On Saturday when I went to our local supermarket at about 7PM I noticed a couple in the cereal isle with their 2 young children, maybe about 3 and 1 year old. They were asking the 3 year old which sugar coated cereal he wanted and he was obviously tired and a bit upset as he chose between the options in the “Children’s” section. Now stepping onto my soapbox here I’m going to have a mini rant about how supermarkets and cereal companies target children, the one portion of the population who we know need a balanced and healthy breakfast with advertising for breakfast foods which are little more than sugar. Children need slow release carbohydrates in the morning to give them the energy to get to lunchtime. By feeding them high sugar foods we give them an initial burst of energy followed by a crash when the sugar wears out.
I’m happy to hold my hands up and admit to being the strict one in our house. I ban the kids from sugary cereals and insist on limited healthy options for breakfast. My kids have never had the option of the “fun” cereals so they don’t miss them. My husband does sneakily have them at the back of the cupboard and I’ve given up trying to convert him but for anyone looking for a list of healthy, easy foods for the morning here is my top 10 list.
It’s probably one of the most traditional breakfast foods. If you want to know exactly what’s in your cereal this is the perfect option. Modern technology means that instead of cooking it on the hob you can just pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes then add fresh or steamed fruit for flavour.
When making porridge for my children I use a plastic bowl in the microwave then place it straight in the freezer for a few minutes to cool down quickly, saving us from the risk of burnt mouths and reducing the time when tummys are “rumbly”. Once the porridge has cooled enough I add some extra milk to create a nice consistency.
While not enough on their own, bananas are great as part of a balanced breakfast, they are a source of potassium, high in fibre, release energy slowly over several hours, and will brighten your morning with a sunny smile.
- Wheat biscuits
While wheat biscuits do contain a small amount of added salt and sugar the amounts are far less than those in many cereals. Like oats wheat also contains complex carbohydrates which will release energy slowly over a number of hours. My children love milk on theirs but as an alternative you can have them with yoghurt and fresh fruit.
- Orange juice
Ok it isn’t technically a food but it is a good source of fibre, vitamin C, an antioxidant and sugars in the form of fructose. Whilst it’s important to have complex carbohydrates for breakfast as a source of long term energy, some sugars like those in orange juice can help to give you a positive start to the day, providing an initial boost in energy while the complex carbs begin to be digested.
- Milk or milk products
This one may seem obvious as most people will have milk on their cereal but for those that don’t a glass of milk of a yoghurt is an important source of protein, calcium and also of the fats needed to absorb the vitamins A, D, E and K.
An alternative source of wheat is the humble loaf, we often have fresh bread with butter and a little bit of jam at breakfast, r, if I haven’t been baking in the last day or two the more traditional toast, again this is a source of complex carbohydrates with a low amount of sugar and salt (depending on how much jam you add.
- Breakfast biscuits
Not so much for the children but as a mum who is running around making packed lunches, getting people dressed, debating which toy can come out with us and which definitely can’t this is a brilliant option. When eaten with a piece of fruit and glass of milk these wholegrain biscuits contain vitamins, fibre and those slow release carbohydrates that are so important. I was recently sent some of the new Belvita breakfast biscuit range to try and found them a very good option on days when I just hadn’t had time to sit down.
- Fresh fruit
As an accompaniment to cereal or bread fresh fruit is always a good option, as summer is getting closer (allegedly) there are more and more strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc etc looking tempting in the shops, they’re a good source of both water and antioxidants and a refreshing start to the day.
Boiled, poached, scrambled (maybe not fried) there are lots of healthy and delicious ways to cook eggs. They are a source of protein (in the white), contain all the essential amino acids (those that we can’t make for ourselves) and are one of the few foods to provide a natural source of vitamin D as well as vitamins A and E (in the yolk). Eggs do contain fats (mainly unsaturated) and cholesterol and may not be the right option for those on a low cholesterol diet, but for the majority of people tey are a great morning option, and who didn’t like dippy egg and soldiers when they were little?
Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day – I know I forget and end up headachey and cross. Acording to the NHS we should be drinking between 8 to 10 glasses a day, more if you are preforming cardiovascular exercise. Now 8 glasses a day might seem a lot but starting as you mean to go on and having a glass of water with breakfast can only help you improve your hydration.
This post is an entry for #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at www.facebook.com/belVitaUK