I am a Nutella addict. Every morning, I make two 30cm toasts and cover them with the infamous chocolate paste. I am so addicted that I often get out of bed mainly to enjoy my breakfast!
Unfortunately, Nutella is 50% sugar and 20% fat. No need to be a nutritionist to know that it's terrible for your health. Especially in large quantities and every day.
And since I reinstalled my daily sports routine, I figure it was an excellent opportunity to crack what many call the "most important meal of the day": The breakfast!
Is breakfast actually the most important meal of the day?
Lobbyists and companies like Kellogs spent a lot of money to convince you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to make more profit. They were, coincidently, right (source 1).
What you eat and drink at the start of the day has been shown to have some profound effects on our health, well-being, and cognitive performance. The kids and teenagers are the most impacted, and as an adult, these effects might be less pronounced, but you should still benefit from breakfast (1, 2, 3).
Also, as the Guardian journalist states, there is a very symbolic gesture in the breakfast:
People make their lifestyle change at New Year, and every morning is like a small New Year's Day – a chance to start things off in the right direction.
For all the morning fasters that read this article, you should know that skipping breakfast is associated with overweight (counter-intuitively) and other diseases (6, 7).
How many calories should I eat or drink during breakfast?
Even though these numbers could be useful if you are trying to lose weight, please note that I am not a fan of calory counting. Every metabolism is different, and calories are hard to count (at least for unprocessed food).
But for the sake of completeness, the scientific studies state that 15-25% of our daily calories intake should come from our breakfast (1, 8), i.e.:
- 300–500 calories for women
- 375–625 calories for men
What should I eat during breakfast?
This question is counter-intuitively straightforward to answer. What is right for your body at breakfast is the same as what is right during lunch or dinner.
Therefore, you should eat unprocessed vegetables, fruits and protein, good fats, and complex sugar in reasonable quantities (10).
In my case, I designed my new breakfast the following way:
- A cup of frozen berries mix
- A cup of spinach
- A banana or any fruit
- A tablespoon of powder protein
- A handful of nuts (almonds, cashews, or anything I got at this time)
- 300-400 ml of oat milk
It is tasteful, healthy, easy to shop, use only non-perishable food (except for the fruit), and quick & easy to prepare.
I mix everything into a smoothie that I drink in an hour or so after my running and during my fitness session. This way, I can have all the nutrients I need, complex sugars, and proteins. As a bonus, since I drink it slowly, I avoid the sugar rush I got with the Nutella frenzy.
What matters is what you eat during the whole day or even the entire week, and what works for me does not necessarily work for you. Please, check with your doctor or nutritionist before changing anything.