A GOOD BREAKFAST AND THE PRINCIPLES THAT SHOULD GUIDE OUR FOOD CHOICES AFTER THE ALARM.
“King’s breakfast, prince’s lunch and poor dinner“: how many times have you heard of it? I always repeat this phrase to my patients because with simplicity it makes us understand what kind of alimentary conduct it is right to have daily.
Since today’s topic is the first meal of the day, let’s focus on the opening phrase of the motto, or “king’s breakfast”. Why do you say this? The reasons are many, the most obvious is that the body needs energy because of fasting at night. Energy needed to support work or study. Equally known is the fact that, if we eat properly in the morning, for sure we will find ourselves less hungry at lunch, thus avoiding the excesses at the table.
For now I have not disclosed anything new, but the reasons why it is important to eat in the morning are not just these: there are more important and less known that it is worth investigating.
To explain the importance of breakfast, it is necessary to go back in time, even to the primitive man who, from the point of view of physiological / hormonal responses to external stimuli, was not so different from modern man. It was the environment that was different! In ancient times, the availability of food was not obvious and varied from day to day. Having, upon waking, the availability of food gave the organism a signal of “abundance”, therefore the physiological response was directed to activate the metabolism, thus increasing the caloric consumption. On the contrary, if upon awakening the primitive man did not have anything to eat, the transposed signal was of “famine”, therefore the body’s reaction was aimed at lowering the metabolism, consuming less calories.
In other words: today as then a signal of abundance upon awakening allows, by raising the metabolism, to consume more energy throughout the day, on the other hand, the scarcity of food saves energy for times when the body has little . This mechanism was very useful to primitive man because it allowed him to survive even when food resources were few or absent.
As mentioned above, modern man has the same physiological responses of primitive man, but the environment has changed, so nowadays, skipping breakfast is no longer an advantage because it leads, as we said, to a lowering of the metabolism with consequent tendency to the adipose accumulation.
Now that we understand why it is important to eat in the morning, let’s talk about what to choose and in what quantity.
Breakfast, from a caloric point of view, should provide around 15-20% of daily calories. As ingredients, instead, it should contain whole carbohydrates (eg bread or wholegrain slices, cereals without added sugars such as oat flakes), protein sources (milk, yoghurt, low-fat cheese, eggs), vitamins and minerals (fresh fruit, fresh juice, centrifuged fruit), good fats (dried fruit and seeds in general). In practice, a small but complete meal, with all the nutrients.
Speaking practically, here are some examples of balanced breakfasts:
Milk or vegetable drink + rye bread with ricotta and jam without added sugar + 1 fresh fruit;
Centrifuged apple, orange and carrot + natural Greek yogurt with blown spelled flakes and walnuts;
Porridge prepared with oatmeal, milk, fresh fruit, dried fruit. All paired with a juice;
If you rather eat salty: soft-boiled egg + toasted wholemeal bread + fresh pomegranate juice + dried fruit.
Many people are aware of the importance of breakfast and therefore would like to eat it every morning, but most of the time they do not have time to prepare it. Although it may be useful to prepare everything you need the night before, it is not easy for everyone to get organized.
How to do then? In these cases, it is possible to have breakfast once you get to work, but beware: not everything can be eaten in this context. Some combinations, practical at work, are:
fresh fruit easy to peel (bananas, mandarins …) + wholemeal slices + single-grain packet of parmesan;
savory version: wholemeal sandwich with ricotta and grilled vegetables + dried fruit.
Better instead to avoid some very safe but very recommendable options such as snacks and fruit juices.
Another alternative for those who have little time in the morning is Bivo. It can be consumed quickly before going out, or as soon as you get to work, in extreme practicality.
Bivo was born as a substitute for main meals, but its balanced and versatile composition makes it very suitable for breakfast as well. Even the calories are adequate because a whole packet provides the calories for an adult man’s breakfast, half-packet can instead represent the correct intake for a sedentary woman or for those who still want to contain calories. In particular, the new chocolate-coffee taste has also been designed for breakfast.
In conclusion, treat yourself to “king” in the morning and eat properly: your metabolism will thank you!
Paola Salgarelli, Nutritionist Biologist, specialist in Food Science