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Breakfast for busy people

Andrea Zentai, Nutritionist

When you're in a morning rush...

...but you still want to eat healthy

According to recommendations regarding healthy eating as well as the dietary treatment of several wide-spread diseases (such as diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood fat levels or reflux), it is important to have a meal 5 times a day. Of these, it is perhaps the morning meal that has special significance on account of the effect it has on our metabolic processes. Research has conclusively shown that if we can make breakfast part of our daily routine, it will lead to a better balanced daily energy intake, a lower risk of getting overweight or an easier way to get rid of excess weight.

The inclusion of breakfast in the 5 or 6 meals taken during the day will increase the base metabolic rate and thus contribute to losing excess weight. A well- combined breakfast provides the body with essential nutrients as well as energy after being starved during the night, which can increase work efficiency and prevent headaches, constipation or nibbling throughout the day.

If you make a point of having a proper breakfast (especially if you failed to do so before), you may easily experience that you actually get hungrier during the day. This, however, should not scare you off.   Feeling hungry after a well- composed breakfast is just a sign that you are taking notice of your body’s needs, and are more motivated to include the remaining 4-5 meals in your day, so you will not feel compelled to  empty the fridge when you get home as hungry as a wolf in the evening.

The most common reason people give for skipping breakfast is being pressed for time and the fact that if they have a proper breakfast meal, they actually feel hungrier during the whole day. Some of those who do include breakfast in their diet as part of a switch to a healthier daily routine complain about getting bored with sandwiches and the lack of variety in how they can prepare their morning meals.

Responders in surveys on dietary habits and conditions often name coffee or café latte as their breakfast meal. In fact, you may well ask whether this can be called breakfast at all. Coffee in itself has hardly any energy content, not to speak of the fact that the frequent ingestion of plain coffee may contribute to the development of stomach ulcer. Enriching our coffee with milk and sugar does increase its energy content but it is still far from being an ideal meal, missing essential sources of nourishment​.

What should be included in the ideal breakfast?

Breakfast should cover about 20-25% of our daily energy intake. Taking an average daily total of 2000 kcal, this would mean 400-500 kcal. It is important that our breakfast contain liquid to replace the perspiration during the night. The best form of liquid replacement is plain water.

Breakfast should include fibers, too, which help ensure a balanced energy level and have a regular stool. Fibers can be obtained from whole meal grains, vegetables and fruits.

To help the healthy functioning of physiological processes and increase the feeling of fullness, make a pint of consuming proteins (cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, fish, meat, oily seeds and dry legumes) as well as good quality fats (cold pressed oils) for breakfast.

Ideas for an easily prepared breakfast

  • oat, barley or spelt porridge with cinnamon, cold pressed oils (chia or poppy seed, apricot seed, walnut, almond), cottage cheese
  • Mexican omelet
  • muffin with cheese and dried tomatoes
  • cottage cheese pancake from wholemeal (or tigernut)
  • sorrel- cheese cream with wholemeal waffle
  • avocado-lentil salade
  • chia pudding
The inclusion of breakfast in the 5 or 6 meals taken during the day will increase the base metabolic rate and thus contribute to losing excess weight.

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