Why eggs make the best start to the day
Whether or not we should eat when we wake up and exactly what we consume is a hotly debated topic. Though we were all brought up to believe breakfast is important, many of us don’t fancy much first thing and end up eating a piece of fruit, a granola bar or a quick bowl of cereal. Even for those that make the effort to eat wholegrain carbs such as porridge, low sugar muesli, wholegrain toast or a homemade smoothie, such breakfasts can be loaded with carbs, low in protein and rarely keep us going for very long. Ergo another trip to the coffee machine, a piece of fruit whilst clock watching, waiting for an acceptable time to go and grab lunch.
Though I like porridge or a low sugar bircher muesli now and then and sometimes have a smoothie (normally if I have a morning work out planned) I normally choose to eat eggs for breakfast around 5 times a week, and there are lots of reasons why I plan to keep this up.
I’m not saying eggs are the only breakfast we should ever eat, or indeed that you should force them down if you don’t like them. But if you do like the taste and you aren’t allergic or intolerant I really do believe they are the best start to the day.
Though we should generally eat some wholegrain carbohydrates first thing, most of us also need a decent amount of protein first thing to keep us energised and stop us getting too hungry (or overly reliant on coffee) two hours later.
Oats are slow release energy but I rarely find they fill me up and often find my clients say the same. Oats are nutritious, cheap, versatile and taste great in granola or porridge, but on their own without much protein they do seem to leave us wanting 2 hours later.
Meanwhile, a good egg based breakfast can keep you going into the afternoon. This is likely to be partly due to the combination of protein and fats inside the eggs, which alongside wholegrains in rye bread, pumpernickel or oat cakes create a steady release of energy. Though you may be hungry at lunch, you shouldn’t be about to collapse like you can be with oats or fruit, and you also feel less prone to pining after sweeter things in the aftenoon.
Quelling sugar cravings
I have always preferred a savoury breakfast and though this isn’t the case for everyone, if you do move away from sweeter foods first thing (even fruit) it’s quite common to find you crave fewer sweet things as the day goes on. Breaking the habit of eating sugar isn’t easy, but a less sweet breakfast is a useful tactic for getting you on the straight and narrow and generally eating less sugar.
Better energy, brain power and detoxification
I also love eggs because they contain B vitamins for energy, metabolism and hormone balance, as well as choline, a lesser-known nutrient that is essential for making acetylcholine, the concentration chemical that keeps my brain going. Choline is also important for the liver, which is great alongside B12 in eggs, and amino acids.
Always aim to have some kind of veggie with your breakfast – ¼ or ½ an avocado is quick and delicious, but spinach, cherry tomatoes, grated courgette or mushrooms are also great and packed with extra fibre and nutrients. Alongside wholegrains, these also prevent constipation, which many are convinced they struggle with if they overdo eggs.
Healthy weight loss
One enticing fact about having an egg based breakfast is that those who eat a higher proportion of protein at in the morning tend to eat up to 200 calories less during the day – a bonus for anyone wanting to manage weight better.
Don’t worry about the fat in eggs – a good quality product is normally rich in a variety of important fats for body and mind and doesn’t contain excessive amounts in any case. The cholesterol fears are also largely a myth, and though eggs do contain cholesterol, they don’t tend to contribute to high cholesterol levels in the blood. You can blame sugar, unhealthy vegetable oils, trans fats and a generally poor diet low in omega 3, vitamins and minerals for that!
Breaking the habit
Clients often tell me they don’t have time for eggs in the morning, but scrambling or boiling them takes under 3 minutes. You can also make egg muffins (recipe below) in advance, and if you live in a city, many cafes (Leon, Pret, Itsu, Pod, Benugo for example) stock them ready to go on the way to work.
Many clients tell me they struggle to eat much first thing, and couldn’t face eating eggs. These people also consume the bulk of their calories at night, so no surprises that they aren’t as hungry first thing.
Once you get used to having a bigger breakfast and lunch, you generally find that the need for a massive dinner reduces which is important for maintaining healthy weight and is also generally in line with better eating habits.
The best eggs based breakfasts
- x2 eggs cooked any way (if you fry then use coconut oil) with either 1 small slice pumpernickel or x2 oat cakes and some veggies in the form of 1/4 avocado or handful fresh spinach.
- Egg muffins, which can be made in advance
- Baked eggs with sweet potato and guacamole – recipes in The Happy Kitchen
- Pancakes (on a day you have more time) made with wholegrain flour and some flaxseed or try my recipes in The Happy Kitchen
- Leon, Pret, Pod, Itsu eggs based breakfast