Working mum? Here's how to start your day well...

  • By
    Kerry Torrens - Nutritional therapist

Getting the children off to school and preparing for your own day means mornings can be hectic. Nutritional therapist, Kerry Torrens advises how to keep your energy up all day long...

Working mum? Here's how to start your day well...

Don't be tempted...

Sugary breakfast cereals are quick and easy when you're short of time, but a processed cereal will send your blood sugar racing, leaving you ravenous by mid-morning. Swap sugar for fuel food and boost your body and brain by opting for unsalted nuts and seeds, with some sliced fruit such as a pear, plum or apple. This will recharge your batteries because you absorb natural sugars in fruit (fructose) more slowly than refined sugar and if you combine the fruit with some protein, such as natural yogurt, you'll feel fuller for longer. Nuts and seeds supply valuable B vitamins and minerals, which help you convert the energy in your food into fuel for the body.


Skip skipping...

Full English frittata Studies suggest those who skip breakfast have poor concentration, less energy and are more likely to be stressed - and that's before the day even gets started! If you're a regular skipper then the bad news is you're also more likely to be overweight. Starting your day with disrupted blood sugar, because you've ignored your body's need for fuel, makes you prone to choose less healthy options throughout the rest of the day. If time is short in the morning, plan ahead - pour out a bowl of muesli the night before and simply top with sliced fruit and a splash of milk. Alternatively, top a slice of whole-grain bread with some low-fat cream cheese and flakes of poached salmon from the fridge, or save up leftovers - if the family tucked into frittata for supper, keep a slice to enjoy cold in the morning.


Eat little and often...

Fuel up frequently to keep your energy and blood sugar levels stable. Long gaps between meals and snacks mean you're running on empty, susceptible to energy slumps and more likely to be tempted by sweet snacks and chocolate, as well as nibbling as you prepare the kids' tea. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours and include protein and fibre, such as scrambled eggs with greens like spinach or asparagus for lunch, oatcakes and houmous as a mid-afternoon snack, and a chicken and veg stir-fry for dinner.


Fight the fatigue...

Chard, sweet potato stewIf you've got less energy now than you used to, check your diet. Many of us don't get enough iron - we need this important mineral to carry oxygen in the blood which keeps us energised. Be sure to include plenty of iron-rich foods like red meat, fish and poultry as well as nuts, seeds and pulses and even dried fruit like apricots and prunes. Combining these foods with those rich in vitamin C such as sweet potato, peppers, tomatoes and citrus fruits will help you absorb iron more effectively. If you're a vegetarian, and especially if you follow a vegan diet, it may be worth checking your B12 levels - this vitamin is found in animal foods like meat, fish and dairy and a deficiency can make you tired and lacking in energy. Each day aim to include 2-3 servings of foods fortified with vitamin B12 these include plant milks such as soya as well as fortified breakfast cereals.

If you are a working dad and want to make your diet work hard for you, discover out top nutritional tips in our guide Working dad? Here's how to start your day well.

Are you a working mum? Tell us your tips for staying energised when the going gets tough...

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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