“We sometimes hear people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is debatable, but it is certainly the meal that Italians most often manage in the wrong way”, explains dietician Francesco Arcidiacono, a specialist in sports nutrition that we asked to help us understand what the characteristics of the perfect breakfast are.
In fact we asked him to tell us what it is best to drink and eat at breakfast to ensure that your body gets the right amount of energy and nutrients.
Let’s see what his advice is for starting the day in the right way.
Why is it important to have a healthy breakfast?
A good, healthy breakfast helps our bodies because it provides us wth the energy we need and improves our level of concentration; but it also allows us to regulate our calorie intake for the day, the glycemic balance and it also helps with weight control
“Breakfast – he explains – should be considered a meal in exactly the same way as lunch or dinner, where there should be carbohydrates, proteins and fats to meet all our nutritional needs.”
In fact, when we don’t eat enough or don’t eat a complete breakfast, we risk feeling hungry sooner.
“We eat more and then tend to consume too much in the way of refined sugars or eat too much at dinner which may contribute to weight gain during the night.
This is one factor, which, in some cases can lead to being overweight which is not healthy.”
What to drink at breakfast
For a balanced breakfast you need to be careful in choosing what to drink. Besides a glass of milk or non-dairy equivalent, the dietician recommends a good freshly squeezed fruit juice, an extract or a fresh fruit smoothie, best if freshly prepared on the spot “otherwise, it is important to check that you buy a product made of 100% fruit, with no added sugars”.
Although the classic Italian breakfast of croissant or pastry is not considered a totally healthy option, the dietician says that drinking coffee, cappuccino and tea, hot or cold is good: “these are great at breakfast, no contraindications.
Only one piece of advice, which I always give people: do not add sugar to your drinks because, as is also highlighted by the World Health Organization, there is scientific evidence directly connecting the consumption of too much refined sugar to pathologies such as obesity, high cholesterol, cardiac illnesses and diabetes.”
According to the dietician, “drinking coffee is recommended, right from breakfast, because it sparks the release of adrenalin and is an excellent energizer”.
So, if it is part of a balanced breakfast, where there are all the nutrients, it can be that extra element which helps you to start your day, be it relaxing or working, in the best way.
Of all the teas, the most highly recommended is matcha tea, a variety of Japanese green tea whose history dates back to over a thousand years ago: the presence of L-teina, in fact, makes it a precious ally in helping our concentration, thus increasing our productivity in the office and while studying.
What to eat for breakfast in the morning
And finally, let’s see what the dietician recommends eating in the morning as part of a healthy and balanced breakfast. “Seeing as we should consider it a “miniature” version of a full meal, with carbohydrates, proteins and fats of your choice, I recommend never leaving out some form of complex carbohydrates such as, for example, wholewheat bread, dry biscuits, cereals or dry toast with wholewheat flour.”
Doctor Arcidiacono recommends these foods because the release of the sugars contained in the complex carbohydrates is more gradual and ensures a more constant glycemic level throughout the morning.
“From a practical point of view, this guarantees that our breakfast will provide us with sufficient energy to see us through to lunch and gives us a sense of feeling sufficiently full which we can reinforce with a light snack, dried fruit or fresh fruit, mid morning if necessary.”
Our desire to have something sweet in the morning can be satisfied with jams or marmalades without added sugar, walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate and, in small quantities, even with hazelnut cream where there is a high nut content.
Also highly recommended at breakfast is low-fat greek yoghurt, seasonal fresh fruit, and also savory options.
“The classic toasted sandwich, preferably with wholewheat bread, is perfect for breakfast, made with cured ham, the only cold cut guaranteed totally free of preservatives, or with low-fat products such as turkey breast.
Also in this case it is advisable to buy products without preservatives.”
So how healthy is your breakfast?
Tell us about your favorite breakfast options!