The old adage that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is well accepted and respected by most Dietitians and Nutrition experts. With this said, breakfast is only as beneficial as the rest of the meals you consume with it, so a great breakfast followed by 3-4 other poor meals is somewhat null and void. So if you’re looking to adhere to the ‘healthy breakfast’ protocol, what should you be looking for? Well, this is somewhat subjective, people thrive on different things and there is no disputing the benefit many get from a good ol’ bowl of oatmeal, both from a satiating (fullness) and nourishing perspective. Other people may opt for eggs and bacon, or heck, some people even go for the classic bowl of cornflakes and so. So what would I say constitutes a healthy breakfast, well certainly not the latter (cereal), yes there are some reasonable fibrous sorts of cereal that can aid digestive health and fill you up for an hour or so, but better options are available.
Meat for brekkie?
Meat has been a staple of many people’s breakfasts for centuries, be it game, fish, sausage, bacon or black pudding (if that even constitutes meat). However, more recently red meats have become common place in many people’s diets, albeit mainly athletes or gym goers, and here’s a brief summary to why. Meat is thought to cause a slow, steady rise in blood sugar levels, combining this with nuts provides a source of healthy monounsaturated fats that theoretically moderate the release of sugar over the morning. The mastication (chewing) process of with meat is far greater than with any other food (excluding sticky sweets of course…not that you eat those right), this process triggers a more exaggerated release of the neurotransmitters Norepinephrine and Dopamine, these neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) are proven to switch you on and make you feel good. Meat is high in protein, and protein is key to muscle replenishment and growth, it is also satiating i.e. makes you feel fuller for longer as well as boosting your metabolism (both directly and indirectly) because it has a high thermic effect when eaten, AND because it increases muscle mass which in turn boosts your metabolism.
Is meat the way forward?
There are pro’s and con’s with this, there is the possibility that people will take this dietary suggestion as an excuse to eat the same meat every morning…take it from me, this isn’t the way forward! If you do want to go for this type of breakfast and want to consume meat at every breakfast sitting, then be sure to vary the meat type. Red meats should be consumed in moderation, so no more than 3 portions a week for the average, otherwise healthy person. So in order to keep it beneficial, and therefore healthy, you should look to vary the meat at breakfast with white or oily fish, pork e.g. at least 98% meat sausages or bacon, and why not even chicken? People report the following on a meat and nut breakfast:
- Higher mental alertness
- Increased energy
- Improved appetite control and better satiety
- Fat loss and more lean mass
But does this mean this is the way forward for everyone? Well not necessarily, this is because everyone’s body is different and therefore people’s response to meat and/ or oats in the morning is subjective. For me, I function really well on eggs, followed by 30-40g of oats in the morning, this suits me. I prefer not to eat meat in the morning, and so do many people, my mental clarity is fine and doesn’t appear to be any better when I consume meat in the morning. I would therefore say it’s worth a try, but it’s down to you to assess how your body responds…if it suits you then hey presto, have meat in the morning!