostly unsaturated fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, oily fish) and keep saturated fats to a minimum. Breakfasts like bacon and egg rolls or croissants are great every now and then but aren't a great option to eat every day of your focus is on improving the overall quality of your diet.
Fibre, vitamins and minerals
Choose to include at least one fruit and/or vegetable to bump up the nutrient content of your meal with nutrients like fibre, magnesium & vitamin C. Remember, more colour = more micronutrients!
Adding some yummy flavours or different textures help to boost satisfaction and meal enjoyment. This might look like adding honey to yoghurt, ketchup to scrambled eggs on toast, a sprinkle of feta cheese or drizzle of olive oil on smashed avo or maple syrup on pancakes.
How do I make a balanced breakfast?
It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. Use the Mix and Match guide below to help you create a balanced meal for your macronutrients and then add some fruit/vegetables and some flavour for enjoyment if desired. Generally, you should be aiming to fill 1/4 to 1/3 each of your breakfast bowl with carbohydrates and protein, 1/3 to 1/2 with fruit/vegetables and 1 tbsp of fats.
Some of my favourite combinations are:
Overnight oats with yoghurt, nuts/seeds and mango
Sourdough toast with eggs, avocado and mushrooms
French toast with ricotta cheese, berries and maple syrup
Corn fritters with tomatoes and spinach
Rye bread with shakshuka (baked eggs)
Wholegrain bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and spinach
Homemade pancakes with yoghurt, almond butter and banana
I have so many breakfast recipes on my website! Head over for some inspiration and don't forget to tag me @tcnutrition if you make any of my recipes. I love seeing you enjoy them.
Can I apply these principles to other meals?
Of course! Building a balanced plate by using a similar mix and match guide can help you to create 3 balanced meals a day which keep you feeling energised and satisfied. To practice and learn to apply these principles across the board - download our How To Build a Balanced Plate guide for free.
At TC Nutrition, we support our clients to learn how to build balanced meals and snacks which are nourishing and enjoyable. If you need support with repairing your relationship with food, contact us for a free 15 minute discovery call.
Lead Dietitian & Founder
Talia Cecchele is a Highly Specialist Eating Disorder Dietitian and Founder of Talia Cecchele Nutrition, a virtual clinic of specialist eating disorder dietitians. Talia is passionate about supporting people to ditch the extremes of dieting, bring balance back to nutrition and find food freedom by overcoming food rules. You can follow Talia on Instagram @tcnutrition for more content and resources
Talia Cecchele Nutrition is a team of registered dietitians that specialise in eating disorder recovery, disordered eating, digestive issues and sports nutrition. We aim to bring balance back to nutrition, help you to break free from food rules and find food freedom. We offer virtual consultations and group programs so whether you are based in London, the United Kingdom or around the world we would love to support you. To enquire about a private consultation please fill out a contact form.