Breakfast the ‘must have’ meal of the day.


Eating a good breakfast will help with blood glucose control as well as providing a number of other health benefits. Dietitian Ann Gregory gives some tips for eating a healthy breakfast – whether it’s a fast breakfast on the go or a more leisurely weekend affair.


We are always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why is breakfast so important?

Research has shown eating breakfast can help you lose weight, make you more alert and give you more energy.

A recent study from the University of Bath showed that people who eat breakfast used more energy during the morning than those who didn’t have breakfast. It also showed that people who ate breakfast had better blood glucose control late in the day than those who didn’t.

The four breakfast rules

Having a healthy but delicious breakfast is easy if you follow the following four ‘rules’:

Use low-fat milk and low-fat yoghurt.

Choose a breakfast cereal that has 15g or less of sugar per 100g of cereal.

Eat wholegrain/multigrain breads.

Choose a low-fat spread.


Weekday breakfasts – quick and simple

It can be tempting in the morning rush to skip breakfast. The ideas below are quick and easy to prepare.

 • Breakfast cereals are a great way to start the day. Top with some chopped raw fruit or stewed fruit and low fat milk or yoghurt. 

• Try making your own muesli with your personal blend of nuts and seeds added to rolled oats lightly toasted. Finish off by adding your favourite dried fruit. 

• To beat the spring chill start the day with a bowl of porridge. It is easy to make and you can add fruit, nuts and spices to add some zing. If using porridge sachets check the sugar content to make sure it fits with the recommendation above – no more than 15g of sugar per 100g.

 • Top toast with marmite, peanut butter or a small amount of low-sugar jam. Or try one or a combination of sliced tomatoes, or cottage cheese, or half an avocado or lean ham. For a special treat try low-fat creamed cheese and smoked salmon. 

• A boiled or poached egg with wholegrain toast is quick to prepare and will keep you going until lunchtime. 

• Blend up a smoothie using low fat milk, low fat yoghurt and your choice of fruit. Add some fibre by including some rolled oats or ground flaxseed.


Weekend breakfasts – leisurely and relaxed

There is more time to prepare and enjoy a healthy leisurely breakfast at the weekend with family or friends. This does not need to be a full fry up. Here are some suggestions to try.

 • Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon seasoned with some chopped chives and accompanied by wholegrain toast.

• Try making a healthy version of eggs Benedict – poached eggs on English muffins – and make a sauce using low-fat mayonnaise with mustard and lemon juice. Add some cooked spinach for eggs Florentine. 

• Omelettes are a good choice and can be filled with a wide variety of vegetables in season – for example tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes. Add a little bit of chopped lean ham and some grated low-fat cheese. Don’t forget some wholemeal bread to provide the carbohydrate. 

• Try toasted bagels with low-fat cream cheese and smoked salmon for a taste of New York. 

• Fritters made with seasonal vegetables – corn, courgettes, grated carrots and mushrooms served with chutney or salsa – are a delicious start to the day.

*A version of this story appeared in Diabetes New Zealand’s magazine in Spring 2014. Join today to receive your copy.  *This article first appeared in the Autumn 2018 issue of Diabetes Wellness magazine. Subscribe to Diabetes NZ today to receive your copy.

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Jo Chapman