Winter breakfast ideas to fuel your day
In the colder months, a warming or hearty breakfast can help boost your mood, improve your focus, and set you up with the nutrients you need for the day.
Need inspiration as to which ones to try, and ingredients to include? Read on for the best winter breakfast ideas to increase focus, help you stay warm from within, support your immune system and increase energy levels.
Breakfasts to increase focus
In the age of text messages, news alerts and tweets, many of us find our ability to focus on lengthy tasks isn’t as good as we’d like it to be – and first thing in the morning, when you’re still bleary eyed, all the more so. This is where the right breakfast really can work wonders.
Simply eating breakfast at all is a win when it comes to staying focused, as studies suggest those who eat breakfast are better able to concentrate afterwards than those who don’t. One study also showed children who ate a healthy breakfast before school performed better academically than those who didn’t. The positive effect begins to reverse if the breakfast is too stodgy and high in calories, however – so don’t overdo it.
More specifically, making foods rich in vitamin E part of your morning ritual might be one way to help maintain your ability to focus – research suggests healthy levels of this antioxidant nutrient support cognitive function.
Try a nut butter spread, such as cashew or almond butter, on wholewheat toast, both of which are a source. Or enjoy vitamin E-rich nuts in your breakfast granola (along with oats and seeds), or even in a cereal bar, if you’re eating on the run.
And include foods at your breakfast table that contain vitamin D, as it’s thought low levels of this vital nutrient might contribute to ‘brain fog’, where concentration and memory suffer. You’ll find it in egg yolks and some varieties of fresh mushrooms – the perfect excuse for a morning omelette. Oily fish are another good source – why not add some smoked salmon to your scrambled eggs or enjoy sardines on toast.
There’s no need to give up your morning coffee, however, unless you want to; it’s true that caffeine aids concentration, although too much can leave you jittery and have the opposite effect.
But do try adding a water jug to your breakfast table. Drinking enough water is proven to help increase focus and attention span, and might even help keep levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, within a healthy range. As we naturally lose a certain amount of fluid during the night, it’s a good idea to rehydrate on waking. Feeling more able to focus really could be that simple.
Not a big fan of nut butters? Top up on vitamin E with Nature’s Truth High Strength Vitamin E supplements.
Breakfasts to warm you from within
Like that cosy pair of slippers that fit just right, a steaming breakfast that warms you up on a cold, dark morning is a thing of joy.
Brighten your morning and give your porridge bowl a boost by having small jars of add-ons to hand in a cupboard and ready to sprinkle on or stir in as the mood takes you, such as a quality honey, a good cocoa powder, fresh fruit, or nuts and seeds. In the colder months, cooked apple slices with cinnamon will add some seasonal cheer.
You can also update or reimagine an indulgent cooked breakfast, which doesn’t have to be a meat-based fry-up. If you have a weakness for a Full English, try swapping certain elements for healthier or more sustainable alternatives, such as meat-free bacon, or locally sourced organic sausages.
Baked beans are a source of iron, so keep those on your plate, but consider swapping to a low-sugar and reduced-salt version – most big brands on sale in supermarkets now offer healthier alternatives.
Need an extra iron boost? Add a Nature’s Truth Iron Supplement to your morning routine, too.
Breakfasts to support a healthy immune system
The best way to look after your immune system is to eat a balanced diet, so give yourself a head start by making sure that your breakfast foods are part of that vitamin-and mineral-rich mix.
Vitamin C, for example, is thought to help the body fight infection because of its role in helping to regulate the production of white blood cells. The breakfast-table staple of a glass of orange juice remains a good way to get some of your daily intake of vitamin C at the start of the day, but it’s not the only way.
Serving up halved-grapefruits in the morning – perhaps with a cheeky sprinkle of sugar on top if the taste is too tart for you – is another easy and refreshingly zingy way to add a dose.
Mixing nuts and seeds into your usual breakfast dishes is another way to benefit from important minerals, and help maintain your immune system’s overall health.
For example, a ready-made – or home-made – granola rich in nuts and seeds can boost your morning meal with nutrients such as zinc, crucial for the healthy functioning of cells in the immune system. And pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are both rich in iron, important for making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around your body.
Sustain your vitamin C levels throughout the day with a Nature’s Truth Timed Release Vitamin C supplement.
Breakfasts to boost energy
If there’s one meal you should look to for giving your energy levels a jumpstart, it’s breakfast. And yet, it’s easy to fall into the habit of simply reaching for a box of sugary cereal, a croissant, or even skipping it altogether and relying on just caffeine to help you power through.
But making savvy choices, and eating mindfully to better manage your energy levels, really can help you tackle the day ahead. If you’re short on time, you’re better off grabbing a banana than defaulting to that syrup-drenched coffee on the way to work.
Choosing some natural sugars, such as those from a glass of fresh juice, will help you feel more energised in the short-term. However, low-GI foods such as wholemeal bread or oats, which release energy more slowly, can help you keep going long after the breakfast plates are cleared away.
A simple egg-based morning meal – such as classic scrambled eggs on toast (make sure the bread is wholewheat) – will provide valuable protein to set you up for the day ahead. Add in some healthy fats, too, such as from the millennials’ favourite of smashed avocado.
Adding ground flaxseed or chia seeds onto your breakfast dishes is another great habit to get into. The soluble fibre in these can help balance blood sugar levels, which might reduce the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks later.