Posted 29th Jan 2015
Breakfast has a rich history and heritage in the UK and has long been hailed as the most important meal of the day. In celebration of Breakfast Week (from 25th to 31st January 2015) here are some fun facts and top breakfast tips to help whet your appetite for a delicious start to the day
Breakfast food facts
- Bread is bought by 99 per cent of UK households and nearly the equivalent of 12 million loaves are sold each day.
- 124,000 hectares of oats are grown in the UK – more than the area of Berkshire.
- 1.9m hectares of wheat are grown in the UK – that’s almost the size of Wales.
- Around 5.2 billion litres of milk are bought each year.
- The UK produces 8,847 million eggs per year and more than a third of UK eggs are eaten at breakfast.
- Kippers only became popular for breakfast in the UK after Queen Victoria ate them in Dalkeith in 1842.
- Every day, five million Britons will eat sausages.
- Bacon is a £1.3 billion industry, with consumers currently purchasing 221.6 thousand tonnes per year. Rashers are the most popular form of bacon.
- British Bacon is part of our national heritage; there are records of the Romans salting sides of bacon as early as 200BC and Julius Caesar brought his own bacon with him when he landed in ancient Britain in 55BC.
- The world’s first breakfast cereal was created in 1863 and needed soaking overnight to be chewable.
Award-winning dietitian and nutritionist Azmina Govindji explains the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced breakfast and advises on the best breakfasts to suit different lifestyles and needs:
So what breakfast is best?
There are options to suit all tastes and lifestyles when it comes to breakfast. It’s good to mix it up a bit depending on what you fancy, what you have in the cupboard and how you are feeling. But if you identify with any of the categories below, then these breakfast ideas can help kick start your day...
No time for breakfast at home? Then grab and go. Pick up a smoothie, try one with oats for added energy or try a yoghurt with some granola to enjoy at work or on the train. Or munch through a wholemeal sandwich filled with banana. The protein in the milk will help to keep you feeling full and the banana and wholemeal bread gives you slow release energy.
If the only time you get away from your desk is to visit the coffee machine, give your brain cells a nudge by feeding them some morning fuel. Before you set off for work, tuck into a wholesome bowl of wholegrain cereal and keep some dried fruit in your desk drawer to munch on during the morning. The starch in the cereal can keep your blood sugar levels steady, and can boost your serotonin levels, helping you to feel good. Some dried apricots will give you a healthy dose of iron, known to reduce tiredness.
Rushing around with no time for breakfast? Give your mental energy a top-up with a bran-based cereal powered by B vitamins. These energy boosters help to release the energy from food and keep your nerves healthy – a must for busy mums. Reach for a bowl of bran-based cereal with semi-skimmed milk. If possible, the best way is to eat breakfast with your child so they grow up knowing breakfast is an important part of everyone’s routine.
Active/sporty adults and children
Protein is the buzz word when it comes to sports. You need protein to build and repair muscles. The good news is that dairy foods, which can be eaten at breakfast, are rich in a special amino acid (the building blocks of protein) called leucine, which is a master at muscle mass. So, try yoghurt or milk combined with a nutty granola which will help keep your energy levels up, whilst helping to keep your blood sugar levels nice and steady. Wait a couple of hours before exercising, so your body digests all the goodness before you hit the gym.
Dieters/people trying to lose weight
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that skipping breakfast means fewer calories so you lose weight. Research shows that breakfast eaters are better able to keep to a healthy weight. Dieters tend to go short on B vitamins, so make sure you get your daily dose from cereal or wholemeal bread. Not eating enough can also mean your immune system is below par, so try to get a daily supply of anti-oxidants by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. A small bowl of muesli with semi-skimmed milk and some berries is ideal.
New Year blues-buster (mood booster)
Skipping meals such as breakfast can mean your blood sugar drops, which can make you feel low. Help combat the January blues by having a good breakfast with lots of B vitamins. Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins help produce brain chemicals that affect your mood. Low levels of the B’s may be linked to depression. Get yours from fortified breakfast cereals – most cereal packets will tell you how much vitamin B they’ve added – choose the one with the most and team it up with semi-skimmed milk. Wholegrain bread and eggs give you B vitamins, so a poached egg on toast can also do the trick.
Help protect yourself from catching a sniffle by boosting your immunity with a berry good breakfast! Try some fresh mango for vitamin A and a handful of berries for vitamin C, which will give your immune system a helping hand. Mix them into porridge, or with your favourite breakfast cereal and milk.
Eating gives you calories, which is another word for energy, so eat breakfast! As for what’s in it, choose a fruity start to the day, because vitamin C is known to help reduce tiredness and fatigue. Add fresh fruit to your porridge or cereal or try a glass of fruit juice with your brekkie. Iron can also help fight tiredness and you can get iron from foods such as baked beans, fortified cereals and dried apricots.
For inspiring breakfast recipes, to vote in the Best Breakfast Awards or find a local Breakfast Week event to you, visit www.shakeupyourwakeup.com.