Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper is the saying. A lot of weight loss aficionados will tell you this, others will say a calorie is a calorie no matter what time of day it is consumed.
I am more in the latter than the former camp but I do believe there is something behind the first theory. A good nights sleep, for example, is a key player in health and happiness and I don’t believe anyone sleeps well on a belly full. We might feel sleepy after a good feed, the post Christmas dinner coma for example, but I don’t believe anyone has the good, undisturbed nights sleep that leads to waking feeling refreshed and raring to go when we’ve overindulged in the evening.
Likewise with lunch, a considered lunch with the balance tipped more towards protein than carbs, for me anyway, really helps beat that 3pm slump. So it follows that a good breakfast can really set us up for the day!
I’ve had a very mixed relationship with breakfast, I know I should do breakfast, but too often than not it’s easy to not. As kids we fared very well, Dad would make us porridge before we set off for the school bus. Even as we got older and were capable of making our own he would still perform this ritual for us, and I was grateful, it kept me going so well it meant I could pretty much skip lunch and save my lunch money! Lunch was for wimps back in those school days, not something I stand by now! As I ventured into university life it was much more tempting to have more time in bed and just grab a couple of biscuits and so the decline set in. For breakfast to work for me it has to be appealing and fairly easy.
This is where oats are still a favourite.
Oats are the power breakfast of breakfasts! They contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibre which slows down the absorption of carbs and so prevents blood sugar spikes and keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Sugar spikes also encourage our bodies to produce and store fat, something I am guessing a lot of us would like to avoid! Amongst other things they are also a rich source of magnesium, an increasingly common deficiency. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, regulating blood pressure and can help prevent heart attacks. Studies are starting to link magnesium deficiency and depression so getting a daily dose of oats could really help with those winter blues. And of course the benefits of oats for our good and bad cholesterol balance is well documented.
There is the obvious bowl of porridge, I posted a few days ago on my Facebook page a Jamie Oliver link with a variety of ways on how to top yours.
Although only a matter of minutes, porridge does take some time to make so my regular go to is granola, there is always a tub of this tried and tested recipe in the cupboard. A bowl of yogurt, plain, full fat, live, topped with a couple of handfuls of this granola and some fruit is perfect.
- 500g Oats
- 1 Cup sunflower seeds
- 1 Cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 Cups chopped oats, I use almonds and brazils
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 125ml maple syrup
Mix all the dry ingredients together, melt the oil and add the syrup, stir this into the oats to coat evenly. I have my wonderful Pampered Chef stone baker which makes the mixing and cooking easy, use a large bowl and then spread on two large, lined baking sheets as an alternative.
Bake for 20 mins at 150 fan, or equivalent, give a good mix and bake for another 10-20 mins depending on how toasty you like it. Once out of the oven give a good mix and allow to cool, if you don’t mix it will set into clumps. Store in an air tight container and enjoy!
Another favourite are these oaty pancakes, I make a batch, freeze and then toast from frozen. These combine oats with another breakfast favourite – eggs.
100g oats – 200g cottage cheese – 4 eggs – 1 tsp cinnamon
Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor for a smooth batter. Heat a frying pan, add a little oil, I use coconut for these. Ladle in a little batter, cooking in batches for 2-3 minutes each side.
So the other speedy breakfast favourite that ticks a lot of boxes are eggs. High in protein and good fats eggs are also a source of choline, an essential nutrient which stimulates brain development and function. Choline has also been linked with increasing memory retention and recall as well as improving alertness, what a start to the day!!
To be continued …..