I love breakfast! Not only for breakfast foods but because it’s an opportunity to start your day off on the right foot.

It really does matter what we eat for breakfast though. Eat the wrong thing and you could be setting yourself up for a day feeling anxious, tired, unable to concentrate and craving quick fixes to boost your energy levels – hello biscuit tin!

Ironically, some of the most stereotypical breakfast foods are some of the worst culprits – but I have some ideas on how to easily adapt them to help you feel energised and focused throughout the morning until your next chance to nourish yourself!

Remember – the key to sustained energy is a balanced plate or bowl:
Protein (slowly digested, releases energy slowly)
Fat (even more slowly digested, releases energy slowly, very satiating)
Complex carbohydrates (slowly digested, releases energy slowly, nutritious – as opposed to refined carbohydrate which has largely been stripped of nutrition and releases energy very quickly, causing it to fall very quickly too) Generally speaking, this means wholegrains, brown carbohydrates, minimally processed rather than white carbohydrates and processed foods.
• Fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients from vegetables and fruit

Here are some typical breakfast foods and some more nutritious alternatives (N.B. I’m not saying you need to always choose a nutritious alternative, just giving you some options!)


• Often high in sugar.
• Often predominantly refined carbohydrate.
• Recommended portion sizes are a lot smaller than what most of us would pour into our bowls!
• No protein or fat and limited micronutrients.

INSTEAD: low sugar granola, with berries and unsweetened live natural yoghurt

• Granola is complex carbohydrate, fat and protein (if it contains nuts and seeds)
• Berries provide extra fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients
• Yoghurt provides protein and friendly gut bugs

STORE-BOUGHT OR PACKAGED SMOOTHIES (this includes from ‘healthy’ food delivery services)

• Often almost entirely fruit which makes them very high in sugar (please note, fruit is fantastic – but not several portions glugged down in one go)
• Even ‘green’ smoothies which list mostly vegetables with only one fruit (e.g. apple) tend to be mostly made up of that one fruit.

INSTEAD: home-made smoothies following these principles (I have some recipes if you want some examples):

• One portion of fruit
• One or more portions of vegetables
• Protein (e.g. yoghurt, protein powder, nuts and seeds)
• Fat (e.g. nuts and seeds, avocado, full fat yoghurt)
• Complex carbohydrates (e.g. oats)


• White bread is a refined carbohydrate (little fibre, little nutrition)
• Jam and honey are also refined carbohydrates
• No protein
• No/limited fibre, micronutrients

INSTEAD: wholemeal, rye, millet or sourdough bread with nut butter and fruit (e.g. rye bread with almond butter, topped with banana)

• Wholemeal, rye, millet or sourdough breads are complex carbohydrates, high in fibre and nutrients
• Nut butter is a source of protein and fat
• Fruit is a source of fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients

OR: wholemeal, rye, millet or sourdough bread with eggs, spinach and smoked salmon

• Wholemeal, rye, millet or sourdough breads are complex carbohydrates, high in fibre and nutrients
• Eggs are a source of protein and fat (and are nutrient powerhouses!)
• Spinach provides fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients
• Salmon provides protein and fat (wonderful source of omega 3 fatty acids!)


• High in saturated fats
• High in sugar
• Low in nutrients

INSTEAD: banana pancakes with greek yoghurt and blueberries

• Banana and blueberries provide fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients
• Green yoghurt provides protein and fat
• Eggs provide protein and fat
• Oats provide complex carbohydrate (assuming you use oats in the pancakes – if not, quinoa, coconut or buckwheat flour are nutritious alternatives!)

Of course, there are mornings that cry out for a pain au chocolat or a slice of toast slathered in butter and dolloped in marmite and there is nothing wrong with that once in a while – I really believe that sometimes you just need to eat something good for the soul! BUT, on a busy day where you need to be on your ‘A-game’ you might want to try out some of my alternatives.

If you’re interested in reading more about how to maintain energy levels throughout the day I have a post all about blood glucose levels here.

I’m always happy to chat to anyone about nutrition so as always, please do feel free to get in touch with me about any questions you might have: laura@lmnutrition.co.uk