by Lucy Jones MRES BSC Hons RD MBDA
Upgrade to Wholegrain. In the UK, we simply don't eat enough fibre. Fibre helps to protect us from lots of illnesses like obesity, diabetes and even some cancers. Wholegrains such as oats are high in fibre and have a specific type of fibre called beta-glucans which lowers cholesterol and is good for the heart.
Don't forget your 5-a-day. With only 30% of the population reaching this target, we have a long way to go and breakfast is a meal where we can easily bump it up. From adding berries or chopped banana to your porridge and, to having a small glass (150ml) of fresh juice, there are lots of ways we can boost our nutrient intakes in the morning.
Make it balanced. A balanced breakfast includes wholegrain carbohydrates, protein such as a dairy-substitute and some fruit. This gives a wide range of nutrients and will help you feel fuelled for the day, avoiding unhealthy snacks.
Sweeten yourself. Watch out for hidden sugars in pre-flavoured breakfast oats. Instead, go for plain options and - if you're after a sweeter taste - add your own sweetness with a little dried fruit or agave nectar. This means that you know exactly how much sugar has gone into your meal and can gradually begin to wean yourself off the sweet stuff.
Whizz it up. Can't face breakfast? Try taking a plant based alternative such as almond milk and add fruit, oats and flax seed then whizz it up into a tasty shake. All of the nutrition of a breakfast but you may find it easier to drink.
Don't forget your sprinkles. Nuts and seeds are a really important addition to breakfast, adding protein, fibre, healthy fats and loads of minerals. They protect our health long term and make a great topping to porridge.
Don't be tempted to cheat. Oat bars are never going to be the same deal for your nutritional health, even if they are easier. Breakfast needs to be a priority. If you know there are days where time is short, be prepared and make homemade bars at the weekend using oats, nuts and dried fruits to take with you.
Mix it up and be versatile. Try not to have the same thing day in and day out. You get the best nutrition by eating a variety of foods and this goes for breakfast too. Try mixing things up by trying a smoothie one morning and a simple porridge the next.
Don't go for broke. Breakfast needn't cost the earth. You don't need fancy ingredients to make a healthy breakfast. Plain oats with apple and cinnamon is simple, cheap and super nutritious.
Make sure it's going to last all morning. Boosting the protein and fibre content can help you to feel fuller through the morning. You can do this by upgrading to a higher fibre grain choice, for example by swapping from cornflakes, crisped rice cereal to oats, adding nuts and seeds and an extra piece of fruit.