The significance of breakfast in the Mediterranean diet.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, since it provides us with the necessary energy to function throughout the day, while it has many health benefits. As part of the Mediterranean diet, breakfast can be light and quick to prepare, while it can be consumed at home, on the go or at work. Just make sure to include a low fat dairy product, one portion of whole grains and a fruit.Breakfast is the first meal of the day and for some people it is regarded as the most important one that is linked with numerous health benefits. More specifically, breakfast helps us:
- Feel more energized
- Control our weight
- Control our hunger by preventing over-consumption during the next meals, thus choosing healthier foods
- Improve our memory, concentration and productivity
- Have a brighter mood
Last but not least, eating a balanced breakfast gives us the nutrients and vitamins we need to function during our everyday life.
What is considered as breakfast in our everyday life?
During weekdays, breakfast is anything we eat and drink within 2 hours after getting up in the morning. This can be done at home, on the way to or at work. During weekends, breakfast is anything that is consumed before 11 a.m.
What food products are often consumed during breakfast?
Breakfast foods can vary widely from place to place. However, in most countries around the world these type of foods often include dairy products, such as milk, yogurt or cheese, grains (e.g. bread) or cereals, fruits, vegetables, and some kind of beverage (e.g. coffee, tea, fruit juice). Moreover, common examples of Western breakfast foods are pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, sausages, french toast, pastries, muffins and toast with butter and jam.
What does breakfast look like when we’re following the Mediterranean diet?
Most Mediterranean “breakfast foods” are just a sampling of foods eaten regularly throughout the day. A typical Mediterranean work-week breakfast is often quick and light. When we are in a hurry, we can split breakfast by eating one or two food items at home and the rest one/ones on the way to work or as soon as we arrive at work. On the weekend, however, breakfast should be seen as an opportunity to gather with friends and family, relax, and enjoy a healthy meal.
In order for breakfast to be considered as balanced and nourishing, it should include one portion of each of the following three food groups:
- 1 portion of Dairy (e.g. 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt or 1 slice of cheese) preferably of low fat content.
- 1 portion of Grains (e.g. 1 slice of bread, ½ cup of breakfast cereal), preferably whole grain.
- 1 portion of Fruit (e.g. 1/2 apple, 1 very small banana, 1 pear).
These types of foods are appealing and full of fibers, thus keeping us feeling pleasantly full for hours. Eating something (even a small portion if we’re not feeling hungry in the morning) from each of these categories will energize us and ﬁll us up until lunch. Therefore, don’t hesitate to wake up a little earlier than usual to try out your ideas for a tasty and healthy breakfast, using a combination of different food products.