Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

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In this week’s column, Sheffield nutritionist Hannah Bailey looks at what’s often called the most important meal of the day.

Bored of breakfast?

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Several studies have shown in adults it helps with weight loss and for children it’s vital to boost academic ability but getting breakfast eaten can be a challenge.

Breakfast literally does break the fast. Once the body receives food, our metabolism kick in and the body starts working again after resting.

Rest is very important for the body to repair and rejuvenate but without eating breakfast, it doesn’t receive the message to wake up.

Cereals are a very popular choice for breakfast but watch out for high sugar and contents, especially in cereals such as Coco Pops, Frosties, Special K and any others containing chocolate. Weetabix, porridge, muesli and Shredded Wheat are much healthier options.

Try adding some fresh fruit to get one of your five a day.

If you have children who like very sugary cereals, you may need to wean them off slowly. Encourage them to mix sugary cereals with healthier options or try using fruit as a natural sweetener.

Dried fruit is particularly sweet and adds flavour to cereals. Avoid breakfasts like toast and jam or chocolate spread as these cause big spikes in children’s blood sugar and will make them hungry by break time. Although marketed as healthy, chocolate spread is not due to the high sugar content.

Struggle to eat breakfast? Here are some different ideas you can try.

They are suitable for adults and children.

Poached eggs on wholemeal toast

English muffins with scrambled eggs

Fruit and yoghurt

Poached eggs, grilled bacon and tomatoes

Sardines on wholemeal toast

Peanut butter on wholemeal toast

Hannah has launched a new session of The Real Food Club at Hallam FC, Sandygate Road, Crosspool on Wednesdays, starting at 8.15pm. Sessions cost £5.50 including menu plans, recipes, weigh-in and free support throughout the week.