Breakfast: how to eat a balanced diet in the morning?


Breakfast for a king, lunch for a prince and dinner for a poor man. According to this saying, breakfast would be the most important meal of the day. Logically, after a long night of fasting of eight to twelve hours, you need to recharge your batteries! During sleep, metabolism is certainly slowed down, but cardiac and respiratory work as well as cell renewal represent an energy expenditure which can reach 600 calories.

What to eat in the morning for a healthy breakfast?

To compensate, nutritionists believe that the first meal of the day must provide daily energy needs:

  • 20 to 25% of calories of the day to the body;
  • 420 to 525 calories for a woman ;
  • 520 to 650 kcal for a man.

Overall, at breakfast, the body needs to have a source:

  • of vitamins : each having their benefits, they provide the body with essential energy to live in good health;
  • of proteins : the latter play an essential role in the body, they participate in the renewal of muscle tissues, bones, skin, etc. ;
  • of “ bons » carbohydrates : they are the ones who provide us with the necessary energy. Once ingested by the body, they are then transformed into glucose, fuel for certain cells in the body;
  • of « bon » gras, and in particular omega-3, -6 and -9, which promote the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and play a role in the development of the brain, bones and muscles.

What to have for breakfast to make it complete?

Considering the necessary nutritional intake, the ideal breakfast composition includes:

  • a beverage : fresh fruit juice (if possible not industrial fruit juice) or hot drink (water, herbal tea, tea, coffee). Green tea is rich in antioxidants. Be careful not to sweeten your drink: the hydrating effect will be reduced;
  • and grain food : bread, cereals, rusks, etc.;
  • and dairy product : milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.;
  • and fruit : preferably fresh, whole or in pieces, rather than industrial fruit juice, which is often too sweet. If you consume industrial fruit juice or compote, choose those without added sugars.

To have a quality protein intake, depending on your appetite and satiety, it is possible to complete breakfast with animal proteins (eggs, ham, etc.). Be careful, however, to reduce the dose of protein during other meals of the day.

Eggs in particular are a good idea, they are rich in vitamins and trace elements, and are not sweet. Poached, boiled, in an omelet, plain or mixed with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes… There is a wide variety of egg recipes that are easy to cook and practical for the morning.

Examples of a balanced breakfast

Discover 3 healthy breakfast menus proposed by the French Federation of Cardiology (source 1):

  • Tea + lightly buttered wholemeal bread + small piece of cheese + 1 apple;
  • Coffee + muesli without added sugar + lukewarm milk + 1 pear in pieces + a handful of almonds and walnuts;
  • A large glass of water + black bread + 1 boiled egg + 1 natural yogurt + 125g of strawberries.

Breakfast: vary the menus according to the context and desires

Why not vary the breakfast menu? In fact, monotony is one of the causes that makes children and adolescents skip breakfast. Their tastes often change, they have neither the same desires nor the same needs depending on the day… So, don't hesitate to multiply the menu ideas, depending on the context, the desire…

If the morning is long, you must choose a cereal product whose carbohydrates are very slow (slowly digested and distributed in the body): wholemeal bread, cereal bread, old-fashioned baguette, oatmeal, mueslis. When you can't digest milk, you can opt for yogurt or a slice of cheese.

As for fruit, it is better to eat them than to drink them as juice, which is devoid of fiber. For juice fans, pressing it at home or buying it in the fresh section guarantees that it provides at least vitamin C.

A smoothie in the morning, a good idea for eating fruit

An interesting idea to eat fruit more easily: mix them in a smoothie with other fruits or vegetables (carrot-apricot, kiwi-cucumber, etc.). This will give you optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber, while limiting sugar intake. Be careful, consume in reasonable quantities (150 ml maximum)!

Slimming, low-calorie breakfast: what to eat in the morning?

We start with adopt good eating habits : we avoid sugary industrial cereals, cakes, pastries, jam, spreads… Advice which, ultimately, also applies if you want to have a healthy breakfast! Indeed, these foods which have a high glycemic index.

We then prefer them :

  • oatmeal;
  • unsweetened drinks and dairy products;
  • fresh cheese;
  • wholemeal or cereal bread;
  • a little butter or margarine (10 to 20 g maximum) on the bread;
  • lean meat;
  • fresh fruit…

You can make one or two slices of fresh cheese, a good alternative to foods that are too sweet or high in calories.

An elaborate sandwich idea

Prepare a slice of toasted wholemeal bread with pieces of avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice, chili powder, salt and olive oil. You can opt for a less spicy version by spreading yogurt on the bread, then strawberries and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

For a supply of good fats, you can consume walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Also think with pumpkin seeds or chia seeds… Little tip: mix cottage cheese, pieces of fruit and chia seeds in a pot. A real treat, and a balanced one at that!

Children: give them breakfast rather than a snack!

A few years ago, studies showed that a substantial breakfast improves intellectual and physical performance children during the morning. Not surprising since the brain and muscles are large consumers of carbohydrates (sugars). THE young children who do not eat breakfast therefore have a risk ofhypoglycemiawith the resulting fatigue and lack of concentration.

However, experts from the French Food Safety Agency (ANSES) do not recommend the 10 a.m. snackat school, supposed to compensate for an insufficient breakfast. According to them, it cuts the appetite for lunch and the little ones make up for it at snack time, in a much less balanced way.

The parade ? Put your children to bed early enough so that they don't get up at the last minute and have time to eat a full breakfast…

What happens if you skip breakfast in the morning?

According to a study published in 2021 (source 2), adults who skip breakfast risk missing out on key nutrients. An analysis of data on more than 30,000 American adults showed that skip breakfast could lead to lack of calcium present in milk, vitamin C fruits and fiber from whole grains. “What we find is that if you don't eat the foods that are commonly eaten at breakfast, you tend not to eat them the rest of the day. So these common breakfast nutrients become a nutritional gap “, summarized Christopher Taylor, professor of medical dietetics, lead author of the study.

Lack of calcium and vitamins

In this sample of 30,889 adults, 15.2% of participants reported skipping breakfast. The latter had absorbed fewer vitamins and minerals than the others. The differences were most pronounced for folate, calcium, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D.

Additionally, people who skipped breakfast were more likely to eat more added sugars, carbohydrates and fats total during the day, partly due to higher levels of snacking. “People who ate breakfast ate more total calories than people who didn't eat breakfast, but lunch, dinner, and snacks were much more important for people who skipped breakfast and tended to be of lower quality,” notes the researcher.

Breakfast: and if you're not hungry or don't have time, what do you do?

Even if breakfast improves nutritional balance, getting the hang of it is not necessarily easy. Some people don't have time, because they get up at the last moment, others simply do not not hungry in the morning.

  • If you're not hungry, there's no point forcing yourself to eat when you get out of bed.. Just have a fruit juice and/or dairy product before leaving, and plan a more substantial snack to eat a little later, around 10 or 11 a.m.: breakfast biscuits, cereal bars, small homemade sandwich. . If you really can't swallow anything, don't force yourself and eat the snack you prepared later in the morning;
  • If you don't eat breakfast due to lack of timeto save time in the morning, you can prepare the table the night before and equip yourself with a programmable coffee maker;
  • If you are hungry mid-morningInstead, make a real balanced snack with fruit, yogurt or a handful of oilseeds.

And when the appetite is lacking throughout the morning, it may be that dinner is too late or too rich!

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