Aren’t we all tired with scientists and researchers coming forward with stuff that negates what they said last time round? Yesterday cheese was bad, today it is beneficial. Don’t eat dairy, five minutes later it’s good again. Eat only plants and you’ll live forever. The next day ‘no, actually, a varied diet with all types of food in moderation’ is the thing. The latter has always been my mantra so I welcome this kind of nutritional advice and wish it spread widely. But the ‘butter bad – butter good’ seesaw is really tiresome.
Breakfast is the recent victim. After years of being told to breakfast like a king, never skip it if concerned about weight loss and to kick-start our metabolism first thing, it now turns out to be the baddie. We are now told to skip breakfast, or postpone it till brunch time for good health and weight loss (according to Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London), all because we seem to be eating our main meal later these days and so the fasting window when we burn calories shortens.
The first thing to take on faith is whether the longer fast from night till late morning is beneficial. I accept it is but every day? not so convincing. In the hailed for its diet Mediterranean it is customary to sit down to dinner closer to midnight than to sunset, and they are not known to cut breakfast, even should it be just a pain au chocolat and a cappuccino.
On top of all that, I’m not sure if we all eat dinner later these days. I for one – okay, I might be in minority but since Covid people have got used to have their dinner earlier rather than later – have dinner at five-ish. Do I still have to skip breakfast? No, I don’t believe I do.
I have tested it on myself many a time: no breakfast doesn’t mean weight loss. Smaller breakfast does make a change but after all that’s a no-brain truth steadfastly proposed on this website: just eat less.
So I’m afraid I beg to disagree with Prof Spector: please do not make sweeping recommendations ignoring individual lifestyles.
What I recommend for breakfast is perhaps not what Pooh had in mind, but it’s still the best thing in my view: overnight oats. You don’t have to have it with homemade yoghurt, though making it is a rewarding exercise. You can make your own muesli and granola though, and it will be so much healthier and lower in calories than the shop-bought stuff, you can’t imagine, let alone cheaper.
Oats are definitely fantastic breakfast material and if you fancy a cooked breakfast, cook the oats rather than sausages. Buttermilk oatmeal bake is the luxurious, oven-baked version of porridge though my porridge with crème fraiche and raisins is not to be sniffed at either. Apart from oats, porridge can be also made from millet or semolina, for a change.
Perhaps you’re a fan of the French breakfast style, a croissant or pastry and vats of coffee? Morning is actually the best time for sweet carbs, the French know what they are doing (and they are skinny). Ambitious? Make your own croissants or easy Danish pastries; otherwise, there are banana scones or apricot buns.
Savoury start to the day doesn’t have to be a full fry-up. You could try banana and bacon (half-sweet, half-savoury) or a cheese and mushroom omelette. Instead of a boring toast, stuff a tortilla with cheese, ham, bacon, mushrooms, anything and make breakfast quesadillas.
So that’s my breakfast offer, plus more in the content pages. Skip brekkie if you wish – I’ve been there, done it, and I’ve found that all it does it make you ravenous at lunchtime. Happy breakfasting!