Healthy breakfast options - no biscuits allowed!


I keep hearing these adverts for biscuits that are “made for brekkie”. Well, as a qualified nutritional therapist I thought to myself ‘this sounds too good to be true’. So, I thought that I’d look into it.

For this particular  breakfast option the recommended serving is 4 biscuits – 50 grams.

Lets take a look at the ingredients:
Cereals 69.6 % [Wholegrain Cereals 42.5 % (Rye Flakes 17.5 %, Oat Flakes 15.3 %, Wholegrain Crushed Buckwheat 6.7 %, Wholegrain Spelt Flour 1 %, Wholegrain Barley Flour 1 %, Wholegrain Wheat Flour 1 %), Wheat Flour 27.1 %], Sugar, Rapeseed Oil, Cane Sugar, Raising Agents (Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, Disodium Diphosphate), Salt, Minerals (Magnesium Carbonate, Elemental Iron), Barley Malt Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Skimmed Milk Powder, Vitamins [Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)]

Remember ingredients are listed with highest percentage first, in descending order.

Ingredient 1 - 69.6% cereals comprising wholegrain rye, oat, buckwheat, spelt, barley, wheat, but also:

Ingredient 2 - white flour at 27.1% of total in the biscuit. That’s plain white flour, the same that’s in white bread. This foodstuff is so nutritionally inept that by law they have to add nutrients to it – hence the Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin E and B1.

Ingredient 3 - Next on the list is sugar. Plain sugar. If you think you should be eating plain white sugar for breakfast then good luck to you.

Ingredient 4 - Then rapeseed oil. Great, pure fat. But, remember this is ultimately a biscuit / cookie, whatever you want to call it. So, should we be surprised at the poor quality ingredients?

Ingredient 5 - Next, more sugar! Cane sugar this time. Oh dear.

Then various raising agents used in mass production of baked goods.

Then salt. Oh dear, oh dear.

Barley Malt Syrup? More sugar essentially. On it’s own, a better option than sugar, but here it’s not a sugar substitute. It’s in there with plain white sugar and thus adding to the sugar count.

Invert sugar syrup – more sugar!

 

The sales pitch for this biscuit is that it provides “sustained energy release”. In essence this referring to the fibre in the product (fibre from the wholegrains), which no doubt is more than in most biscuits. But, lets compare the fibre in these biscuits to other foods.

  

 

Weight in grams

Calories

Fibre in grams

Belvita Golden Oat

50

215

4.25

A large apple

223

116

5.4

A medium banana

118

105

3.1

2 peaches

196

76

3

Porridge oats made with water

50

182

4.3

Peanut butter (good quality)

50

310

4.2

Wholegrain bread (good quality)

100

247

7

 

As you can see, fruits have a far better fibre to calorie ratio. As do porridge oats. Which brings me on to another part of the sales pitch for this product. The makers of this product are keen to state the importance of having breakfast (and to this I agree). This product is aimed at those who don’t have time to make breakfast. Well, in my opinion fruits are the ultimate fast food. Keep your fruit bowl stocked and you will always have a portable fast food option to grab on your way out the door. Fruit is vastly nutritionally superior to these biscuits, containing anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients aplenty.

Oddly, the makers of this product suggest it as an accompaniment to fruit or yoghurt, perhaps in recognition of the fact that these biscuits are not designed as a replacement for a proper breakfast. In my opinion, these biscuits are best left on the shelf and instead you should aim for a nutritious breakfast made from whole foods.

So this weeks tweak: start the day the right way with a nutritious whole food breakfast that is definitely NOT a biscuit!

 With this in mind I’ve listed a selection of healthy and "on the run" breakfast options below:

    • A handful of nuts (walnut, almonds, cashews)
    • A handful of raisins
    • An apple
    • A banana
    • A good quality peanut butter (Irish brand Life Force / Meridian / Biona) on banana or apple or rice cake or quality brown bread. Or straight off the spoon!

 

If you have a few more minutes - how about trying one of these healthy breakfast options

Quick berry smoothie

2 bananas
1 cup frozen berries of any description
Splash apple juice or water
Handful of spinach
Add flax / chia seeds / cacao powder for a nutritional boost

Blitz

Simple berry healthy breakfast smoothie

Bircher muesli:

Soak oats overnight in apple juice or almond or other nut milk.

Top with grated apple, cinnamon, honey and then anything else you fancy – blueberries, pears, strawberries, nut and seeds in any combination - delish!

 

Chia / oats / coconut pudding:

 

Soak chia seeds in coconut or any other milk. Layer with oats and fruit and top with honey. Can be left in the fridge overnight or made in 5 minutes in the morning and take it with you to work!

Chia, oats and coconut healthy breakfast pudding

 

Best - 
David

 

Every week we bring you a teeny tiny health tweak that is easy to implement and over time brings great health benefits. Not every tweak will be for you, but if you even implement half of them, you will gain a much healthier lifestyle. Get a weekly tweak to your inbox - sign up 

 

Check out our recipe boxes - 

Healthy simple recipes for families in Ireland delivered for free Healthy & simple recipes for couples delivered in a fresh food box in Ireland

Leave a comment