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Jack Challem

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Wellbeing – the healthy breakfast choice

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Start your day with a great breakfast for a great working day! This advice comes from nutritionist and author of The Food Mood Solution, Jack Challem – take your pick from his healthy breakfast menu.

 

What your mother said is really true -breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eat the right type of breakfast and you’ll have great energy levels. Eat the wrong type of breakfast and your energy levels and ability to concentrate will be up and down. A good breakfast contains quality protein. An unhealthy breakfast is rich in sugars and carbs and is basically dessert at breakfast time.
 
 
How it can benefit your daily health – such as concentration?

Eating a quality breakfast benefits health in several ways. It improves energy levels. It improves concentration. It also reduces appetite later in the day, so it’s easier to lose and maintain a healthy weight. People who skip breakfast typically overeat later on.
 

What is the ideal breakfast for a busy office worker: what should they eat and why?

I recommend several quick and healthy breakfasts.

Go to work on an egg: On a Sunday, scramble several eggs. Mix with some with sauteed veggies (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms). Eat some, but store the rest in small containers, refrigerate them, and zap them in a microwave on the next several work days. This high protein, low sugar breakfast should keep your energy levels stable.

An Irish alternative: cook up a batch of Irish oatmeal on Sunday, divide it and store in small refrigerated containers and zap in the microwave in the morning. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add some raspberries or blueberries for flavour. The slow release oatmeal will help your energy levels stay high and the fruit will add sweetness without sugar but with lots of vitamins.

Go European: fill your plate with a few slices of meats and cheeses, and add a little fresh fruit on the side. This continental combination is high in protein and nutrients.

  • Why not monitor your energy levels by trying out these breakfasts instead of toast or cereal? Or consider holding a wellbeing week and use these breakfast menu ideas as a handout to help your employees make healthy choices?

 
Look after your health all year round with HSF Health plan

8 Responses

  1. high protein breakfast

    I have had protein breakfasts and advocate, they avoid the highs/lows of sugar/carbs that can play with your motivation and concentration

  2. I cannot be serious!!!!

    I am a qualified personal trainer and nutritional advisor. I now advise businesses and executives on energy management and nutrition. So what do I recommend for the time-poor travelling worker who leaves at the crack of dawn and does not want to mess about in the morning?

    McDonalds!

    Yes you read that right!

    If I am stuck out and about, in need of a nutritious boost before 10am, along I go to the McDonalds drive-through. I come out the other side a quid lighter and holding a warm pot of ready-to-eat porridge. You could say the same for Pret, Starbucks etc, but for price, locations and convenience you just can’t beat Mc-D!!! Ask yourself if you really need to add syrup / jam, but don’t beat yourself up if you go for it. Why not only use half?

    Really though it is just about making good choices. The Eat Natural bars mentioned above are fine – if the alternative is a bacon and egg butty. But high levels of sugar make them a slightly less than ideal breakfast (if you are stuck on eating cereal bars, worth knowing that the Quaker Oat bars contain about 60% less sugar than the norm).

    The world of nutritional information is a rocky one. I work with registered dietitians, and their advice has not changed for some time. See the "Eatwell plate" for more on that. Essentially though, high protein diets which were very much en vogue until recently are increasingly recognised as not being ideal for most people. However a bit of protein with your breakfast is shown to help you stave off hunger for longer.

    My other tip is to eat regularly. I always keep a tupperware box in the car with a mixture of natural (ie unroasted, unsalted) nuts, dried fruit and seeds in it.  I try to eat something every two hours at the most.

    My favourite breakfasts for the busy worker: –

    1. Mix porridge oats with natural yoghurt (0% of course). keep in the fridge overnight – the oats swell up to absorb the yoghurt. The first time you do this, you will probably make it too thick. Just stir in some extra yoghurt. Add a handful of raisins and some pumpkin seeds if you like.
    2. Cereal. Come on, you can get up five minutes earlier to put some cereal in a bowl and eat it. 50g of cereal is enough – and if you really must sweeten it, why not use honey which goes a lot further than sugar (so use less of it!). Best types are those lower in added sugars and containing whole grains. Use skimmed milk for an extra deposit in the health bank.
    3. Fancy an egg butty? Go for it. Especially if it is a poached egg on wholemeal granary! Seriously though, eggs are a great source of vitamins and you don’t have to be scared of them. Just follow Kenny’s advice (above) . Still hungry? Try a three egg omelette, but only use one egg yolk (the dog will have the rest). Add a slice of wholemeal toast and you’ve got a winner. Not nutritious enough? Add some frozen (or fresh) veg to the omelette. I keep bags of frozen peppers, mushrooms, peas, sweetcorn and spinach in my freezer and it makes adding a portion of veg a 5-second job.
    4. None of the above? Now you are making me think. Eat something, anything. What about a glass of milk and a banana? Fruit alone may result in a sugar surge  – followed by a drop in energy levels. But add some protein or good fat and it absorbs more slowly helping you to keep up your zest for life.
    5. Now how about a ten minute brisk walk before work? Have I gone too far?

    Sponsorship Notice:
    I have not been paid by any of the brand names mentioned above. However if any of them read this, I need a nice new pair of running shoes. And a new bike.

  3. Time poor, nutrient rich!

    Do you know, I can imagine porridge takes longer to eat than make! As an aside, what about those porridge pots you can get on the run at Pret and Starbucks – are they good or bad?

    I’m going to make a confession – I have a healthy recipe for a breakfast scone which I make in batches and freeze – but as I haven’t had time to do a batch recently, this morning I had an apple cut into chunks and spread with peanut butter. It’s quick and has some protein so I went for it. I’ll wait for the nutritionist verdict on this practice…

    What else do HRzone members have for breakfast? We definitely need some more ideas here for super-quick, nutrient dense meals!

  4. What?

    How do you find the time in the morning for these breakfasts?? 

    An eat natural bar is all I have time for, it is packed full of nuts, raisins and sultanas and keeps me going til lunch.

    We all have hectic schedules and we find what suits us and is enjoyable.

     

  5. Californian Porridge

    I have to agree about porridge being the best breakfast.  I make mine with 50% water and 50% soya yoghurt.  Then I add freshly ground seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and linseed) with chopped almonds and wheatgerm.  Then stir in a very generous potion of fresh fruit – berries, apples, pears, pineapple etc.  My mates call this californian porridge!

    I disgree that saving and microwaving is best.  Fresh is the bestest.  It takes longer to eat my porridge than to make it in the microwave fresh every day.  The idea of reheated porridge, gone stiff and gloopy, is horrible.

  6. Some Great Breakfast ideas here

     

     

     

    Great article on the importance of breakfast, it is said that 50% of people in the UK don’t even eat breakfast! This fact was backed up in a little survey we did last year in the City of London and home counties.

     

    Scientific studies also show that breakfast-eaters apparently have fewer accidents, achieve higher levels of success in work, earn more money and generally enjoy better health than those who skip breakfast.

     

    1.    I love eggs as they are a great source of protein and important B vitamins. The protein slows down the absorption of any carbohydrates eaten which gives you a slower release of sugar. Best ways to eat eggs: poached, boiled, scrambled or omelette on fibre rich wholemeal toast. Stay away from fried!

     

    2.    Porridge has got to be one of the best breakfasts you can eat. The oats are a slow releasing carbohydrate and a great source of fibre, this helps stave off hunger. 

     

     

     

     

     

  7. Finding something that works for you

    I find a high protein breakfast keeps me feeling full for longer actually. Of course it’s about finding something which works for you – the Irish oatmeal would perhaps be your choice from the option here!

    However I’d recommend experimenting – perhaps try an alternative for a week and see if it surprises you.

     

    Thanks for reading, and your comment – I love to hear what you think.

  8. High Protein in the morning?

    I’m not sure I could handle a high protein breakfast of eggs, or cheese and meats every day.  I prefer a bowl of oats, seeds, fruit and a few nuts to get me going.  The slow release complex carbs (oats) seem to make more sense than high protein if you want a breakfast to give you energy through the morning…

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