As soon as those wonderful smells created by a full English breakfast being cooked in the kitchen waft up to the bedroom, that’s it! No matter how strong my resolve was to stay in bed and have that well longed-for Saturday or Sunday morning lie in, it all disappears as I salivate while desperately trying to find a dressing gown so as not to offend my hosts as this wonderful weekend away gets even better.
It is quite odd that very few of us have a traditional English breakfast these days unless we are away from home or we have made a big effort to have a weekend treat that many consider not too healthy. But many of us agree that as part of a balanced diet it is the highlight of our weekend and has, when correctly cooked, a lot to offer each of us nutritionally.
Breakfast is considered by many to be the most important meal of the day as, when carefully cooked, it provides a great start. There are many nutritionally beneficial versions of breakfast, such as muesli, yogurt, fruit, porridge and the
like as well as more indulgent options where French ‘viennoiseries’ or pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat and pain aux raisin take centre stage.
Whichever is your preference, first and foremost we have to acknowledge that breakfast is important to get the whole family off to a good start. This week is National Breakfast Week so it seems appropriate that the whole nation should
give this subject some thought. There is no need for me to even think about it, my colours have been firmly nailed to the mast since I was a child: the much lauded full English is for me. My dad had a transport café and I have to admit I spent many a happy hour as a young lad at his side preparing bacon, sausages, fried eggs, fried bread, black pudding, beans and tomatoes – the ‘full Monty’.
Breakfast, no matter what you choose, provides the body and brain with fuel after a period of approximately eight hours of overnight fasting. Expert advice suggests we should eat within two hours of waking and we should aim for 20%
of the reference intake for energy per day, which is around 400 calories. As well as providing energy, breakfast can be a good source of essential nutrients and those in the know tell us that research shows that breakfast eaters are less likely to take high sugar and fatty snacks during the day, therefore consequently they’re less likely to be overweight. But perhaps the most important thing to note is the research that young children who get into the habit of having breakfast each day can improve their cognition and seem to be better behaved.
So it’s clear to me what to have this weekend. Mine’s a full English, which you can easily make healthier by grilling instead of frying and choosing poached eggs to reduce the amount of saturated fat. Whatever you have, perhaps you will be able to say that your health and success is down to the fact that you ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’.