The fact that breakfast is the king of meals is common knowledge. But do you know what ingredients and nutrients make for a delicious, nourishing breakfast? Here’s how to pack a nutritious punch with your first meal of the day
Well begun is half done,” ” said Aristotle. This is particularly true about your breakfast which, if consumed in the right measure, with the most appropriate nutrients, can refuel your body, repair worn-out tissue and leave you feeling positive and energetic all day. While there are no rules about what comprises a wholesome breakfast, as each individual’s energy demands differ significantly based on lifestyle and heredity, it helps to bear a few tips in mind while planning a quick yet nutritive breakfast for yourself and your family. “A healthy breakfast always includes a good source of low-fat dairy products, protein and some fresh fruits or vegetables. A breakfast like this ensures you don’t suffer from a drop in blood sugar mid-morning, which can make you both, lazy and restless.Choosing amongst healthy foods like whole-grain breads, lean meats, and even nuts for breakfast is always a good idea,” says Dr Sonia Narang, a Delhi-based nutritionist.
BACK TO BASICS
There is a certain nutritive value and pure scrumptiousness to conventional Indian breakfast items such as poha, upma, steamed idlis, eggs and parathas, finished off with a piping hot cup of tea or coffee. But one often forgets that these delicacies must ideally be accompanied by at least one serving of fresh fruit before the caffeine fix of the day. The fibre that the body receives from fresh fruit or uncooked vegetables is really the unsung hero among all other nutrients in our modern diet. “We know that protein and carbohydrates make for a healthy meal, but we need to start thinking seriously about our about our fibre intake.This is especially true when it comes to breakfast because a large enough serving of fibre at the start can stimulate the digestive system to perform optimally throughout the day,” advises Dr Maya Adam, a US-based medical doctor who also teaches at Stanford University.
The secret to increasing your daily fibre intake is to twist conventional breakfast goodies and replace nutritionally less important ingredients with those that add more value. “For instance, try adding chia seeds and oats to a traditional fruit smoothie to tone down the natural sweetness of fruit while increasing the roughage value of the dish. Load your egg or chicken sandwiches with lettuce or fresh cucumber and tomato slices to enhance texture a well as taste.Now is the time to skip health juices and packaged cereal, instead train children to enjoy fruits and vegetables in their whole, natural state for long-term health and lifestyle benefits,” advises Dr Adam.
LITTLE THINGS MATTER
The importance of complex carbs, protein and a little fat in constructing a well-balanced meal cannot be emphasised enough.However, it is high time we focus on micronutrients like vitamins and minerals that help our body to absorb the right amount of carbs, protein and fat, while also improving regular body functions.Fibre-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium.”It is very important to add calcium in your daily breakfast. Calcium helps to build bones and maintains your bone strength. For a calciumrich breakfast meal, you can add yogurt, milk and cheese in your morning meal. Choose low-fat or fat-free choices. Try a smoothie with fruit and skim milk which contains calcium. Have wholegrain toast with an egg and low-fat mozzarella cheese, which contains 207 milligrams of calcium,” advises Dr Narang.