According to a study of 500+ Australian teachers, “students lose two hours of learning a day if they skip breakfast because of a lack of concentration and behaviour problems related to hunger.” Don’t let hunger stall your academic performance! Boost your day with the following healthy breakfast recommendations.
It seems almost cliche at this point to tell you that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” So instead, we’re going to throw some numbers and statistics at you to hammer home just how critical your first meal is to your daily productivity.
According to the Dietitians Association of Australia, breakfast improves your “alertness, concentration, mental performance, mood and memory.” All of those sound pretty important for students, right? Your brain needs nutrients and carbohydrates to function properly, and after a long night’s rest, its available stores are depleted. Eating a healthy breakfast helps replenish these vital nutrients and set you up for a day of studying success.
Another study, published in the journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight than those who skip their brekkie. Ok, you caught us - that one doesn’t have much to do with your study habits. But given that a record one-quarter of Australian teenagers are now overweight or obese, we’re happy to see this important benefit get some recognition.
That’s all pretty great, right? But what happens if you’re somebody who hates breakfast, somebody who never has time for a morning meal or who never feels hungry at these early hours? Never fear - we’ve got planning solutions that’ll help you boost your day with the right breakfast:
Planning a Healthy Breakfast
Before we get into specific breakfast recipes, we need to cover a few ground rules to better understand what a good breakfast looks like. According to Kellogg’s, a good breakfast should:
“[I]nclude a variety of nutritious foods such as high fibre breads and cereals, fruit, and low-fat dairy. Avoid foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Ideally your breakfast should contribute to around 25% of your daily energy requirement.”
There are a number of different calculators found online that can help you determine your daily energy requirement (including the free tools found on the Eat for Health and Daily Intake Guide websites). But to keep things simple, let’s assume that you need to take in 2,000 calories a day to maintain your current weight and performance levels. In this case, you should opt for a breakfast that’s roughly 500 calories in total.
Now, what can we use to fill this caloric requirement? We’ll build recipes that draw on the following three categories:Whole Grains, Fruit and Low-Fat Dairy.
As you can see, there are plenty of healthy options to choose from. If you’ve ever said, “I’ve been told whole grain toast is the healthiest breakfast option, but I can’t stand bread in the morning,” don’t worry - you’ve got loads of other choices to help meet your early morning nutrient needs. The same goes for those who say they don’t have time to eat breakfast. As we get into the recipe section below, you’ll see that there are plenty of possibilities for on-the-go noshing.
Breakfast Recipes to Boost Your Day
Whether you’re new to regular breakfasts of you’re looking for something new to blast you out of your breakfast rut, experiment with the following recipes:
Mango, Almond & Honey Breakfast Smoothie
Smoothies are a great on-the-go breakfast option, and this mango, almond and honey option packs tons of vital nutrients into one delicious drink.
• 1 mango
• 400 ml skim milk
• ½ cup low-fat natural yoghurt
• 2 tablespoons almond meal
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Ice cubes
1. Peel and chop mango
2. Place in a blender with remaining ingredients
3. Blend to reach desired consistency
4. Divide into two servings and save one for later
Spiced Bircher Muesli
This fun parfait-style recipe puts a new twist on traditional muesli. The addition of yoghurt gives you a powerful protein punch, while the dates and orange juice add fruit-based nutrition.
• 3 fresh dates (pitted and chopped)
• 1 ½ tablespoons orange juice
• ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (plus extra to sprinkle, if desired)
• 150g tub probiotic Yoghurt
• ¼ cup muesli (plus extra to sprinkle, if desired)
1. Mix dates, orange juice and muesli in a small bowl
2. Blend cardamom throughout yoghurt
3. Place half of muesli mixture into a jar or bowl; top with half of yoghurt mixture
4. Repeat layers, finishing with an extra sprinkle of muesli and cardamom (if desired)
Avocado & Feta Smash on Toasted Rye
Avocados are a nutrient-packed superfood, while feta cheese and rye toast contribute the carbohydrates and proteins needed to keep your brain running at maximum capacity during your all-day study sessions.
• 1 small ripe avocado, peeled and with stones removed
• 40g soft crumbled feta cheese
• 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
• Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
• 2 large slices of rye bread
• Shaved ham (if desired)
• Poached egg (if desired)
• Sea salt (to taste)
• Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
• Place avocado in a medium-sized bowl and mash roughly with a fork
• Add mint and lemon juice; mash until just combined
• Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste
• Toast or grill rye bread until golden
• Spoon ½ of the avocado mixture onto each slice of bread; top with feta
• Garnish with extra mint, thin shaved ham or poached egg (if desired)
Homemade Baked Beans
If you have a little extra time to spare, homemade baked beans are a healthier choice than processed canned versions. Serve with crusty toast and wilted spinach, and enjoy sustained energy levels throughout the day.
• 300g mixed dried beans (such as haricot, navy, borlotti or cannellini)
• 1 smoked ham hock with skin and fat removed (roughly 900g)
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 finely chopped onion
• 1 clove of crushed garlic
• 800g can diced tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• Sea salt (to taste)
• Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1. Place beans in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak beans overnight, then drain
2. Place beans and ham hock in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove ham hock and drain beans, reserving ½ cup of cooking liquid
3. Using the same pan, heat olive oil and cook onions and garlic until soft (about 3 minutes)
4. Add tomatoes, reserved cooking liquid, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and mustard
5. Shred meat from ham hock and add to saucepan with the cooked beans. Simmer for 30 more minutes until beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste
6. Serve on crusty toast with wilted spinach
These aren’t your only breakfast choices, but they should get you started towards healthier, happier mornings. Don’t be afraid to experiment! There are plenty of great options out there to help boost your day with the right breakfast.
Have another healthy breakfast recipe to share?
What’s your favourite healthy breakfast to boost your day?