Ideal breakfast
Breakfast: The nutritionist’s advice

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. Another proverb says “Eat breakfast alone, share lunch with a friend and give dinner to an enemy”.

More and more studies show not only the importance of a quality diet, but also the distribution of what we eat during the day.

It is widely known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in reality, more and more adults (and children!) over the last decades have adopted the habit of skipping the first meal of the day. The observation of the decline in breakfast consumption and the parallel growth of obesity has led many researchers to study a possible association between the two phenomena.

From a strictly nutritional point of view, breakfast is defined as the first meal of the day, consumed at the beginning of daily activities, within two hours of waking up, usually before 10 am, which involves the consumption of 20-35% of the kcal intake during the day. Overall, among the adult population, the bad habit of skipping breakfast is most common among young people, smokers, those who eat dinner late at night, inactive people, heavy alcohol consumers and people who consume more kcal than necessary.

Epidemiological and intervention studies, that have investigated how breakfast consumption may have a preventive value and promotion of well-being, allow to conclude that:

  • Eating breakfast daily has a beneficial effect on blood sugar control and insulin levels (Alterations of these parameters can lead to metabolic problems and represent a risk factor for both cardio-vascular and tumoural diseases);
  • Nutritional counselling that supports daily breakfast consumption is helpful in improving dietary habits for the rest of the day.

Consuming a good and healthy breakfast is important, and allows us to start the day by immediately paying attention to our diet choices. It is a mistake, however, to think that we need a lot of simple sugars as soon as we wake up in order to catch up on the nightly fast. Our breakfast should be a good mix of choices, and not a sugary binge. So, let's try to start each day with a conscious attitude towards food and allowing ourselves to combine taste with healthy choices. Even during breakfast we should limit the consumption of refined cereals, favouring whole grain products, we should choose healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, we should favour the sources of proteins with a high biological value, such as dried fruit, nuts and oilseeds, we should colour our dish with fruit (and vegetables) according to seasonality and "location".

And one last suggestion comes to mind when speaking about variety: Why always eat the same breakfast? We can vary between sweet, but not too much, and savoury. Then we'll really have a breakfast fit for a king!

East Lombardy is the European region
of gastronomy 2017