If you’re committed to improving your diet, it’s important to start each day right. What we consume (and how we consume it) first thing in the morning can affect the way we eat for the rest of the day, so it’s important to pay attention to the AM hours.
Here are some common diet mistakes people make before lunchtime.
Sure, some people can get away with this, but for most people this breakfast won’t fill you up and you’ll be ravenous by midmorning.
Even if it’s an all-natural fresh pressed juice, fruit is naturally high in sugar, so you could also be consuming an enormous amount of the sweet stuff without realising it.
It’s a better idea to have a breakfast that has a bit of protein in it — such as poached eggs on wholemeal toast, or oats with Greek yoghurt and fruit — to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Having a juice for breakfast won’t fill you up and will leave you hungry before lunchtime. Picture: iStockSource:istock
Granola is another food that seems like a healthy option, but it can be loaded with sugar. Make sure you check the label and look out for sneaky ingredients like coconut sugar, agave, and maple syrup.
If you want to take control of how much sugar is in your granola, you might like to try making your own. There’s a great recipe over here.
Granola can be loaded with sugar. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Many people think that if they go for low-fat options and cut out “traditional” fats such as butter they are cutting calories. But this can be counter-productive.
Fat enhances satiety (which keeps you fuller for longer) and is also required to help us absorb certain vitamins — A, D, E and K — that play important roles in our body functions, from eyesight to your nervous system.
Fat keeps you fuller for longer and assists in the absorption of certain vitamins. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied
According to Eat This, Not That, a study by Northwestern Medicine found late sleepers (who woke at about 10.45am) consumed 248 more calories a day than those who set the alarm clock earlier.
A second study by researchers from the Roehampton University found that those who rise at 6.58am were generally healthier, thinner and happier than the night owls, who start their day at 8.54am.
This is trap for young players. Yoghurt is another one of those foods that seems healthy but if you buy the wrong one you could be adding a huge amount of sugar into your diet. Even if it’s labelled “low-fat” be sure to check out the sugar content on the label.
A good idea is to go for plain Greek yoghurt and add your own sweetness with berries. It might take you a while to acclimatise to the taste if you’re used to flavoured yoghurts, but your body will thank you for it.
Plain Greek Yoghurt can be make sweeter by adding berries.Source:istock
Eating distractedly is not a good idea. Dietitians recommend that you take the time to sit, chew slowly and eat mindfully, otherwise you may end up overeating, or not feeling satiated at the end of your meal.
Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet tells The Daily Meal, “If you don’t take the time to do this, it may seem as if you haven’t eaten at all.”
Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. In fact, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are at lower risk of obesity than those who skip it.
“Eating a healthy breakfast signals your metabolism to wake up and start burning calories”, says Dr Caroline Cederquist. “Skipping breakfast is essentially wasting a morning of fat burning.”
Research shows those who eat a healthy and balanced breakfast are at lower risk of obesity than those who skip it.Source:Supplied
If you’re serious about eating a good diet, then it’s advisable to arm yourself with enough quality food to get you through the day before you leave the house.
Otherwise you may find yourself in a food court at lunch time being tempted by less-than-admirable options (research has also shown that we tend to make poor food decisions when we’re hungry, so a packed lunch is a great way to keep on track).
When you wake up your body tends to be slightly dehydrated. Drinking water first thing in the morning rehydrates the body and aids digestion.
“Oftentimes, people mistake being chronically dehydrated for hunger or cravings for sugar or salt,” says nutritionist Paula Simpson. “When your body’s well hydrated, it’s fuelled so that it metabolises food and breaks it down more efficiently.”
Making sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on you during the day will stop you from being tempted by less-than-admirable options. Picture: iStockSource:istock
Many of us know that the key to a healthy breakfast is protein. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a high-protein breakfast is more satiating than eating high-carb one, which means you’ll stay fuller for longer and are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods during the rest of the day.
Greek yoghurt, eggs and oats are all breakfast foods that are good sources of protein.
Simone Mitchell is a freelance lifestyle and travel journalist based in Melbourne. Continue the conversation @simonemitchell