What is the ideal breakfast for the morning?

Eating a good breakfast is essential to get through the morning well and, what's more, to eat a more balanced diet. What is the ideal breakfast? What to eat for a “slimming” breakfast? And what to do if you're not hungry enough in the morning to eat? Everything you ever wanted to know about breakfast.

Breakfast for a king, lunch for a prince and dinner for a poor man. According to this saying, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Logically, after a long night of fasting of eight to twelve hours, you need to recharge your batteries! During sleep, the metabolism is certainly slowed down, but the cardiac and respiratory work as well as the renewal of cells represent an energy expenditure which can reach 600 calories.

What to eat in the morning for a healthy breakfast?

To compensate, nutritionists believe that the first meal of the day must provide daily energy needs:

  • 20 to 25% of the day's calories to the body;
  • 420 to 525 kcal for a woman;
  • 520 to 650 kcal for a man.

Overall, at breakfast, the body needs to have a source:

  • vitamins : each having their  benefits, they provide the body with essential energy to live in good health;
  • proteins : these play an essential role in the body, they participate in the renewal of  muscle tissues, bones, skin, etc. ;
  •  good” carbohydrates  : they are what provide us with the necessary energy. Once ingested by the body, they are then transformed into glucose, fuel for certain cells in the body;
  • “good” fats , and in particular omega -3 , -6 and -9, which promote the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and play a role in the development of the brain, bones and muscles.

What to have for breakfast to make it complete?

Considering the necessary nutritional intake, the ideal breakfast composition includes:

  • a drink: fresh fruit juice (if possible not industrial fruit juice) or hot drink (water, herbal tea, tea, coffee). Green tea is rich in antioxidants. Be careful not to sweeten your drink: the hydrating effect will be reduced;
  • a cereal food  : bread, cereals, rusks , etc.;
  • a dairy product  : milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.;
  • a fruit: preferably fresh, whole or in pieces, rather than industrial fruit juice, often too sweet. If you consume industrial fruit juice or compote, choose those without added sugars.

To have a quality protein intake, depending on your appetite and satiety, it is possible to supplement breakfast with animal proteins (eggs, ham, etc.). Be careful, however, to reduce the dose of protein during other meals of the day.

Eggs in particular are a good idea, they are rich in vitamins and trace elements, and are not sweet. Poached, boiled, in an omelet, plain or mixed with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes… There is a wide variety of egg recipes that are easy to cook and practical for the morning.

Examples of a balanced breakfast

Discover 3 healthy breakfast menus offered by the French Cardiology Federation (source 1):

  • Tea + lightly buttered wholemeal bread + small piece of cheese + 1 apple;
  • Coffee + muesli without added sugar + lukewarm milk + 1 pear in pieces + a handful of almonds and walnuts;
  • A large glass of water + black bread + 1 boiled egg + 1 natural yogurt + 125g of strawberries.

Breakfast: vary the menus according to the context and desires

Why not vary the breakfast menu? In fact, monotony is one of the causes that makes children and adolescents skip breakfast. Their tastes often change, they have neither the same desires nor the same needs depending on the day... So, don't hesitate to multiply the menu ideas, depending on the context, the desire...

If the morning is long, you should choose a cereal product whose carbohydrates are very slow (slowly digested and distributed in the body): wholemeal bread , cereal bread, old-fashioned baguette, oatmeal, mueslis. When you can't digest milk, you can opt for yogurt or a slice of cheese.

As for fruits, it is better to eat them than to drink them as juice, which is devoid of fiber. For juice fans, pressing it at home or buying it in the fresh section guarantees that it provides at least vitamin C.

A smoothie in the morning, a good idea for eating fruit

An interesting idea to eat fruit more easily: mix them in a smoothie with other fruits or with vegetables (carrot-apricot, kiwi-cucumber, etc.). This will give you optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber, while limiting sugar intake. Be careful, consume in reasonable quantities (150 ml maximum)!

Slimming, low-calorie breakfast: what to eat in the morning?

We start by adopting good eating habits  : we avoid sugary industrial cereals, cakes, pastries, jam, spreads... Advice which, ultimately, also applies if you want to have a healthy breakfast! Indeed, these foods have a high glycemic index .

We then prefer  :

  • oatmeal  ;
  • unsweetened drinks and dairy products;
  • fresh cheese;
  • wholemeal or cereal bread;
  • a little butter or margarine (10 to 20 g maximum) on the bread;
  • lean meat  ;
  • fresh fruit…

You can make one or two slices of fresh cheese, a good alternative to foods that are too sweet or high in calories.

An elaborate sandwich idea

Prepare a slice of toasted wholemeal bread with pieces of avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice, chili powder, salt and olive oil. You can opt for a less spicy version by spreading yogurt on the bread, then strawberries and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

For a supply of good fats, you can eat walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Also think about pumpkin seeds or chia seeds ... Little tip: mix cottage cheese, pieces of fruit and chia seeds in a pot. A real treat, and a balanced one at that!

Children: give them breakfast rather than a snack!

A few years ago, studies showed that a substantial breakfast improves the intellectual and physical performance of children during the morning. Not surprising since the brain and muscles are large consumers of carbohydrates (sugars). Young children who do not eat breakfast  therefore have a risk of hypoglycemia , with the resulting fatigue and lack of concentration.

However, experts from the French Food Safety Agency (ANSES) recommend against the 10 a.m. snack at school , which is supposed to compensate for an insufficient breakfast. According to them, it cuts the appetite for lunch and the little ones make up for it at snack time , in a much less balanced way.

The parade ? Put your children to bed early enough so that they don't get up at the last minute and have time to eat a full breakfast...

What happens if you skip breakfast in the morning?

According to a study published in 2021 (source 2), adults who skip breakfast risk missing out on key nutrients. An analysis of data on more than 30,000 American adults showed that  skipping breakfast could lead to missing the calcium found in milk, vitamin C from fruit and fiber from whole grains. “What we find is that if you don't eat the foods that are commonly eaten at breakfast, you tend not to eat them the rest of the day . So these common breakfast nutrients become a nutritional gap  ,” summarized Christopher Taylor, professor of medical dietetics, lead author of the study.


Lack of calcium and vitamins

In this sample of 30,889 adults, 15.2% of participants reported skipping breakfast. The latter had absorbed fewer vitamins and minerals than the others. Differences were most pronounced for folate, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D.

Additionally, people who skipped breakfast were more likely to eat more added sugars, carbohydrates, and total fat throughout the day, in part due to higher levels of snacking . “People who ate breakfast ate more total calories than people who didn't eat breakfast, but lunch, dinner, and snacks were much more important for people who skipped breakfast and tended to be of lower quality,” notes the researcher.

Breakfast: and if you're not hungry or don't have time, what do you do?

Even if breakfast improves nutritional balance, getting the hang of it is not necessarily easy. Some people don't have time because they get up at the last minute, others simply are n't hungry in the morning .

  • If you're not hungry, there's no point forcing yourself to eat when you get out of bed . Just have a fruit juice and/or dairy product before leaving, and plan a more substantial snack to eat a little later, around 10 or 11 a.m.: breakfast biscuits, cereal bars, small homemade sandwich. . If you really can't swallow anything, don't force yourself and eat the snack you prepared later in the morning;
  • If you don't have breakfast due to lack of time , to save time in the morning, you can prepare the table the evening before and equip yourself with a programmable coffee maker;
  • If you are hungry mid-morning , instead have a real balanced snack with fruit, yogurt or a handful of oilseeds.

And when your appetite is lacking throughout the morning, it may be because dinner is too late or too hearty!