Niki Bezzant: How to Boost Your Breakfast For a Healthy Start

Niki

Niki Bezzant is a writer, speaker and commentator who is passionate about food and health. Niki has been involved in the food media for 20 years. She was founding editor of Healthy Food Guide magazine, and is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday, the Monday Herald Be Well, and a frequent contributor to broadcast media. She is a proud ambassador for the Garden to Table  programme which helps kids learn how to grow, cook and share food. She is a member of the Council of Directors for the True Health Initiative and a board member for the NZ Nutrition Foundation.

Boost your breakfast for a healthy start

It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Science doesn’t really support that statement; research has found benefits to not eating breakfast, or delaying it, as much as it has found benefits from eating it. So whether we eat breakfast or not is really a personal choice.

One of the best arguments in favour of eating breakfast, though, is that breakfast is a good opportunity to get some great nutrition into our day, every day. If we don’t eat breakfast, we have one less meal in which to get the nutrition we need, so we need to make sure we really power-pack our other meals and snacks with healthy stuff.

So if we eat breakfast, we get a bit of a head start. You don’t have to spend ages cooking or have something different every day. But getting a bit of variety is good.

An ideal breakfast should have:

Protein

Protein is in every one of our cells, where it’s used to build and repair tissues; to make enzymes and hormones, and to build muscle, bone, cartilage, skin and blood. Eating protein also helps us feel full for longer. You can get protein into your breakfast in lots of ways: try salmon, tuna or sardines in an omelette; a tofu scramble; eggs on toast; high-protein yoghurt and milk; nuts and beans.

Fibre

We all need this super carb, probably more than we’re eating now. Get it into your breakfast in the form of whole grain bread and cereal; fruit and vegetables. Try and include veges in your breakfast wherever you can: toss broccoli and spinach through eggs; add tomatoes and avocado to your toast. And make your grains whole and as unrefined as possible: choose mueslis and granolas with whole-grain oats, seeds and nuts. Choose very grainy breads for your toast.

Colour

I don’t mean brightly-coloured cereal here! But skipping the refined carbs and thinking about making your breakfast as colourful as possible will probably mean you end up eating more vegetables and fruits, which is a great thing. Try adding kiwifruit and berries to your cereal or porridge; capsicum and carrot to your scrambled eggs; slices of orange kumara in place of toast; edamame and peas to ricotta on toast. Don’t forget leftovers too: left-over veges added to eggs for a frittata makes for a super satisfying brekkie.