We all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to food, however here’s a few golden rules for breakfast that everyone should adhere to no matter what they do but particularly if they have a long day at the office ahead of them.
1 Never skip breakfast
2 Eat before you leave home, don’t wait until you get to the office
3 Eat something healthy and ideally wholegrain so you’ll get a slow release of energy throughout the morning
There’s a good reason why breakfast is called the most important meal of the day. The food you eat in the morning starts you out as you mean to go on for the whole day. Who wants a slow, sluggish lethargic start when you can have a nutritious energy boost to kick off the morning?
My breakfast of choice is porridge (called oatmeal in some parts of the world). There’s lots of reasons why porridge is good for you and I’m not going to go into them all now. The reason porridge works for me is because a) it really fills me up (thanks to the dietary fibre) and b) I get long lasting energy release throughout the morning (thanks to the complex carbs which take a while to digest). It’s also really quick and easy to prepare.
The biggest complaint I hear about porridge is that it doesn’t taste good. OK, porridge served on its own can be pretty plain, especially if you make it with water (which I recommend by the way). It’s so easy to sex up the taste of your porridge though. I like to get as much nutrition from my breakfast as possible so I add a mix of seeds, nuts and honey.
Above are some seed products that I really like. The red packet has a mix of sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds with goji berries (I get this at Lidl) while the omega sprinkle has hulled pumpkin and sunflower seeds with golden and brown linseeds (Holland & Barrett). Both are packed with really good stuff such as omega 3, fibre and magnesium. If I have some blueberries, almonds or walnuts I’ll add them in with the seeds to give a bit of crunch. Nuts are high in calories so don’t overdo it but they are a healthy fat and a good protein provider. Finally I add some manuka honey to sweeten. Manuka is the king of honeys, helping with digestion, boosting the immune system and a great short term source of energy. It's a sugar though so don't overdo it.
The result is a bowl of incredibly sexy (and very healthy) porridge.
For anyone on a resistance training program you can add some whey protein to your porridge to sweeten it up a little more and give it a huge protein kick. I won’t go into detail on supplements here, there's a separate article I wrote highlighting the supplements I take that you can check out.
If porridge really isn’t your thing then there are some cereals worth considering. Just make sure to go for wholegrain, high fibre and keep sugar and sodium to a minimum. Watch your portion size and the milk that you’re using too. Milk has a number of benefits but if you’re trying to keep your weight in check then lots of full fat milk probably isn’t the right option.
Another healthy breakfast choice is scrambled eggs. I don’t usually have time to make them before work so this is often my weekend breakfast. Eggs are a nutritious superfood. I used to be of the school of thought that eating too many egg yolks a day could lead to cholesterol issues and even cardiovascular disease. Recent meta-analysis has however found that there is no link between egg consumption and the aforementioned diseases so you can enjoy the vitamin D, choline and other good stuff that yolks provide without any fear (Thanks to Tilt Nutrition for the quality detail). I am still a big fan of egg whites though as they are stuffed with protein and low in fat so that’s why I make a portion of scrambled eggs with one full egg and 3 or 4 egg whites giving me a low fat high protein result. You don’t have to scoop the yolks out of the bowl any more either, there are a number of companies providing quality egg white only products such as Two Chicks or O'Egg.
Adding in some tomato, onion, peppers or other vegetables will give your scrambled eggs an extra nutrient boost without significantly adding to the calorie intake. This goes very nicely with a slice of wholegrain bread which will add in some complex carbs.
Fruits are my final healthy breakfast suggestion. Personally I prefer to load up on fruits throughout the day in between meals, as a fruit only breakfast doesn't usually fill me, but that's not to say they don’t provide some great breakfast choices for some office workers. For me the best fruit options for breakfast time are grapefruits, bananas, kiwis, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries and raspberries. Why not mix a few of the above into a smoothie? You may want to supplement a fruit only breakfast with some wholegrain toast (or some porridge!) to ensure you have enough energy for the busy morning ahead.
In conclusion, be sure that you make a healthy choice at breakfast time. Do not skip this meal and do not choose the Humphrey Bogart breakfast (coffee and a cigarette) as a substitute! Eat at home and not at the office. Why is this important? Sometimes you'll be called to a meeting first thing and end up skipping breakfast altogether or sometimes you end up making an unhealthy choice if you’re busy or in a rush. The healthiest breakfast you can eat is the one you prepare at home yourself. Ensure you have stocked the right foods and take time to prepare and eat your breakfast each morning before you leave home to tackle the office!
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Yours in health,
P.S I love talking about wellness so feel free to drop me a line to discuss any of the above. Contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Low Down
Brian Crooke is a wellness consultant specialising in the design, improvement and auditing of wellness initiatives for Irish businesses. He is the founder of Office Worker Health, a platform dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing to the working population.
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