Breakfast – better late than Never

Breakfast with coffee, rolls, egg, orange juice, muesli and cheeWhether it is a frequent, regular or occasional journey, travelling on business is usually a routine breaker. Eating breakfast not only supplies essential nutrients, but it can also help improve mental performance, concentration and mood.  There are certain regimes that we shouldn’t break and breakfast is definitely one of them. 

 3 Things We Need To Start the Day

 1 Hydration – we wake dehydrated. We also continue to lose liquid en route, more so if flying, so we really need to have adequate hydration to start of the day.  A large mug of tea (the diuretic effect is minimal), glass of milk or juice, or even water, works well and will help us hydrate after a night time of losing liquid. 

2 Nutrition – To provide valuable nutrients. Missing breakfast means missing fuel to kick start our day.  We need to supply sufficient blood glucose to our brain and after a sleep breakfast helps to top up our supply.

3 Satiety – Our sense of satiety starts with breakfast. Plenty of protein reduces feelings of hunger later in the day.  Foods high in protein help to delay gastric emptying and high fibre foods also help us to feel full up for longer.

Why Should We Bother?

Around 30% of us admit to a breakfast skipping habit. The valuable nutrients calcium, iron, B vitamins, protein and fibre tend to be present in foods eaten at breakfast.  Without it, our daily diet is less likely to be sufficient in these nutrients.  Treat foods are harder to resist if we haven’t eaten breakfast. A high sugar/fat snack mid-morning, provides little nutrition, and contributes to a poor diet and lifestyle.

What to Choose?   Is one better than another? 


TOAST Whole grain is best.  An egg or peanut butter is good for protein.  Covered in our favourite jam or spread is OK

PORRIDGE  nutritionally is a star, especially unprocessed whole grains.  Oats contain cholesterol lowering Beta-glucagan, and has a very low glycaemic index (GI).   Enriched with milk, dairy or non dairy, we get calcium and extra protein.

CEREAL whole grain is always best, muesli with raw oats is excellent, with milk or low fat yoghurt, try adding some walnuts (which may also aid jet-lag recovery)

FRUITS AND DRIED FRUITS – not a breakfast on their own, but a great addition.

On average, we spend 8 minutes on breakfast. A drink with a piece of toast or bowl of boxed cereal is quick and more than adequate. With a little extra time, we can do a lot better.

The Business Trip Buffet Breakfast

A good buffet, like a Christmas stocking, is full of little treats.   Occasionally we can afford the indulgence, but if the buffet breakfast is a regular feature, we need a plan.toast with scrambled eggs,salmon and chives

 Try this: Think low carb, put a ban on anything made with flour (white) or potato.   This avoids the hash browns and pastries, the worst of the high fat/low nutrient foods.  A bit of yoghurt, maybe some fruit, an egg with smoked salmon, mushrooms and tomatoes if wanted, is very nutritious, without being a blow out on calories.

The Jet Lag breakfast – what do you eat?

Long haul travel causes disruption to sleep and meal times. When you wake, whatever the time, you stick to the 3 things you need first thing in the morning, hydration, nutrition, and satiation.  In addition, try to choose foods which contain phytochemicals which may help to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, such as tart Montmorency cherries (juice of) or walnuts. 

Breakfast Matters

For everything you have ever wanted to know about breakfast check out  I don’t approve of his 32 coffee cake recipes as a breakfast suggestion, but he does cite loads of interesting research, such as:

  • ‘High protein breakfast helps adult women feel full longer’
  • ‘Men who skip breakfast have a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease’
  • ‘People who eat breakfast burn more calories throughout the day’
  • ‘Women who skip breakfast have a 20% higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes’Power breakfast


If breakfast is missed, on purpose or due to travel, the next food eaten should be thought of as a breakfast type meal. This applies at home and abroad. Not coffee and biscuits, but the nutrients and foods a breakfast would provide. On the move, in the hotel, or out and about, a breakfast is essential. 

© Extravitality 2014


Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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