You are what you eat – especially when it comes to breakfast

You are what you eat – especially when it comes to breakfast

Do you have your breakfast as you run out the front door, or perhaps you prefer to indulge in the spread put on at work? Maybe you miss it out altogether? A new survey has revealed the good, the bad and the ugly of breakfast dining habits.

Women are more likely to eat breakfast every morning than men. And those based in NSW, who prefer fruit and nut cereal, will be half asleep by lunchtime; meanwhile their Victorian neighbours, who top their cereal with gourmet fruits and yoghurt, will be steaming through ‘till lunchtime.

The results come from a study released by the Australian Breakfast Cereals Manufacturers Forum. It revealed that we buy nearly 185 million kilos of breakfast cereal a year at more than 8kg a head - yet the most surprising finding was that adults will eat almost 16 fewer breakfasts a year at home by 2016. So where is it being consumed? At our desks, of course – but it may come at a cost.

Nutritionist Susie Burrell told News Ltd the biggest problem with eating breakfast at work is that it's far too late in the day.

"If you get to work around nine or later, that means you're pushing back your calorie intake towards the later part of the day. That makes lunch at 2pm, dinner at 8pm and waking up and starting the whole cycle all over again. It's bad for your metabolism," she said.

In terms of the choice of food consumed, Burrell said this was typically dictated by the kind of work undertaken.

Desk workers and people in more sedentary jobs need more protein than carbohydrates. One third to one half a cup of oats and bran with a couple of teaspoons of yogurt and berries are the best choices.

For teachers, builders, shop assistants or others on their feet all day can get away with a toasted sandwich, denser muesli or a cup of protein-boosted cereal.

The final consideration is how much attention we are paying to the process of actually eating our breakfast of choice.

Rather than spooning in mouthfuls between reading emails and checking the diary for the day, the experts advise taking time out to actually chew the food purposely.

"This allows your body to process the idea of eating food. Your mind acknowledges that you are eating and this has the effect of leaving you much fuller for a longer period of time," said Burrell.

As for the muesli bar on the go, or skipping the meal altogether, dietitian and Forum director Leigh Reeve told News Ltd that convenience products were cheaper and better than missing out on that first mealtime altogether.

"It's quite convenient to have breakfast cereal and milk at work and I'm sure a lot of people do. About 20% of full-time workers eat breakfast at work."