We’ve all been there: you just ate breakfast two hours ago, but already you can’t think about anything other than what’s for lunch.
If this sounds and you find yourself turning to snacks before 9 am, it’s time to start including the right nutrients in your breakfast to keep you feeling fuller for longer. But first, why is a balanced breakfast so important?
If you’re trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, breakfast is a great place to start. One of the best ways to ensure we reach our daily recommended nutrition goals is by starting the day with a balanced breakfast.
Have a nutrient-dense morning meal and you’ll be more likely to get enough protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals by the end of the day.
And getting the right nutrients in is especially important now – with lockdown disrupting our regular routines and all the added end-of-year stress, maintaining optimum nutrition levels is crucial.
Simply put, breakfast sets the tone for your day. Eating a balanced breakfast will help you make better food choices and help you perform better, both physically and mentally. A good breakfast can also stabilise your blood sugars and discourage snacking throughout the day.
To help you can get the most out of your brekkie, we’ve put together a list of the all-important nutrients you need in your next morning meal.
READ MORE: 6 Easy Recipes For A Balanced Breakfast
Including enough lean protein in your breakfast will keep you feeling fuller for longer. In fact, of the three macronutrients – fats, carbs and protein – protein is by far the most filling. That means that you need to eat less of it to feel satiated.
This is partly because, when you eat protein, a signal gets sent to your brain that reduces the release of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and increases hormones that make you feel full and reduce your appetite.
Protein-rich foods are also great for muscles. Eating enough protein will help you maintain muscle mass and promote muscle growth when you do strength training. But protein is used to build more than muscle! It’s also essential for healthy bones, hair and all the tissue in our bodies.
Adults should aim to get around 20-30 grams of protein in the morning, depending on your gender and how active you are, to aid our muscles and metabolism.
Good options include:
- Greek yoghurt
- Protein powder
- Cottage cheese
- Egg whites
Eating sufficient fibre has numerous benefits for your overall health. It can help you maintain a healthy weight; preserve good gut bacteria; plus it keeps you ‘regular’. Women should get around 25 grams of fibre a day, which can be tough, especially if you don’t eat breakfast.
Aside from the many health benefits they provide, high-fibre foods keep you feeling full, without adding extra kilojoules to what you’re eating.
Scientifically speaking, fibre keeps you full is because it is digested slowly. It therefore stays in your stomach longer, keeping you full. Fibre also expands when combined with water, so when it’s in your gut it literally takes up more space and fills you up. This sends appetite-suppressing signals to our brain, so we don’t need to eat as often.
When we digest it, fibre releases an anti-appetite molecule called acetate, making is even more effective at staving off hunger pangs.
Together, protein and fibre go a long way to keeping you going until lunchtime.
Good sources of fibre that you can add to your meals include:
- Whole grains
If you’re struggling to eat enough fibre, you may want to consider a supplement.
Adding healthy fats to your breakfast is a great way to avoid blood sugar spikes. Eating them in the morning will also keep you fuelled up until lunch.
Make sure you pick the right fats by opting for sources like avocados, natural nut butter, salmon or flaxseeds. These contain essential fatty acids which are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamins A, D, E and K) and help with hormone production.
Your breakfast needs to include the right combination of nutrients to keep you feeling full.
Stock your fridge and pantry with the foods that will make your body function better and give you enough sustained energy for a full day of work. You’re more likely to feel better, be able to concentrate better, have more stamina and feel less hungry, too.
It’s easy to ensure you get a great start to every day with a little planning and some help from Herbalife Nutrition. Visit myherbalifebreakfast.co.za for more ideas on how to Shake it, Drink it, and Live it, and make breakfast a breeze.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.