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I am a firm believer in making breakfasts the most essential part of our daily routine and where we make a start when trying to change our lifestyle.

And once we have this healthy habit sorted – of not just having A breakfast as part of our daily routine, but THE breakfast – the right kind of breakfast – then we build the rest of the good habits on top of it, one by one.

With chronic diseases on the rise, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have finally recognised the importance of breakfast as a healthy behaviour that is one of the key factors in reducing health diseases across Europe.

“As a former teacher, I can spot straight away who’s awake and alert and who’s tired and distracted. And in my experience, one of the biggest factors that determines success in the classroom is so simple and so often overlooked: having breakfast every morning.”, says Jean-Claude Gonon, Secretary-General of the European Association of Teachers (AEDE).

World Health Organization (WHO) stated:

“A regular breakfast is part of a healthy diet, which in turn has traditionally been considered an important factor in a healthy lifestyle. Breakfast contributes to the quality and quantity of a person’s daily dietary intake, and breakfast-skipping has been linked to inadequate dietary nutrition in several studies. Breakfast-skipping also influences cognition and learning and consequently may impact on adolescents’ capacity to take advantage of learning opportunities provided by schools and families.”

But breakfast isn’t just important for children and young people. Making sure we eat breakfast in the morning is just as important for adults too.

“Missing breakfast has been associated with several other health-compromising behaviours, such as higher levels of smoking, alcohol and drug use and more sedentary lifestyles. Breakfast skipping has also been linked with the increased consumption of snacks low in fibre and high in fat later in the day and an increased risk of obesity.”, World Health Organisation.

An increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases is a huge burden on the economy and is estimated to account for 86% of deaths in Europe. While governments across the EU have succeeded in making “five portions of fruit or vegetables per day” a part of a healthy eating message, the message to eat breakfast is only a minor part of some European countries healthy eating programmes, while many do not mention a healthy morning meal at all.

Why You should not skip breakfast?

  • Breakfast kick starts body’s metabolism in the morning
  • Breakfast can improve mood and concentration, which may help your performance throughout the day
  • Eating breakfast regularly allows for greater control over appetite, thereby assisting weight control
    (59% of European men, and 48% of European women, are either overweight or obese)
  • Breakfast eaters have higher intake of essential nutrients and fluids at the most critical time of the day
    (Coronary heart disease is the biggest cause of death in Europe.)

Mintel reported in 2010 that 70% of the people do have breakfast, but, with today’s lifestyle, people either delay breakfast to mid-morning or simply opt out for poor choices, in which case body does not get the nutrients it needs in the morning, which has an effect on the choices we make the rest of the day!

So, it is not just the importance of having ANY breakfast, but breakfast itself needs to fulfill certain criteria and it comes down to the difference between… Balanced and Unbalanced Nutrition.

Balanced Nutrition

A healthy diet is the basis of balanced nutrition, having balanced nutrition helps to maintain or improve a person’s overall health and lowers the risk of a number of health related issues. A healthy diet is about consuming the right amount of essential nutrients and drinking enough water. Balanced nutrition therefore is about consuming the right amounts of macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) calories to support energy needs, and micronutrients (amino acids, vitamins & minerals) to supports the needs for human nutrition.
  • Your body uses the energy (macronutrients) you provide it during the day as fuel.

  • At night your body uses the building materials (micronutrients) you provide it to replenish itself at night.

  • In addition to this you lose a litre of water while you sleep through breathing, sweating and going to the bathroom

So, we need to restore all this energy, building blocks and water every single morning that has been lost during previous day and during night!

Unbalanced Nutrition

An unhealthy diet is the basis of unbalanced nutrition. Processed and poor quality food is abundant in developed countries and as a result bad eating habits are common. In addition to a bad diet, the modern lifestyle is also a key contributor. Little or no exercise, stress at work and living in a polluted environment all take their toll on a person’s health and nutrition. Choosing to skip breakfast or to eat a simple carb-based breakfast is considered to be unbalanced and lack nutrition and can affect you and your day in a number of ways:

  • Cravings for sugary snacks

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Tiredness forgetfulness

  • Irritability and mood swings

Possible health issues as a result of unbalanced nutrition?

There are specific nutrients which are essential for growth and maintenance of the body. Over time a diet and lifestyle consisting of unbalanced nutrition can lead to health issues (Source: WHO):

  1. Overweight and Obesity; the imbalance between declining energy expenditure due to physical inactivity and high energy in the diet (excess calories whether from sugar, starches, fat or excess of other nutrients) is the main determinant of the obesity epidemic. Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.

  2. Diabetes; weight gain, obesity and inactivity accounts for the increasing rate of type 2 diabetes worldwide.

  3. Cardiovascular Diseases; are to a great extent due to unbalanced diets and physical inactivity.

Balanced Nutrition begins at Breakfast!

Breakfast should provide a quarter of your day’s nutritional requirements! The choice to skip breakfast or eat a carb-based breakfast may have long-term negative effects on nutrition. The reason is you are not only depriving your body of essential nutrients to re-fuel each morning, but to also remain healthy and reverse the ill effects of modern lifestyles.

When analysing client’s lifestyle and food intake, it is the breakfast that most find the most difficult to get right, which is the reason for the tiredness and sugar cravings experienced during the day, just to name a few. By just correcting breakfast and ensuring proper nutrients intake and stable blood sugar levels, client’s energy levels go through the roof and they finally experience stable blood sugar levels and feel they are finally in control, on top of also starting to lose weight.

So, I am a firm believer in making breakfasts the most essential part of our daily routine and where we make a start when trying to change our lifestyle. And then we build the rest of the good habits on top of it, one by one.

So, have YOU had your Healthy Breakfast today?

Until next time, Happy, Healthy Breakfast time 🙂

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