Seize the day

Breakfast; the most important meal of the day!  This is an oft-quoted mantra, but do we really understand the reason behind this refrain?  For some, breakfast is a mere coffee on the run, and many people argue that ‘why should one eat in the morning if one is not hungry till noon?’ Simply put, breakfast is ‘breaking’ the ‘fast’ since the last meal hours before on the previous night, and it’s a chance to resupply our bodies with the necessary fuel to keep us at the top of our game for the whole day.

So, if it is that important, did we always eat it? Were the ancient Egyptians enjoying bowls of cold cereal in the shade of their pyramids? The short answer is no – in ancient times it was hardly even a recognised meal! When most of the population were peasant farmers, two meals a day was typical, and the first meal was held later in the morning. This changed dramatically during the Industrial Revolution, with the introduction of a workday. The move from farms to factories made three meals a day necessary and breakfast became an accepted meal. It was common to drink beer or wine with breakfast in these times, as the water was often polluted and unsafe and the advent of coffee was not yet on the horizon. By the Victorian era, wealthy families dined on cold meats and cheese for their morning meal, while across in newly-settled America, pioneers were cooking hot corn cakes or pancakes over an open fire. Pioneer breakfasts had to be two things; quick and economical, and many of us would have read of Almanzo Wilder’s apple pie and cheddar cheese breakfast!  In fact, pies for breakfast, both sweet or savoury, were not uncommon during that pioneer era, and of course, cheese was readily available from the farm.

Across cultures, periods and food fads, breakfast foods have varied dramatically, but whole grains usually feature somewhere in the mix thanks to their high nutritional value and the fibre content. Porridge is a longstanding breakfast symbol, with wheat porridge served in the Middle East and India, hot oatmeal in Europe, and maize porridges like grits in North America. However, these dishes took time to prepare, and it wasn’t until the early 1900s that a quick and universal breakfast option was made available by Mr W. K. Kellogg’s invention of processed cereals. Not only did he mass-produce boxed cereal but his brilliant marketing strategies, including the first ‘cereal packet toys’, resonated with housewives and kids everywhere and boomed with the advent of the working wife/mum in the 1950s.

With all that in mind, have we convinced you that breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day?  It turns out that it isn’t just a persistent theory of mothers everywhere; it’s medically proven.  Studies have shown that eating breakfast can help you do everything from losing weight, to enhancing your attention span and memory.  The protein, fibre and healthy fats give us the energy we need for the day ahead. Health benefits aside, there are so many delicious breakfast foods, why miss out? If cereal isn’t your morning mojo, think whole-grain bread (with smashed avocado of course), smoothie bowls, overnight oats, perfectly poached eggs with bacon (and more avocado), fresh or grilled fruit with yoghurt, or hot oatmeal. It’s a tempting list, it’s excellent for your health and wellness, and it will set you up for success, so there’s no reason not to seize the day!

Recipe Inspirations

Grilled Peaches with Yoghurt & Granola

Strawberry Smoothie Bowls

Date and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Gluten Free Lemon and Raspberry Friands

 

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