Do you eat breakfast? If so research shows that you are far more likely to be healthy. And if you don’t, well, it’s time to start!
Research shows over 60s who regularly eat breakfast have better diets and are more likely to rate their health as excellent or good compared to breakfast-skippers.
The challenge as we get older is making sure each mouthful counts. Generally, we need fewer kilojoules and yet higher amounts of key nutrients to stay healthy, so, our food choices must be packed with nutrients.
But which nutrients are a must at breakfast and how can we make sure our brekkie choices deliver? Do we need to be drinking green smoothies daily or will traditional brekkie favourites still give us what we need?
Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, and Director of the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum, Ms Leigh Reeve says there are four-must have nutrients for over 60s to start their day with. And no, you don’t have to give up your favourite breakfast choices, you just need to make sure they are ticking all four boxes.
If you’re starting the day with cereal or toast the key really is to choose whole grain or high fibre options. As well as maintaining a healthy bowel, fibre-rich grains have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
When it comes to increasing your fibre there are other options than prunes. Try high fibre or whole grain breakfast cereals topped with chia seeds, psyllium husks, dried fruits or nuts. And if you love toast, it’s as simple as making a switch from white bread to a whole grain variety, and generally the more visible grains or seeds the better.
2. Milk it for better bones
Calcium is believed to helps us stay strong and maintain the health of our bones, yet most Australians are just not getting enough. Among older females, nine out of ten have inadequate calcium intakes and for men it’s six out of ten.
Add milk, yoghurt or a calcium enriched milk alternative to your cereal or coffee, or add a side of yoghurt to your toast brekkie.
Protein is not just important for body builders or fitness fanatics. It is critical to support the body’s normal tissue maintenance. According to the Australian Health Survey, older adults aged 71+ years are far less likely to meet their protein requirements.
A higher protein brekkie can easily be achieved without expensive protein shakes and powders. Simply enjoy eggs on whole grain toast, muesli with Greek yoghurt or higher protein breakfast cereal options and dairy. A sprinkle of nuts is an easy way to add protein too.
Vitamin B2 (or riboflavin) is important for converting nutrients into forms that can be easily used by our bodies. As we get older, our bodies are less able to absorb nutrients from our food and therefore, we need more B2 to help.
Starting the day with a brekkie containing vitamin B2 is simple. The reality is milk and breakfast cereal, most of which are fortified with the vitamin, are the two key sources of B2 in Australian diets. You can also try yeast extract spreads on your toast, add some grilled mushrooms to your eggs, or enjoy a handful of almonds.
What’s your favourite breakfast, how does it stack up? Will you make any changes?