Brilliant breakfasts at Stansted Airport

2016-01-19 11.55.46Business travellers flying from Stansted Airport (UK) can now choose from a wider selection of breakfast menus as a result of the recent airport transformation project.  Our Registered Consultant Nutritionist, Kathy Lewis, has visited Stansted to find out if there are now any healthier breakfast options suitable for the business traveller.  Here is what she found and she explains why healthier breakfasts could make a brilliant start to your business trip.

Travelling on business doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a good breakfast to start the day.   Nor should it mean you can only choose between porridge and yoghurt with granola each time you want a healthier breakfast.  Breakfast should make up around 20 – 25% of your daily energy intake.  For a travelling businessman, this is about 500 calories and for a businesswoman around 400 calories, unless you’re also trying to lose weight where around 250 to 375 calories would be more appropriate.

Breakfast based on the four main food groups will give you an excellent start to the day as it will contribute many of the nutrients you need to maintain good health and provide sufficient energy to refuel after a twelve hour fast since your meal the evening before.  For a healthy breakfast, nutrition experts recommend wholegrain starchy foods as the base, adding dairy products, protein sources and fruit & vegetables on top.

Business travellers passing through Stansted Airport are now spoilt for choice when it comes to healthier breakfast options.  Here are three brilliant breakfast options which you will find equally delicious as well as nutritious.

Californian Toast at Coast to Coast restaurant, Stansted Airport

Just opposite the Halo Fizz Bar, sandwiched between Pret a Manger and Giraffe, is the Coast to Coast restaurant.  On a recent visit through Stanstead to Ireland, I chose Coast to Coast to have breakfast.

Californian Toast on the menu stood out as a brilliant breakfast option at first glance.  It was highlighted in the ‘Lighter and Brighter’ section.   While brighter in colour than most breakfasts, it was difficult to assess whether it was ‘lighter‘, as there wasn’t any nutritional information provided next to the items.  However, a mix of foods which provide a variety of colours is always a good indication you are about to consume a variety of nutrients.

2016-01-19 10.56.25Simply delicious, it comprised of smashed avocado (not mashed to a pulp), diced mango, chives and a lime salsa.  Many of my favourite ingredients in one go, all on top of sourdough toast.   It didn’t disappoint taste wise, and nutritionally it also excels.

Avocados are high in unsaturated fat and contribute to a heart healthy diet as unsaturated fat helps to lower blood cholesterol.  Avocados also provide essential amino acids which are required from our diet, along with carbohydrate (both in small amounts) and a good source of fibre.  Overall, avocados supply energy and have a high satiety value principally due to the time it takes to digest.  Avocados also contribute many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

The mango adds, even more, vitamins, especially vitamin C and beta-carotene (precursor form of vitamin A).  Both of these are antioxidants, and along with the vitamin E from the avocado, they help to reduce the risk of some cancers.  Mangos are also a good source of fructose (fruit sugar), and fibre.   However, the mango is considered to contribute a low glycaemic load and therefore has little effect on blood sugar levels.   The fibre content from the avocado also helps to slow down absorption of any sugars present.

Overall, this is one of the nicest tasting airport breakfasts I’ve had in a long time.

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs at Giraffe Restaurant, Stansted Airport

Next door to Coast to Coast is the Giraffe Restaurant.  If you haven’t had breakfast here before, then when you do you’ll notice plenty of breakfast options to choose from their menu.

Travelling to Barcelona from Stansted Airport recently, I sampled the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toasted rye bread with cherry tomatoes.  This dish is great if you don’t anticipate eating again soon, as it is a good source of fibre, protein and fat, all of which slow down gastric emptying.

Smoked Salmon Scrambled EggsIf you are a frequent traveller and don’t get much sun, then this dish will contribute a good supply of Vitamin D.   Both smoked salmon and eggs are excellent sources.   Vitamin D is essential in the diet to maintain healthy bones.  Some research is now linking frequent travel with low vitamin D status, so adding eggs and salmon to your weekly diet would increase the dietary intake of vitamin D.

Eggs are also a great source of protein, containing all the amino acids we need.  They are also a good source of many vitamins and minerals making them packed full of goodness.  Contrary to popular belief, eggs can contribute a lot towards a healthy diet.

Oily fish is recommended to be included in your diet at least once a week.  In addition to being another valuable source of vitamin D, salmon also contributes vitamin A and essential fatty acids, most notably omega-3 fish oils which helps to lower blood cholesterol.

Added to rye bread, which is a good source of fibre and B vitamins, this breakfast option offers a high satiety value and is nutrient dense.  The energy (512 Calories) may be a little on the high side for those wanting to lose weight, but you definitely shouldn’t feel the need for a mid-morning snack in a few hours’ time.

Grilled Tomatoes on Toast – Café Balzar, Stansted Airport

If it is something a little lighter for breakfast that takes your fancy, then the Café Balzar offers variety.  I tend to favour the simple mix of ingredients and grilled tomatoes on toast is one of mine favourites (the other being sauteed mushrooms on toast).

roasted tomato with herbs and olive oilCafé Balzar’s array of breakfast dishes is tempting, featuring everything from Croque Mademoiselle (mixed roasted vegetables with cheddar cheese and crème fraiche) to Tartine Mediterane (spiced plums and glazed fresh figs on toasted raisin and pecan bread served with Greek style yoghurt and sprinkled with mixed seeds, honey and pomegranate seeds).  Yet no porridge or smoothie in sight!

My suggestion is to try the tomatoes on toast.  They are grilled with fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil and its simplicity sounds too good to be true.  The olive oil, as we all know by now, is great for inclusion in a healthy diet as it is predominately monounsaturated fats, and the tomatoes are a good source of lycopene (an antioxidant which may help prevents some forms of cancer), fibre and vitamins.  In addition, they are low in calories and when combined with toast this dish provides the necessary carbohydrates to break your fast.   Already one up with your 5 ADAY, you are well on your way to a healthier journey.  Don’t forget to add a dairy product and/or an alternative protein food to contribute Ca and protein.

I hope you enjoy the brilliant breakfasts now available at Stansted Airport.  And if you have tried any others, then please let us know.

©  ExtraVitality 2016

Kathy Lewis, R.Nutr, BCApSc, MSc, MBA,
Author: Kathy Lewis, R.Nutr, BCApSc, MSc, MBA,
Kathy Lewis, Consultancy Director, enjoys a multidisciplinary career based on a portfolio of achievement.  Kathy is a Management Consultant for Executive Travel Wellbeing and Stress, Health Promotion Specialist, Consultant Nutritionist (Registered Nutritionist and World Public Health Nutritionist) and a Chartered Marketer with over 25 years of experience.   Her specialist areas include executive stress and wellbeing (including jet-lag and travel wellness),  travel nutrition, travel policies, corporate vitality, employee engagement, marketing and internal communications. Kathy holds several relevant degrees, Masters in Applied Psychology (MSc) with distinction for her research in Executive stress and maladaptive coping behaviours looking specifically at clinical work-based stress and the impact on healthy lifestyles, Masters in Business Administration (MBA), with distinctions achieved in Management Accounts, Statistics and Project Management, completed with a research-based dissertation in the marketing of healthy options in catering establishments, and a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and Food Science.Over the last 25 years, Kathy has worked as a consultant and advised in various industries, from travel, health and food to financial services and telecommunications, on nutrition, executive wellbeing, workplace health, change management, internal communications and employee engagement. She has worked with a variety of clients across local government, NHS, educational institutes, NGO’s, national and multinational companies. As a Management Consultant (post-MBA) Kathy was required to travel to several locations each week and in 2002 began her masters in Applied Psychology (& Health Promotion) as a result of observing the stress in senior managers.  She was awarded a distinction for both her research on work-related stress and maladaptive behaviours and her course work.  Prior to this, Kathy spent many years working with catering establishments to provide healthy options, and prior to this working in diet and fitness centres, following her degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science in 1989.   Combining all areas of experience and expertise was the obvious way forward, and subsequently founded the concept of business travel vitality and wellbeing. Kathy is a former Consulting Editor for Readers Digest Association Inc (USA) and Readers’ Digest UK (Vivat), as well as the former founding Non-Executive Editor for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Food, Drink and Agriculture group. As an author, she has written a number of publications and a variety of articles in consumer publications and professional journals, with guest media appearances on a number of radio shows, including the BBC, London and regional radio.  She enjoys public speaking on a range of topics and is a regular speaker at professional events. Kathy is also the Vice Chair of The Caroline Walker Trust, Founder of the International Forum for Health Promotion and Education, a board advisor for the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy, the Vice-Chair/former Chair for the Financial Services Board at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, former Trustee/Non-Executive Director for the Association of MBA’s (where she chaired the Governance Committee and was a member of the HR Committee and Strategic Working Party), former Honorary Secretary for the Institute of Health Promotion and Education, a founding Council Member of the Association for Nutrition. Kathy was also a committee member for the Food, Drink and Agriculture group at the Chartered Insitute of Marketing and a current Non-Executive Director at NZ Engineering. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Association of MBAs, Institute for Travel Management, Association for Woman Travel Executives, Nutrition Society, SENSE, World Public Health Nutrition Association, Association for Nutrition (UK) and International Travel Writers Alliance.  She is a former member of the Institute Institute of Directors, Royal Society of Arts and Institute of Health Promotion and Education.

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