Breakfast Healthy Swops

June 6, 2013 by The Co-operative Food swop-breakfast

The first rule of breakfast in our household is that we must have something, even if that means just grabbing an apple as you fly out of the door.

We love the idea of the whole family sitting and having breakfast together, but the reality is that it rarely happens except if we’re lucky at weekends.

None of us seem to have enough time first thing in the morning and I’m sure it’s the same for many homes. We rush around, shout at anyone who spends too long in the bathroom and generally get into each other’s way. But we all know from experience that the day goes better when you start it with something to eat.

Wholemeal and whole grain starchy foods are a good start to the day. They release their energy slowly and keep us going until lunchtime so we’re less likely to be tempted to snack. Wholemeal toast with a thin spread of something tasty will do the trick – just watch you don’t slap on too much jam or marmalade or you’ll be loading up your sugars. Fortunately Marmite is so strong you only need a little, there’s a fair amount of salt in yeast extract spreads and salt is something to watch out for.

Cereals offer us a huge range of quick and easy breakfasts, but try to get into the habit of looking at what they contain. Some are high in sugar, fats and salt, while others offer a good amount of fibre and slow release energy. Cereal is usually my go-to snack at anytime of the day, so I’m particularly careful about which I buy. We use semi skimmed milk too as it has less fat than standard milk . Slice a banana on top of your cereal and you get one of your five a day, and drink a 150 ml glass of fruit juice and you’ll add another. Just make sure you choose unsweetened juice.

Since I have been writing these blog posts I have paid a lot more attention to what the family eats, and in particular I buy more fruits. I’ve started using a selection in smoothies as they are a good start to the day that you can even take onto the bus, or in the car. Right now British strawberries are in season and you can’t beat strawberry and banana smoothie with a dollop of low fat yoghurt, and maybe even a handful of museli to give it more body.

If fruit for breakfast isn’t your thing, and cooking anything, even toast, is not feasible then there’s always a cereal bar. It’s quick and easy and you have to do nothing but unwrap it and eat. But like a bowl of cereal, there are many different choices and you need to get into the habit of checking for sugars, salts and fats.

As a simple guide anything with less than 3g of fat per 100g is low fat, anything over 20g is high. With sugar it’s low under 5g per 100g, but high if over 12.5g per 100g and with salt over 3g per 100g is high, less than 1.5g is low. At The Co-operative our traffic light system on all own brand foods will help to guide you.

When you start looking at the fat, sugar and salt content of food, it can seem complicated, but you soon get used to it, and it’s a good habit to get into when you’re choosing between different options for any time of the day.

A healthy breakfast gets you off to a great start, helps you concentrate, and helps you avoid snacking – get into the habit!

Casey’s Kitchen

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