Building a Balanced Breakfast
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 and 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 below.
What should I look for in a good breakfast?
Like any main meal, you want to get a balance of macronutrients as these are the nutrients that give your body energy. This includes:
· Protein – 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
· Carbohydrates- for energy, B vitamins and folate. Choose wholegrain where you can to help keep you feeling satisfied and to stabilise blood sugar levels and mood. Carbohydrates are also important to re-fuel and replenish depleted carbohydrate stores post work-out.
· Healthy fats- for satiety and taste. Aim to have mostly unsaturated fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil) and keep saturated fats to a minimum. Breakfasts like bacon and egg rolls or croissants are fine every now and then but aren't a great option for every day.
· 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.
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. Generally, you should be aiming to fill 1/4 to 1/3 of your breakfast bowl with carbohydrates and protein, 1/3 to 1/2 with fruit/vegetables and 1-2 tbs of fats.
Some of my favourite combinations are:
Overnight oats with yoghurt, nuts/seeds and mango
Sourdough toast with poached eggs, avocado and mushrooms
French toast with ricotta cheese and berries
Corn fritters with tomatoes
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 if you make any of my recipes. I love seeing you enjoy them.
Talia is a registered dietitian working in private practice and as an eating disorder specialist dietitian in London's leading private mental health hospital. As a freelance dietitian, Talia not only offers 1:1 consultations but can present at your workplace, create recipes or articles or host a cooking demonstration. To enquire please fill out a contact form.