Losing Weight is Easy Having the Correct Quick Snack

In case you are pondering what can you do to shed weight, it is important to be aware of what you’re consuming. Many people are deciding to eat a lot more protein that is going to enable them to keep filled much longer. If you’re looking for that balanced treat which has lots of proteins, think of enjoying nut products. This is a delicious method to curb these hungers that will look like a nuisance a few hours following lunch break. Take time to order healthy snacks online from Nuts n Co today. There are numerous of balanced alternatives which might be great for snacking in the afternoon and even perhaps a little something to grab on the go.

If you are searching for that enjoyable goody concept, think of joining a few dried fruit together with the various nuts. That is a great method to get a serving involving berries together with a bit of proteins that is going to hold yourself beyond for some hours. The good thing would be the fact it is extremely healthful. Examine a number of the different healthy snacks from Nuts n Co and find a thing that appears great. Place an internet arrangement whether it is for you or possibly for that friend. This can be the ideal present for you to share with individual whom seems very hard to buy for.

How to choose breakfast cereals for kids

There are so many cereals to choose from! Here are some label-reading tips to help us make good decisions for our kids.

What makes a healthy breakfast cereal for kids?

Breakfast is an essential start to the day; it refuels children’s brains as well as their bodies. Cereals with milk provide carbohydrate, some protein, B vitamins, fibre and calcium. Add fruit to that and there’s more fibre plus a wider range of vitamins and minerals.

It’s unlikely you’ll need added vitamins and minerals in a cereal if you’re eating a balanced diet which includes fruit, vegetables and cereals as well as meat or other protein foods, as they will provide vitamins and minerals in a form more readily absorbed by the body.

Sugar

Earlier this year, Consumer magazine compared 26 breakfast cereals specifically aimed at children and found that over half of them were at least 1/3 sugar.

Often the excuse is that people are just going to add sugar at home anyway, but that’s really no excuse at all; we should be given the choice. High amounts of sugar in the diet are related to tooth decay as well as overweight and obesity, which is on the increase amongst our children.

Look for products with less than 15g of sugar per 100g, or if they contain dried fruit up to 25g per 100g.

Sodium

It’s best not to give children foods with high amounts of sugar or sodium as ‘everyday foods’ as they’ll become accustomed to these tastes. For children (and adults other than those on a low-sodium diet) look for a moderate sodium content of up to 400mg per 100g.

Fibre

For adults, breakfast cereals are often an opportunity to increase a low fibre intake, but kids don’t need as much fibre in their diet. Look for a cereal with more than 5g of fibre per 100g but no more than 15g.

In the past a rule of thumb for kids fibre needs (in grams) was to use their age and add five, but with the latest dietary recommendations you’ll need to add ten to the child’s age.

Easy dishes you can cook outdoors with the kids

Ah, summer is finally here and with the long, light nights it’s the perfect time to cook outdoors.

Nothing says holidays like the smell of grilling fare wafting across the neighbourhood, or if you’re extra blessed, the beach!
And although barbecues have long been the domain of the butcher and the dad, there are lots of other foods that magically transform once they hit the grill. My boys still aren’t big fans of steamed asparagus but will happily fight me for my share if it’s straight off the barbecue, lightly seasoned with herbs and olive oil.
Even better, maybe this is the year where the kids nudge Dad aside and take ownership of part of the hot plate. So many foods can be prepped partially, even by the youngest of kids. There’s nothing that gets kids more enthusiastic about eating than making it themselves.

Veggies

Oh yes, the multi-coloured stuff really comes alive outside in a way that we struggle to replicate in the kitchen!
  1. Roasted mushrooms – grab ones with a decent cap and fill with garlic, butter, herbs, grated parmesan or drizzle with olive oil and a shake of salt.
  2. Pumpkin or kumara – slice and add crumbled feta or salt and pepper and cook until it goes soft and super sweet.
  3. Corn – summer brings corn on the cob .. ooh yeah! Add some butter and twist in foil or char lovingly directly on the grill.   Even better find some dinosaur or cartoon cob holders to get the kids excited and let them eat straight from the barbecue.
  4. Tomatoes – when they are in season they are so sweet. A splash of olive oil, some balsamic vinegar or a hit of fresh basil and suddenly you’re in Southern Europe!
  5. Eggplant, courgette, asparagus and artichokes are often thought of as more “adult friendly” veg but chuck them on the barbecue and they become crispy and charred and fabulous. You can add olive oil, bacon, cheese or sauces to take them to the next level.
  6. Kebabs – what is it about a skewer that makes food that much more desirable? Load up some soaked sticks with capsicum, cherry tomatoes, carrots and add cubes of meat, feta or pineapple. Often combining a favourite with something not so special helps it all disappear.
  7. Lettuce – yes, you heard correctly! Often the texture of green leaves is off-putting for young kids but give it a quick char on the barbecue, add a special dressing and some crumbled bacon and you’re away. Or wilt some spinach or kale and add garlic, butter and some grated parmesan.
  8. Stuffed veg – avocados, mini capsicums or even mild chillies for the adventurous can be filled with cheese or rice or herbs and then cooked lovingly until they are charred and oozy and delicious. Kids can choose their favourite fillings or add a cocktail stick/paddle pop and paper sail to make “boats”.
  9. Potatoes – who doesn’t like crispy potatoes? Or little chunks of potato covered in butter with herbs and wrapped in silver foil. Then, the barbecue or a fire pit are perfect opportunities to create delicious jackets with soft insides and crispy skins.
  10. Stacks – build your own stacks are a marvellous way to get kids eating variety. Thinly slice a variety of veg, grill and then get the kids to put them together in the funkiest tower.

Fruit

Grilled summer fruits are amazing!
  1. Peaches, banana, pineapple, watermelon, kiwi are all delicious when roasted. Try in halves, sliced thinly and with glazes and herbs.
  2. Or skewer strawberries and grapes for dessert on a stick. Add a gooey marshmallow or a drizzle of chocolate at the end for a special treat.

Breakfast

It’s not just night that’s perfect for outside. Make use of the cool, early mornings and whip up some breakfast.
  1. Go traditional with sausages, bacon and eggs with a healthy side of roasted and wilted veg.
  2. Upgrade the muesli – place it in foil with a little oil or butter and toast on the grill. Add some charred summer fruits for a decadent, sweet burst.
  3. Grill some bread or make it French toast for a filling protein boost.
  4. Whip up a simple batter and viola – crepes!

Fish, seafood and more

Traditionally we think of barbecues as a meat fest and there are so many ways to transform a piece of lamb, pork, chicken or beef. However, we can put so many other things on the grill.
  1. Wrap fish in foil to steam or quickly sear directly on the hot plate for a lighter dinner.
  2. Grill other seafood like prawns, oysters, calamari, paua, octopus or scallops – if you’re lucky enough to score some!
  3. Char some tofu or tempeh for a light, vegetarian option.
  4. Roast cheeses like feta, haloumi or even whole brie (on a piece of bread or foil saves the barbecue plate!)
  5. Whip up rissoles, koftas, falafels or fritters. All are delicious cooked on the grill and it’s amazing what kids will eat if presented in a new way.
  6. Bruschetta – slice a French stick, rub with oil and garlic and char on the grill. Add chopped tomato, onion and basil or create your own unique toppings.
  7. Quesadilla, a tortilla filled with chopped veg, cheese and Mexican spices are delicious on the barbecue. Whip up a gozleme or go more traditional and make a quick pizza.
  8. Rice balls – use some precooked short-grain rice and form into a ball (with or without a filling) and then finish on the barbecue for a different outer texture. Use an Asian dipping sauce for full effect.
Add some simple salads, a range of sauces and dips and you have an amazing spread that will put the average sausage sizzle to shame!

Sugar – should we stop eating it?

Everyone’s talking about sugar at the moment. It comes in the wake of media reports of US researchers describing sugar as ‘toxic’, and stories of seemingly miraculous weight loss occurring when people cut all sugar from their diets.

At the most extreme end of the scale, several scientists have called for sugar to be regulated as a harmful substance like alcohol and tobacco. So should we all be getting on the no-sugar bandwagon?

It seems all nutrition experts agree that too much sugar – particularly the added sugar found in highly processed foods – is not good for anyone. But it’s useful to understand some context before we do anything extreme.

There is some interesting research going on into sugar and its effects. The findings so far seem to suggest, but not prove, a link between excessive sugar intake and chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes). Critics have pointed out that much of the research has been on animals, and both these and the few human studies have had subjects consuming vast amounts of sugar in forms that are not readily available in real life. Research is ongoing, and fascinating. But right now all the scientific community seems ready to agree on is that more research is needed.

In the meantime, what are we to make of the ‘cut out all sugar’ diets? Our experts agree it’s a good idea to minimise the added sugar in our diets, and doing this will almost certainly have an effect on weight, since sugary foods tend to be energy dense. This is especially true if you’re eating a lot of sugary foods and drinking sugary drinks to start with.  But demonising one particular food, no matter what it is, is not really helpful or sensible. The reasons people are overweight are complex, and rarely due to over-consumption of just one thing. And if we simply concentrate on eliminating one element from our diets without making sure the rest of what we eat is as good as it can be, we run the risk of being no healthier at all in the long run.

In health, as in many things in life, it is human nature to look for a magic solution; a quick fix. When it comes to weight loss we tend to love rules, and if they seem very simple – cut out all sugar – even better. It’s a lot simpler and more dramatic than ‘eat less and move more’, or ‘everything in moderation’. But I feel like we’ve been here before. Remember Atkins and the other low-carb diets? Or the extreme low-fat diets of the ‘80s? My feeling is that anything extreme is not sustainable, and we tend to end up back where we started, with the weight back on. Also worrying, is that cutting out all sugar is restrictive and difficult, and could encourage an unhealthy relationship with food. As happens when we concentrate on restricting anything in our diets, we focus on what we ‘can’t’ have.

What we do agree with the no-sugar advocates about is that sugary drinks are no-one’s idea of healthy food, and that a diet of fresh, whole foods with lots of colourful fruit and veges and a minimum of processed foods is ideal.

But long-term health – and keeping weight off long term – is not about avoiding one food completely. It is about eating a wide variety of good food, in reasonable portion sizes, every single day for the rest of your life. Get everything else right, and a small sweet treat occasionally is not going to kill you.

Weight-loss tips for men

Weight-loss expert Andrew Dickson shares information and advice for men who are wanting to lose weight.

I work with blokes who want to manage their weight better, and I’ve found they share a common belief: the amount of energy eaten on a particular day minus the amount of energy burnt equals how much fat they lose. But the science isn’t that simple.

In my experience, men often apply this half-truth by skipping meals (usually breakfast) to try and reduce their total intake of food over a day. I certainly did this when I weighed over 130 kilos. Unfortunately, this makes weight management almost impossible, as it causes the metabolism to slow down to prevent starvation. Eating like this actually stops you burning energy.

If you skip breakfast and eat your evening meal at around 7pm, the body has been without fuel for more than half the day – 7pm to lunchtime the next day is 17 hours or 70% of a 24-hour period. This means you actually eat most of your total energy intake in about seven hours. During the 17 hours without food, your metabolism slows and your body shuts down many non-essential functions. When you do eventually eat, your body will store as much as it can to try and compensate for the starvation time. This starts a dangerous cycle of starve-store-starve, and results in more body fat and lower performance.

An alternative is to try and eat a third of your daily energy intake between waking and lunchtime – breakfast and morning tea. Get another third of sustenance between 12pm to 6pm – lunch and afternoon tea. And get your final third of daily energy intake between 6pm and bedtime – dinner and a supper-time snack. This is ideal, and what I have adopted over the past two years.

And it all starts at the beginning of your day – just add breakfast. This increases your total energy intake but incredibly, you will likely lose weight. I have seen success from this simple change in eating habits in the blokes I am helping.

Top tips for blokes

  • Never skip breakfast. Even if it is a couple of pieces of toast with Vegemite or a meal replacement drink, breakfast kick-starts your metabolism.
  • Eat regularly. Work out when during the day you need to eat by dividing the amount of hours you are awake by six.
    eg. wake at 7am, sleep at 10pm = 15 awake hours.
    15 ÷ 6 = 2.5 hours. This means don’t leave more than 2.5 hours between eating.
  • Snacking is good. Eat three main meals and three substantial snacks every day.

Great snack ideas

  • Morning tea: Fruit with a decent amount of protein like bananas, berries, kiwifruit or avocado and about 25 grams of nuts like Brazil nuts.
  • Afternoon tea: A pottle of yoghurt and a wholemeal Vegemite sandwich.
  • After-dinner snack: Frozen yoghurt and a couple of gingernuts.

Gluten-free breakfast – the hardest meal of the day?

When I was first told that I shouldn’t be eating gluten, the meal I had the most difficulty with was breakfast.

I’ll come back to lunch, which has its own challenges, in another post! Dinner turned out to be surprisingly easy. All my favourite breakfast foods – porridge, muesli, French toast, pancakes and the like – were out. What could I replace them with? Here are some suggestions.

Toast

The good old staple of toast. Whilst gluten-free bread, in the main, is not as nice as bread with gluten, it actually makes up into a nice toast. In fact, I would recommend eating gluten-free bread toasted almost all the time, as it’s far better than eating it as fresh bread. Most spreads are gluten-free, and you can use avocado, hummus and other healthy toppings for a bit of variety.

Muesli

There are a number of excellent muesli-type cereals readily available. Both Hubbards and Healtheries make reasonably priced options – and have a good variety of flavours, stocked at all of the supermarkets. My favourite is the Healtheries High Fibre muesli, as it has the best fibre content of the commercial mueslis that I have looked at. If you can spend a little more money, the Brookfield Farms Macadamia muesli is very good, and available at New Worlds and most Countdowns. There are also any number of boutique mueslis available. The one I like the best is Cec’s Gluten-free Muesli (which can be purchased from their website, www.cecsmuesli.co.nz) but again, it’s more expensive. I tend to buy one of the expensive ones and two of the cheaper, everyday ones and mix them together. If you’re keen on trying new muesli, I strongly recommend attending the Gluten Free Food & Allergy Show, as there are many on display there! The other option is to make your own, and there are some excellent recipes around for this.

Porridge

Both Healtheries and Hubbards do a rice porridge offering. I add some dried cranberries and currants for a bit of extra flavour. Opinion is divided about oats. Some research (especially overseas) suggests that the amount of gluten per milligram is so tiny that oats are not considered to contain gluten. If you buy packet biscuit mixes from overseas, they will often contain oats. However, the requirements in New Zealand are a little more stringent, and oats are considered to contain gluten. I think this is one of those topics where you need to make the decision for yourself, but the prevailing advice is for coeliacs to stay away from oats.

Cooked breakfasts

In some ways, cooked breakfasts are easiest. Thin, crepe-like pancakes and waffles both translate very well to a gluten-free version. Simply replace the normal flour with gluten-free flour, and add a little vanilla or cinnamon. You may need a little more liquid as the gluten-free flour tends to suck that up more than normal flour. French toast is a little harder, but you can make it using gluten-free bread and because of the eggs and milk, it does jazz up bread that is a day or two old. I’d suggest something like Bakeworks pull-apart buns sliced thickly rather than the sliced loaves of gluten-free bread.

Café breakfasts

In cafés it is uncommon to have gluten-free options for muesli, but many cafés nowadays have gluten-free bread available. I tend to make up a ‘sides’ breakfast – mushrooms, bacon, avocado and gluten-free toast. Hash browns, or hash potatoes, are also gluten-free. A couple of things to watch for with café breakfasts are:

  • Is the bacon gluten-free? I know it sounds odd, but some bacon contains gluten. I guess it must be injected, but can’t figure out why they would do this!
  • Cross-contamination – this is where the items are cooked in the same place as items containing gluten. For example, a grill where burger buns are cooked and also steak, or a pancake pan which does both gluten and gluten-free pancakes. It’s worth checking with the kitchen to find out what they do.
  • Creamy mushrooms – you should always check that this is just a cream sauce. I’ve had experiences where the mushrooms have been cooked in a sauce with a flour base rather than cream.

Hotel breakfasts

Breakfast buffets at hotels can be great for those who are gluten intolerant. Most hotels have gluten-free bread for toasting if you ask, however the toasting machines have breadcrumbs and so on from normal bread, so this is probably not a great option. Most of the hot buffet foods work well for the gluten intolerant – bacon, mushrooms, scrambled eggs, tomatoes – but stay away from the sausages unless they specify that they are gluten-free. There is never any gluten-free cereal on display, but sometimes they have it if you ask. There is normally fresh fruit and yoghurt, so you can have quite a good breakfast!

Additional breakfast tips and tricks

Work mornings can be difficult, and if we don’t manage to eat breakfast at home, it’s much harder for the gluten intolerant to just pop to a nearby café and pick up a Danish or a bagel. To make weekday mornings easier, I keep cereal, gluten-free bread (in the freezer) and yoghurt at my office and tend to eat there.

Like everything else related to eating gluten-free, with a bit of preparation and a willingness to ask questions of the kitchen staff, you can easily cope with breakfasts.

Banana and oats breakfast smoothie

Are you one of those people who doesn’t always have time for breakfast? Try this quick and simple nutrition-packed smoothie instead.

You can whip it up before you head out the door and carry it with you. It’s high in fibre and protein and with the oats and fruit, it’ll keep you going all morning.

Breakfast smoothie

Serves 2
Time to make: 3 minutes

2 bananas
1/4 cup prunes
1/2 cup wholegrain oats
1/4 cup vanilla or honey-flavoured low-fat yoghurt
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups trim milk
handful ice

Step 1  Put all ingredients into the Vitamix. Start on low then increase to maximum power for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Serve.

Variation

For a dairy-free smoothie, you could swap out the yoghurt and milk for dairy-free soy versions.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVE (2 serves)

Energy 1740kJ     Sugars 51g
Protein 19g     Fibre 7g
Total fat 4g     Sodium 140mg
Sat fat 1g     Calcium 470mg
Carbs 75g     Iron 3.5mg

Extreme makeover: Big breakfast

It’s a favourite weekend meal. But do you know how much energy and fat is hiding in it?

Try these tips to make your weekend brunch that bit healthier:

  • Streaky bacon can be up to 1/4 fat. Use Dansk, middle or eye bacon; it has much less fat and kilojoules. It needs careful cooking – don’t over-cook or it’ll be leathery. But the taste is just as good.
  • Pre-made hash browns have 530kJ and 5.7g of fat per serving. And it pays to check the pack: on some a serving is only one hash brown!
  • Instead try oven-baked cubed potatoes: cut a potato into 1cm cubes and bake with a light spray of oil in a hot oven. Just as quick as hash browns and much healthier, with barely any fat.
  • If you fry your eggs and use butter or oil, you’ll add still more fat. Opt for microwave eggs: scramble or poach eggs in the microwave and you don’t have to add any fat at all. For scrambled, just cook beaten egg in a bowl for around 2 minutes on medium, then break up with a fork. We hear this is how some restaurants do it!
  • Add some oven-roasted tomatoes for a vege boost: add these to the dish when you cook the potatoes and they’ll be collapsing and sweet by the time they come out.

How they compare

Traditional fry-up:
3 rashers streaky bacon, 2 hash browns, 2 eggs, 1 tomato
Total energy per serve = 2400kJ
Total fat per serve = 47g (22g saturated)

HFG breakfast:
3 rashers Dansk bacon, 2 scrambled eggs, 1 roasted tomato, 1 cubed potato
Total energy per serve = 1500kJ
Total fat per serve = 16g (4g saturated)

How to super-charge your breakfast

What can the most important meal of the day do for you? We have expert advice on the most tasty and nutritious breakfasts.

Nutritionists believe there is great logic in the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper”, because the best way to kick-start your body in the morning is to give it the right fuel.

The word ‘breakfast’ literally means to ‘break the fast’ from the eight or 12 hours since your last meal the night before. By morning, your brain and muscles are crying out for starter fuel to spring them into action and face the day ahead.

Why is breakfast so important?

Eating breakfast has been identified as one of seven healthy habits that promote long life and good health.

Three keys reasons not to skip breakfast:

1. It boosts your nutrient intake

Studies in the USA and UK dating back as far as the early 1960s consistently show that breakfast eaters have better overall diets. Breakfast eaters have been shown to have a lower fat intake, a higher fibre intake, plus significantly higher intakes of almost all vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, iron and magnesium.

2. It improves memory and concentration

Nutrition researchers have found that people who eat a balanced breakfast can concentrate better and are more efficient at their work than those who skip it. For kids, there’s no doubt that breakfast is a must. Studies show that children who miss breakfast are less alert during the late morning hours and find it hard to concentrate on tasks that require prolonged mental effort.

Factory workers who skip breakfast have been found to be more prone to accidents and have a lower production output compared to those who have something to eat in the morning.

3. It helps prevent binge eating

Contrary to the beliefs of those who skip breakfast in the hope of losing weight, breakfast is a good friend. Skipping it means we are more likely to over-eat later in the day, usually something that’s quick to hand or a non-nutritious, high-fat fast food.

Breakfast nutrition

Unless you have a physically demanding job or play a lot of sport, a light cereal-and-toast style of breakfast is perfectly adequate and will meet all your nutrition needs. Comparisons with other breakfasts like egg and bacon, scrambled eggs, croissants, cheese on toast and banana smoothies show that cereal-based breakfasts are nutritionally superior, being lower in fat, cholesterol and kilojoules and higher in fibre and essential nutrients.

Here’s a checklist of healthy breakfast options:

Fruit

Eaten whole or sliced over cereal. To save time, prepare a plate of sliced fruit the night before and leave in the refrigerator. Melon slices, kiwifruit, berries, grapefruit segments, papaya or oranges in quarters are all good choices.

Fruit juice is a quick alternative with the same valuable vitamin C, but has little fibre. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron from cereals. Prunes, sultanas and other dried fruit add fibre and the mineral potassium.

Grains

Many people get most of their fibre for the day at breakfast so it pays to maximise your fibre intake at this meal. Aim for a mix of soluble fibre such as oats, for a healthy heart, and insoluble fibre such as wheat bran for regularity and bowel health.

Choose a non-sugary whole grain or bran type cereal, or else go for muesli or rolled oats (porridge) in winter. There’s no shortage of choice at the supermarket. Sprinkling some wheatgerm, rice bran or oat bran over a plainer puffed or flaked cereal will boost your nutrition. Many cereals are now fortified with B vitamins and iron which, along with the milk that is consumed with them, makes them a nutritious food.

If you prefer toast or muffins to cereal, make these wholemeal, mixed grain or white high-fibre if your kids hate ‘brown bread’.

Milk, yoghurt or cheese

These offer calcium for strong bones and protein as well as the B vitamin riboflavin. Many children are happy to drink a glass of milk (or hot milk with malt chocolate powder in winter) with breakfast. Cottage cheese and ricotta team nicely with raisin toast and make a good low-fat option, but are not as rich in calcium as cheddar cheese or yoghurt.

Eggs (boiled, poached, microwaved or lightly scrambled), or baked beans

These are ideal if you’re super hungry or want a hearty Sunday brunch. Add mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach for more bulk.

Breakfasts to suit different lifestyles

Ideas for breakfast-on-the-run

Scale up the servings to suit your activity and lifestyle. If you exercise regularly or have a physically demanding job, you will need larger portions, or a cooked breakfast to refuel your body, than if you don’t get to exercise much or are trying to lose weight.

No time to eat in the mornings?

Try our quick and easy ideas:

Breakfast at home

  • Try a liquid meal. Pour one cup of milk into a blender or food processor with any cut fruit (banana, strawberries, pear), 3-4 tablespoons of yoghurt and a pinch of nutmeg. Blend for 30 seconds until smooth and frothy. For a high-fibre shake, add 1-2 tablespoons of bran cereal or wheatgerm. Drink and run.
  • A bowl of muesli or bran cereal with low-fat milk and sliced banana.
  • Bircher muesli: start this famous oat breakfast the night before: Soak 1 cup of rolled oats and 2 tablespoons sultanas in 3/4 cup low-fat milk and leave covered in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, peel and grate an apple (with the skin) into the oats with a squeeze of lemon juice. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of yoghurt and a sliced banana if you’re ravenous.
    Serves 3-4.
  • An orange or half a grapefruit.
  • Half a grain muffin, toasted and topped with cottage cheese or a slice of cheddar cheese.
  • Muffin with grilled cheese.

In the car, train or bus

Bolt out the door with

  • A sandwich you’ve made the night before plus a carton of flavoured milk.
  • A breakfast bar or muesli bar and a drinking yoghurt.
  • Throw a handful of Mini-Wheats, dried fruit and nuts into a plastic bag or container. Munch on the way to school with a carton of milk.

Gluten-free or wheat-free options

  • Avoiding wheat, oats and barley at breakfast is not easy! Look for cereals based on rice or corn (maize).
  • Fresh fruit salad with a bowl of Rice Bubbles or Corn Flakes (check for malt if you need to avoid it). Add cows’ milk or soy milk.
  • Rice cakes or rice crackers spread with margarine can replace toast. Add peanut butter, jam or marmalade as required. Tea, coffee or milk.
  • Eggs with tomato on gluten-free toast.

Breakfast out before work

Try these healthy café options

  • Thick fruit loaf toasted and topped with ricotta or cottage cheese. Cappuccino, flat white or latte with trim milk.
  • Grilled cheese and tomato on grainy toast. English breakfast tea.
  • Poached or scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with mushrooms and grilled tomato. Glass of fresh juice.
  • Fresh strawberries or diced melon tossed in a bowl with passionfruit pulp. Top with thick Greek yoghurt and  crunchy muesli.
  • Wholemeal muffin topped with grilled mushrooms or sliced tomato and a large glass of reduced-fat milk.
  • Milky coffee (latte, flat white) with bran and raisin muffin.

Breakfast and kids

Children need to start the day with a good breakfast. Breakfast functions as ‘brain food’, re-fuelling children’s brains as well as their bodies. Deprive children of breakfast and you may be depriving them of their ability to learn. Study after study shows that children who skip breakfast report tiredness and lethargy, have trouble concentrating on the morning’s lessons, and find complex mental tasks difficult.

Breakfast enhances

  • working memory
  • problem-solving abilities
  • accuracy in maths and other complex tasks (which teachers often schedule for the morning)
  • creative thinking

Breakfast makes a significant contribution to children’s overall nutrient intakes, according to the many studies on breakfast eating patterns. Children who eat breakfast tend to have a much healthier diet and are more likely to be consuming their recommended intakes of key nutrients such as iron, calcium, B vitamins and fibre. Children who skip breakfast do not make up the differences in dietary intake at other meals. A higher percentage of skippers do not meet two-thirds of the recommended intake for vitamins and minerals compared to those who eat breakfast.

Most children miss breakfast for two or three reasons: lack of time, being too tired, or not feeling like eating in the morning. If this sounds like your child, offer something light like fruit or a bowl of flake cereal with milk. Eating breakfast often helps them to wake up!
If he or she wants to rush off to school without eating, give them a breakfast bar to munch on the way to school or even a glass of milk, so at least they have something to see them through the morning. This combination is preferable to arriving at school with nothing to eat – it will still provide carbohydrate, some protein, B vitamins and fibre, depending on the cereal.

Choose a good cereal

“It’s better to eat the cardboard box than the cereal” is often chuckled over when buying cereals. But the truth is that even the sugary kids’ packet cereals today make a contribution to nutrition (especially with milk) and are better than having nothing to eat for the morning. Certainly they aren’t ideal in terms of fibre and whole grain content but they are inexpensive, low in fat, fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals and can be eaten as a snack any time of the day.

That said, how do you pick a good cereal?

Fibre: More than 6g per 100g minimum. Preferably more than 10g/100g or more

Sugar: Less than 15g per 100g; Less than 25g per 100g if from dried fruit

Sodium: For a low-sodium diet, look for less than 400mg per 100g

High fibre: Look for a minimum of 6g fibre per 100g, but preferably about 10g. Check the list of ingredients for wheat bran, whole wheat, whole barley, oats, brown rice. Oats and corn are always whole grain but what, rice and barley are often refined. Bran cereals (All-Bran, Sultana Bran) have 6-9g per serve, while Corn Flakes and Rice Bubbles are down at 1g.

NZ adults should aim for 25-30g fibre each day,but man get a lot less. An easy way to increase your fibre is to choose a high-fibre cereal like All-Bran and start the day with over a third of your requirement.

Low sugar

Look for less than 15g added sugar per 100g serving. When a cereal has dried fruit, you can’t tell from the nutrition panel how much is coming from the fruit and the added sugar, so you can allow a higher sugar level (up to 25g per 100g). The dried fruit adds fibre and vitamins.

Sodium (salt)

If you are watching your sodium intake for health reasons, look for a cereal with under 400mg per 100g.

Serving size

The standard serve of cereal used to be 30g, which means one cup of bubbles or flakes or two breakfast biscuits. Some manufacturers have decided to say a serve is 40g in an effort to claim the ‘highest fibre content’ or the ‘most vitamins’. So to get a true comparison, it’s best to use the 100g column when you’re looking at similar products.

Super-active

For those who burn up lots of kilojoules with a physically demanding job or are into sports in a big way, here are two hunger-buster breakfasts:

  • Fresh fruit salad; cheese omelette with wholemeal toast; tea, coffee, milk or juice.
  • Bowl of whole grain cereal with sliced banana and low-fat milk; crumpet, toasted and covered with a slice of cheese and grilled until melted; tea, coffee, milk or juice.

There are good reasons not to skip breakfast if you’re exercising but trying to lose body fat. Skipping breakfast reduces the quality of your training session due to lower blood glucose levels. It also makes you hungry and invariably leads to impulsive snacking and increased kilojoule intake later in the day.

How good is the liquid breakfast?

They taste good and they’re quick – grab one from the fridge and drink it in the car or bus – and Sanitarium’s Up&Go® claims to contain the goodness and fibre of two Weet-Bix with milk, although a quick glance at the ingredients list will tell you that it is not a liquefied version of that.

The fibre is from chicory inulin, which acts like soluble fibre. This is fermented in the gut. Soluble fibre from oats has been shown to be good for heart health.  Insoluble fibre, found in whole grains, is good for your bowels.

Nutritionists are cautious about comparing the fibre from inulin with the fibre from cereals, which have been well researched over many years. While there is good evidence so far that inulin has a positive effect on health, there is still a lot of research to be done to fully understand whether it is as good. Plant foods contain other nutrients, and fibre is not the whole story as to why whole grain cereals are so good for us.

Our advice

They’re a handy alternative when you’re in a rush, but plan to include insoluble fibres from whole grains and brans in your breakfast on most days. And be aware that they’re high in sugar: one Up&Go® has 18.5g, one CalciTrim Liquid Breakfast has 19.5g – both are more than 4 teaspoons – of sugar.

Piri piri chicken burgers

Serves: 4
Time to make: 30 mins, including marinating
Total cost: $14.00 / $3.50 per serve –
INGREDIENTS
  • 600g skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced red chilli
  • 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • oil spray, to grease
  • 4 buns or rolls
  • 2-3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • crisp lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Step 1 Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic. Use a rolling pin to bang the breast into even thickness to double its original size. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Step 2 Measure the next 6 ingredients into a sturdy plastic bag or shallow casserole dish then massage the bag or stir to combine. Add chicken and turn pieces (or massage the bag again) until chicken is coated on all sides with marinade. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Step 3 Heat a large, lightly oiled frying pan or barbecue hot plate to a medium-high heat then add marinated chicken. Cook each side for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (cut the thickest piece to see that there is no pink in the middle).

Step 4 Halve buns and spread with a little mayonnaise. Assemble lettuce, a cooked chicken breast then tomato slices between bun halves. Season if preferred and serve.

Variations

Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free varieties of bread and mayonnaise.

 

NUTRITION INFO

Kilojoules
1,640kJ
Calories
392cal
Protein
41g
Total fat
12g
Saturated fat
22g
Carbohydrates
35g
Sugars
7g
Dietary fibre
4g
Sodium
710mg
Calcium
70mg
Iron
2mg

Instructions

Step 1 Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic. Use a rolling pin to bang the breast into even thickness to double its original size. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Step 2 Measure the next 6 ingredients into a sturdy plastic bag or shallow casserole dish then massage the bag or stir to combine. Add chicken and turn pieces (or massage the bag again) until chicken is coated on all sides with marinade. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Step 3 Heat a large, lightly oiled frying pan or barbecue hot plate to a medium-high heat then add marinated chicken. Cook each side for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (cut the thickest piece to see that there is no pink in the middle).

Step 4 Halve buns and spread with a little mayonnaise. Assemble lettuce, a cooked chicken breast then tomato slices between bun halves. Season if preferred and serve.

Variations

Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free varieties of bread and mayonnaise.