Best brekkie for Baby Boomers

Breakfast is still one of the most important meals of the day so it's important to eat the right combination of foods with which to start the day and stay more healthy.


Research shows people aged 65+ years 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 what 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 has provided her list of the top four must have nutrients for Boomers to start the day and delicious brekkie options that provide nutritional bang for their buck - in many cases much loved brekkie staples that are great value for your health and your wallet.


1. Fibre Fix For Much More Than Gut Goodness: Whether starting the day with cereal or toast the key really is to choose whole grain or high fibre options. They are an important source of fibre, which is a nutritional hero. 


As well as maintaining a healthy bowel, regularly eating high-fibre breakfast cereals have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 24% and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 29%.


In fact a diet high in cereal fibre may be the secret to longevity and has been linked to a reduced risk of premature death from cancer (15%); heart disease (20%); respiratory disease (21%); diabetes (34%).


When it comes to increasing your fibre it doesn’t need to be prunes. Tasty brekkie options include high fibre or whole grain breakfast cereals, or you can top up your favourite cereal with a high fibre cereal or bran cereal. Chia seeds, psyllium husks, dried fruits or nuts are also great cereal toppers for an extra fibre boost. 


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 vital for staying strong and for maintaining the health of our bones. Yet most Australians are just not getting enough.


Among older females nine out of ten (91%) have inadequate calcium intakes and for men it’s six out of ten (63%).


To bump up your calcium intake, the key is to enjoy more dairy products, or calcium-enriched milk alternatives. At brekkie, cereal and milk go hand-in-hand. People who regularly eat breakfast cereal are more likely to have better vitamin and mineral intakes, especially for calcium.


You could also add yoghurt to your cereal, or if you prefer toast in the morning, enjoy it with a milky coffee like a latte or a bowl of yoghurt on the side.


3. Pump Up The Protein:Protein is not just important for body builders or fitness fanatics. It is critical to support the body’s normal tissue maintenance. Looking at the results from the Australian Health Survey, older adults aged 71+ years are the group that stand out as 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.


4. B2 A Must At Brekkie: 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 us.


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 at brekkie.


January 2016.