The first meal of the day can make all the difference between setting you up for success or leaving you a hungry caterpillar who eats anything in sight come lunchtime.
At midlife, when your metabolism slows down and you face hormonal changes, filling your breakfast with nutritious food is even more important as it may have a positive effect on your weight loss goals.
“As we age, we lose approximately 2% to 3% of lean muscle mass per decade if we don’t actively do anything about it – says Nutritionist Amy Goodson, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook-, and one of the best ways to combat losing this lean muscle mass is to eat high-quality protein at every meal, especially breakfast.”
Studies have reported that consuming 30 grams of protein in the morning will keep you satisfied and less hungry throughout the day. The reason is that foods high in protein take longer to digest and helps people who want to lose weight to control their appetite, providing your body with the amino acids it needs to build and repair lean muscle.
Typically, a high-protein breakfast will consist of eggs, yoghurt, milk, ham or smoked salmon. But in order to enjoy a fully balanced nutritional meal, you should include everyday vegetables, fruits and whole-grain cereals.
Here are the best options to nourish your body from the inside out, lose weight and skip boredom.
The every-day winners
Your morning meal doesn’t have to mean loading up on sugar and fats, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming to be healthy. Keep the breakfast basics in mind and set yourself up for healthier eating all day long.
- Whole Grain Cereals
Oats are a great anti-ageing food for the body and an alternative option if you’ve gone gluten-free. They contain a high amount of antioxidants and they’re also loaded with fibre which helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol at bay. However, quinoa and brown rice might be the way forward if you tend to get bored quickly and like experimenting with new flavours.
A great way to load your diet with antioxidants – such as vitamins A and D (both of which prevent wrinkles) – and essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein and therefore, healthy muscles. Mixed up with spinach, eggs can reset your mental and physical clocks, too. Research reveals that leafy greens are an easy way to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, keeping your brain healthy and young.
Yoghurt contains healthy fat and protein that helps keep you full. High in calcium, vitamins, and probiotics, it can also enhance the gut microbiota as well as offering protection for bones and teeth. Low-fat yoghurt is better for you if you are on a weight-loss diet, though. Add some berries, chia seeds and a spoon of honey to boost the flavour.
- Plant milks
For anyone looking to cut their calorie intake for weight loss, choosing plant-based milk for their diet can be a step in the right direction. This is because when you compare the calories in these two options, whole milk has four times more (149 calories) than the amount of energy found in almond milk. Plant milks, are also an alternative option for those who are intolerant or sensitive to dairy. Mostly added with vitamin D and calcium they contain age-fighting antioxidants while being low in calories. They come in different flavours: try plant-based options such as cashew, almond, hemp, flax, soy, coconut, and macadamia milk to add a twist to your breakfast.
They should never be missed in your breakfast. Go for berries like raspberries and blueberries that are low-glycemic (meaning they won’t raise your blood sugar) and contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Alternatively, you can opt for kiwi (packed with tons of vitamins C, E, and folate) or papaya (it contains enzymes that aid the digestive process, not to mention they’re sweet and taste fantastic).
What about coffee?
Caffeine can obviously assist you in feeling more alert in the morning, but black coffee might dry you out first thing in the morning and make you more stressed. This is because when we wake up, our body starts producing a chemical called cortisol. It’s at its highest level during the first few hours after waking, and it is meant to increase our alertness. But drinking coffee means interfering with this, making cortisol levels spike further or fall out of sync with our daily cycle. Our coffee breaks are, therefore, best saved for late mornings or afternoons, as the caffeine will actually provide an energy boost then rather than amping up the alertness already given to us by cortisol.
A great alternative may be Matcha or Green tea. They both contain powerful antioxidants that can fight cell damage. Rooibos might be a good option, too. It is a caffeine-free tea with a slightly sweet and fruity taste. Low in tannins, a compound that interferes with iron absorption, it provides plenty of antioxidants as well.