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  • Sharon Hultzer

The best way to start your day

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

It has been shown that people who skip breakfast are more likely to make poor food choices throughout the day, overeat during the day and consume excessive high fat and sugar snacks.

Eating breakfast has an immediate positive effect on cognitive function, particularly memory and attention span. This is also noted during the latter half of the morning, where typically a decline is seen in non-breakfast eaters. Children who regularly eat breakfast show significantly improved grades in mathematics.

A study amongst health professionals in KZN found that 51% skipped breakfast! In 2012, a study amongst South African children showed 81% of children went to school without eating breakfast. These are not encouraging statistics, given the impact of the first meal of the day on performance, productivity and health.

Parents influence the family’s attitude towards breakfast as well as the food choices made.

Parents are important role-models, and their attitudes have a greater impact on children than simply imposing rules or giving instructions. Children who see their parents eating breakfast are more likely to eat the meal themselves and also make better choices.

Here are a few ways that you can introduce or increase the enjoyment of breakfast in your home:

  • If you have not been in the habit of eating breakfast, start by having breakfast on 2 or 3 mornings in the week and work towards increasing it.

  • Split up the meal. If you are not hungry early in the morning, start off by having a piece of fruit at home and taking a yoghurt or sandwich with you for later. Keeping dried fruit and nuts in your handbag, briefcase or cubbyhole will allow you to eat on the way to school or work.

  • Plan ahead. Breakfast does not have to be a large meal, rather try to include two or more food groups. For example a glass of milk with a high fibre cereal, peanut butter spread on a few wholewheat crackers, nuts or trail mix added to yoghurt, egg (boiled eggs travel well) with a piece of fruit.

  • Leftovers can be put to good use. Mix leftover rice with plain yoghurt, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon for a tasty quick breakfast.

  • Budget well. Single serving tubs of fruit or yoghurt are often more expensive than larger quantities. Decant yoghurt into smaller containers and prepare your own fruit. Ready to eat cereals are almost double the price of oats and maize meal porridges. Be creative with adding seeds, fruit, cinnamon, or cocoa to cooked oats.

  • Save time in the morning by setting out the dishes and no-perishable food items the night before. Oats doesn’t have to be cooked on the stove. It is quicker in the microwave, or else it can simply be soaked overnight.

  • Prepare Grab and Go breakfasts the night before. Fresh fruit and boiled eggs can be pre-prepared and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Layer cereal, fruit and yoghurt in a sealable container to be grabbed on your way out the door.

The challenge is on! Give yourself the best start to have a great day by enjoying delicious breakfast everyday.

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