Following a report by the UK's National Obesity Observatory, a debate has sparked around whether or not breakfast is a waste of time. What do you think?
To achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle, with regular, restful sleep, diet and nutrition is essential to establish and maintain a positive wellbeing.
To help us sleep well we need a good balance of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system. Foods such as chicken, cheese, tofu, tuna, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk will help to boost these hormone levels.
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, recommends eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. This sends awakening message to the brain that there is adequate food in our environment and creates the ideal internal chemistry.
People who eat breakfast have higher energy levels in the morning, better blood sugar control throughout the day, better weight control, lower anxiety and stress levels (because they produce less adrenaline and noradrenaline), and better sleep (because they produce more melatonin).
Avoiding a heavy meal before bed time and snacking during the day on things such as yoghurt, fruit, nuts, seeds and lean meats will help to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina, even has her own recipe for the perfect balanced breakfast - 'Nerina's Nutty Granola'…
Nerina said "This Granola is amazing. Match a batch and store in an airtight glass container and use it as a breakfast cereal or crunchy topping on yoghurt or porridge. I sometime have a small bowl with full fat Greek yoghurt and blueberries before I go climbing for that extra energy boost."
Nerina's Nutty Granola recipe:
50g dried dates
100g jumbo rolled oats
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup (optional - I find it sweet enough without)
85g mixed nuts (cashews, pecans etc - any of your favourite nuts will do
15g pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp olive oil (I use coconut oil which gives a delicious flavour)
Preheat oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3.
Simmer the dates in 1cm water until soft and then blend until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spread the mixture on a baking tray and bake for 15minutes until golden, then reduce the oven temperature to 110C/250F/gas mark ¼ and bake for a further 30-60 minutes or until the mixture is dry and crisp (this bit is not an exact science).
Leave to cool completely then store in an airtight container.
You can really experiment with this recipe and add chia seeds for extra protein, goji berries, chopped dried fruit, coconut flakes (my favourite -especially when they go slightly brown and crisp).
If it's too nutty for you simply add more oats to the recipe. Additional flavour can be created with cinnamon, nutmeg or even cardamom.