Breaking through the breakfast barrier – 5 simple tips.
Skye Swaney, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutrition Writer shares her perspectives.
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It not only provides important nutrients we might otherwise miss out on, it also stabilises blood sugar levels so that we don’t get too hungry later on and end up devouring the contents of the office biscuit tin.
But, despite knowing how important it is, health professionals are constantly told by patients that they’re just too busy to fit breakfast in.
Mornings are often spent rushing around getting ready for work, sitting in traffic and then running from one thing to the next; so it’s no surprise that sitting down to a healthy meal can be a challenge for even the most organised.
And on top of this, many people complain that they find breakfast foods a little on the dull side, or simply aren’t hungry and would rather just grab a coffee on the way into the office.
The question is, how can you help your patients overcome these barriers so that they don’t miss out on the benefits of breakfast?
1. Discuss the benefits.
You probably feel like a broken record when it comes to preaching the importance of breakfast and as a result, often the message gets ignored. Instead of simply stating that breakfast is important, make sure you tell your patients exactly why it’s so important. With a thorough understanding of the effects on their energy levels, concentration, appetite and cravings, as well as on their overall health, they’ll be far more motivated to get on board with breakfast.
2. Prep it the night before.
Do you often hear from your patients that they’re just too busy to make a healthy breakfast? Perhaps from a parent with young children who simply can’t find the time to fit breakfast into a frantic morning routine.
One great solution for time-strapped patients is to make overnight oats. As the name suggests, the minimal prep required is done in the evening, freeing up valuable minutes in the morning. All they need to do is mix together oats, milk, and fruit in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight and just like that – your busy bee will have a healthy, balanced and delicious breakfast waiting for them in the morning.
Let’s face it; plain old porridge can be a little boring, but what about apple, date and cinnamon porridge or banana and nutmeg? For patients who struggle to be inspired by breakfast, encouraging them to experiment with different flavours and textures can really help up the appeal. Suggest they try topping cereal with fresh fruit such as berries or apricots, adding some banana or dried fruit into porridge or pancakes, or using spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to give an extra flavour boost.
4. Breakfast to-go.
For those who complain that they don’t have time to eat before leaving the house in the morning, packing a portable breakfast might be the way to go. While you’ll want to encourage patients to take time to sit down and enjoy meals as much as possible, eating breakfast in transit or at the office is far betting than missing out on it all together. Bircher muesli or a smoothie are both great options to grab and go – just make sure you remind your patients to prepare them the night before!
5. Blend it up.
Not everyone jumps out of bed in the morning ready for a delicious breakfast. Many people say they’re just not hungry first thing or find food difficult to stomach, preferring to just grab a coffee instead. For these non-breakfast enthusiasts, a liquid breakfast can be a great option. Smoothies are incredibly easy to make and can be just as nutritious as a bowl of cereal or porridge. Encourage your patients to try out a simple smoothie recipe that includes milk and yoghurt, some fruit such as banana or berries, a few spoonfuls of oats and a touch of honey, all whizzed up in a blender.
Who is Skye Swaney?
Skye Swaney is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and founder of Shift Nutrition. During her 10-year career, she has worked in hospitals, the corporate sector, non-profit organisations and private practice. She consults to the food industry, businesses, sporting teams, hospitals and schools and is also an accomplished health and nutrition writer, regularly contributing to publications such as The Huffington Post.
Skye is passionate about teaching people the power of eating well in optimising both physical and mental health. Through her work, she aims to help cut through the confusion about nutrition and make healthy eating easy.