Breakfast on the Run

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and ideally we should all sit down to a long and leisurely breakfast providing more kilojoules than any other meal in the day. Given our lifestyles, however, this is rarely practical, especially since eating when we’re rushed and stressed is bad for the digestive system. The compromise is to find some quick and healthy choices to fill us up for most of the morning.

The five-star no-cook breakfast, in my opinion, is natural muesli (no added sugar) with fresh fruit and low-fat natural yoghurt. It’s a meal that has it all; fibre and low-GI carbohydrates from the whole grains; low-fat protein from the yoghurt; good fats from nuts and seeds; and antioxidants from the fruit. Yet while it may be quick to prepare, the whole grains make it a meal that takes time to eat, so if you are pushed for time you might be better packing your breakfast in an airtight container to enjoy once you get to work.

To tide you over before then, you could buy a small fresh juice, made from carrot, celery, ginger, beetroot and apple, en route to the office. While low in fibre, it will give you a quick energy boost, kick start the metabolism and provide some antioxidants to protect your system.

Good options

Bad options

  • Wholegrain toast and tahini with tomato
  • Wholegrain toast and avocado with tomato
  • Wholegrain toast and cottage cheese with tomato and cucumber
  • Low-fat yoghurt smoothie with fruit and added fibre
  • Muffin
  • Commercial muesli bar
  • Turkish toast and vegemite or jam
  • White/wholemeal toast and jam
  • Large fresh juice (made from fruit only)
  • A low-fat berry smoothie will give you calcium, protein, antioxidants and keep you feeling full for most of the morning. This breakfast does not have much fibre so if you make this your choice be sure to increase your fibre intake with plenty of vegetables, high fibre cereals, legumes and nuts later in the day.

    A couple of slices of good quality low-GI grain bread, toasted, with sliced avocado and tomato or tahini and tomato is another good quick start. The choice of bread is critical to how long you’ll be satisfied throughout the morning. Fluffy white Turkish toast may taste delicious but will not keep you feeling as full as a bread with added whole grains. Your choice of topping also makes a huge difference to the overall health value and sustainability — jam and vegemite may be the quickest options but neither offer much in the way of nutrients. Tahini made from ground sesame seeds is a great fat, with a low GI that’s also rich in fibre and calcium. Topped with a vine ripened tomato, rich in the powerful antioxidant lycopene, you will be enjoying a breakfast that is contributing to your overall good health as well as filling you up for the morning.

    Muesli bars are not the same as muesli — they’re glued together with the sugar glucose. And muffins, even those marketed as low fat or ‘nothing naughty’, are really nothing better than very large single serve cakes.

    Finally, don’t be sucked into buying any of the packaged products specifically marketed to busy people with no time for breakfast — most are full of added sugar and other suspect additives your body does not need.

    By Judy Davie

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