In the first of a new series about eating for health and energy, food and lifestyle expert, Jennifer Irvine explains how stoking the body’s energy fires in the morning keeps you going throughout the day.
“I know that what I can achieve in a day is based on my energy levels. I need to be on the ball constantly – I can’t just slump on the sofa after taking my three daughters to school. That means feeding my body’s energy fire first thing in the morning with a top breakfast, then keeping it stoked all day.
It makes sense that the first meal on waking should be something that not only tastes great but also sets you up for the day ahead. How many times have you heard nutritionists say breakfast is the most important meal? That’s because, as well as boosting your energy, a good breakfast has been linked to health benefits including weight control and improved mental performance. Remember…
- Complex carbohydrates that slowly release energy into the bloodstream, such as the oats in this yoghurt-granola-fruit combo, help to keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce hunger throughout the day. That, in turn, will lessen the temptation to succumb to sugary treats.
- Variety is the key to life and certainly the key to keeping breakfast exciting, so mix it up a bit and be creative. Muesli Mondays and Pancake Thursdays can enhance your lust for the most important meal of the day.
- Most of us wake up dehydrated, so drink a big glass of water first thing.
- Serve a colourful fruit selection. Nutrients tend to be represented by different colours, so start the day with a rainbow of goodness.”
Vanilla, Prune and Pecan Granola Pot (serves 4-6)
80g dried prunes, stoned
6 tbsp water
520ml natural yoghurt
1/4 tsp vanilla paste
120g granola or muesli (we like Dorset Cereals)
20g shelled pecans, roughly chopped
1) Put the prunes in a food processor or blender with 6 tbsp of water and blitz to a purée.
2) In a large bowl, mix the yoghurt and vanilla paste together.
3) Fold through the prune purée to create a marbled effect.
4) Pour the prune and vanilla yoghurt mix into serving bowls or pots, then sprinkle over the granola or muesli and chopped pecans.
“For a spicy alternative soak the prunes overnight with a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves. I make my own muesli in giant batches so it’s there when I need it, but if you’re buying it from a shop, use common sense and read the packet. Look for ingredients such as raw seeds and avoid ones with added sugars.”