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Healthy savory breakfast what to eat


Savory breakfast. Introduction

The breakfast it is the meal that guarantees us the nutritional balance of the day. Italians' breakfast habits have been changing in recent years. First of all, what changes is the place where to have breakfast: a 2018 Nielsen research shows that the number of Italians who have breakfast “on the go” is growing: on the way from home to work or breakfast at the bar or once they arrive at the office. What changes is not only the place where breakfast is consumed, but also the type of foods you consume. Italians love sweet breakfasteven if there are 1-2% who prefer it savory breakfast. A healthy, balanced and complete breakfast must provide us with all the nutrients we need after the long overnight fast, in the right percentage and of high quality. An adequate breakfast must ensure an energy intake of between 15 and 25% of daily energy. It must also give a sense of satiety such as to avoid eating out and keep blood sugar under control. A savory breakfast can be defined very much if it meets these parameters.

Sweet breakfast or savory breakfast, pros and cons

If you think of the typical Italian breakfast, the first thing that comes to mind is cappuccino and croissant for bar lovers or, for those who opt for breakfast at home, milk and biscuits or milk and biscuits with jam.

Thus composed sweet breakfast can result unbalanced towards carbohydrates or fats:

Do we have to give up our habits or can we simply improve the type of foods?

To know more:
Cappuccino and brioche: too many fats and calories

Well balanced sweet breakfast. Benefits

A sweet breakfast if well balanced it has its positive sides:

  • rich in complex carbohydrates, a low lipid load (3) and a good intake of fiber (4) it is favorable for maintaining a normal body weight in the adult population
  • overall, a sweet breakfast provides less sodium than a savory one
  • consuming a low-fat, high-fiber breakfast for 3 months reduces levels of visceral adiposity and inflammation markers (5)
  • contributes over 20% to the overall calcium intake during the day (6).
  • Furthermore, a study highlighted how a breakfast characterized by high portions of whole grains leads to an improvement in cognitive performance in a population of American students (7)
  • the consumption of milk and cereals for breakfast, often fortified, tends to improve the intake of Ca, Mg and Fe and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B12 and folate while decreasing the daily intake of total fats (8)

Savory breakfast. pros and cons

If instead we think about the savory breakfast like the Anglo-Saxon one based on eggs, bacon and bacon:

  • breakfast becomes a concentrate of unhealthy fats
  • and high sodium concentrations with negative cardiovascular effects

If we examine instead, the effects on satiety, breakfasts rich in proteins (20 and 30 g, coming essentially from eggs and bread) compared to breakfasts with lower protein content (10 and 15 g from cereals and dairy products) determine

  • a greater feeling of satiety throughout the day.
  • lower calorie consumption at lunch
  • even in children, an egg-based breakfast significantly reduces calorie intake at lunch (but not throughout the day) compared to a breakfast based on cereals or oat flakes (9)
  • avoids sudden increases in blood sugar and insulin levels after breakfast, so a protein breakfast is recommended for people who have a high fasting blood sugar level

Healthy savory breakfast

But what criteria must the concept satisfy healthy savory breakfast?

  • foods with low glycemic index carbohydrates and rich in fibre for all age groups of the population even without a specific recommendation on the quantity. Therefore, the choice can fall on wholemeal bread or cereals without added sugars.
  • The choice of protein food sources is important: those foods that provide critical micronutrients for the Italian population (e.g. calcium and vitamin D) and do not provide too much cholesterol and too much sodium are preferred. Protein foods must be able to maximize health benefits and not be harmful: the variety in the choice of protein ensures that we avoid eating too much cheese or too many cured meats, remembering that the Iarc European code against cancer suggests to avoid preserved meat as one of the twelve daily anti-cancer actions.

To be complete, breakfast must contain fruit for fiber and vitamins and a drink : water, tea, or herbal tea to hydrate us.

Savory breakfast in the low-calorie diet

Savory breakfast can be an excellent strategy for those following a low-calorie diet for the purpose of weight maintenance, as long as it is well balanced. When we have a savory breakfast, in which we include eggs, cheese, ham, salmon, oil seeds it could be unbalanced. It is therefore necessary to evaluate two aspects: how many times in a week you introduce eggs and processed meats and what to eat in the rest of the day so as not to exceed in animal proteins, saturated fats and sodium, potentially harmful to your health and to maintaining a healthy weight. This is because if on the one hand the lack of a nutritional principle is harmful, its excess is equally harmful. If we respect these parameters, the savory breakfast will be overall healthy, nutritious and easily digestible.

Example of a savory breakfast in the diet

A complete and well-balanced breakfastit can be the following:

Athlete's savory breakfast

The nutrition of subjects who practice sporting activities must be planned on the basis of these elements:

  • body composition
  • specific energy needs resulting from the type of sport of long, short or intense duration
  • depending on frequency, training times
  • if it is an aerobic, alternating aerobic-anaerobic and anaerobic sport.

Athletes must pay attention to their diet starting from breakfast.

The savory breakfast in the “anaerobic” sportscharacterized by the production of lactic acid, can be composed of bread, cheese and pine nuts or almonds to have a notable energy supply, with slow release of sugars, mediated by unsaturated lipids and the muscle-relaxing action of almonds.

For athletes who practice sports resistance and/or power, Eggs can be used as the protein portion of breakfast (raw, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, scrambled, etc.). If the egg is not appreciated or must be excluded due to its allergenic properties, raw ham or bresaola or turkey breast can be used.

A fruit salad cannot be missing to replenish the loss of liquids and mineral salts and in case of morning training you can choose fruit or vegetable smoothies, with a banana.

Savory breakfast of a pregnant woman

The scientific community agrees in considering breakfast the most important meal of the day, because the nutritional balance over the 24 hours depends on it. This is even more true for a pregnant woman's breakfast, for which it is also the time to acquire important trace elements. A nutritionally adequate breakfast must take into account the increased energy needs due to an increase in basal metabolism and the increased synthesis of proteins necessary to build new tissues. It must satisfy the increased need for vitamins and mineral salts: folic acid, iron, iodine, calcium. Furthermore, it must provide an adequate balance between macronutrients and pay attention to the glycemic load, which is important for preventing the mother's obesity and the consequences associated with it (gestosis, gestational diabetes) and for the well-being of the future newborn.

Examples of a healthy savory breakfast during pregnancy. Breakfast 1

  • 1 cup of Yannohor better known as chicory coffee, which helps reduce stomach acidity, useful for aiding digestion, relieving constipation and rich in vitamins C, PP, K and mineral salts.
  • 1 glass of oat milk to start the day with the right hydration and stock up on proteins, folic acid, vitamin B9, calcium, iron and essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid
  • toasted wholemeal or rye or cereal bread as a source of carbohydrates
  • a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or with olive pâté to modulate the absorption of sugars and fats, for the transport of fat-soluble vitamins and for their antioxidant vitamin E content.

Savory breakfast during pregnancy, second example


Breakfast is no longer what it was a few years ago, because it is changing in the wake of new food trends, and the desire to experiment with new foods continues to grow. Italians are more careful about what they buy and bring to the table. Wholemeal and light products also appear in bars. Spending on free-from and fortified foods, on lactose-free or gluten-free foods, is growing, and, above all, the preference for organic products is increasing. You can opt for a sweet or savory breakfast, the important thing is that it is well balanced from a qualitative and quantitative point of view. Breakfast is thus able to provide the right energy and quantities of nutrients essential to tackle everyday activities and preserve tomorrow's health.


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(2) (Ono-Moore et al, 2016) Ono-Moore KD, Snodgrass RG, Huang S, et al, Postprandial

Inflammatory Responses and Free Fatty Acids in Plasma of Adults Who Consumed a Moderately High-Fat Breakfast with and without Blue-berry Powder in a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Nutr. 2016; 146: 1411-9.

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(4) Leidy HJ, Gwin JA, Roenfeldt CA, Zino AZ, Shafer RS. Evaluating the Intervention-Based Evidence Surrounding the Causal Role of Breakfast on Markers of Weight Management, with Specific Focus on Breakfast Composition and Size. Adv. Nutr. 2016; 7: 563S-75S. 24.

(5) Adamsson V, Reumark A, Marklund M, et al, Role of a prudent breakfast in improving cardiometa-bolic risk factors in subjects with hypercholesterolemia: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2015; 34:20-6.

(6) Sette S, Le Donne C, Piccinelli R, Mistura L, Ferrari M, Leclercq C and I.-S. s. group. The third Nation-al Food Consumption Survey, INRAN-SCAI 2005-06: major dietary sources of nutrients in Italy. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013; 64: 1014-1021.

(7) Ptomey LT, Steger FL, Schubert MM, Lee J, Willis EA, Sullivan DK, Szabo-Reed AN, Washburn RA, Donnelly JE. Breakfast Intake and Composition Is Associated with Superior Academic Achievement in Elementary Schoolchildren. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016; 35:326-33.

(8) Michels N, De Henauw S, Beghin L, Cuenca-García M, Gonzalez-Gross M, Hallstrom L, Kafatos A, Kersting M, Manios Y, Marcos A, Molnar D, Roccaldo R, Santaliestra-Pasías AM, Sjostrom M, Reye B, Thielecke F, Widhalm K, Claessens M. Ready-to-eat cereals improve nutrient, milk and fruit intake at breakfast in European adolescents. Eur J Nutr 2016; 55:771–779.

(9) Kral TV, Bannon AL, Chittams J, Moore RH. Comparison of the satiating properties of egg- versus ce-real grain-based breakfasts for appetite and energy intake control in children. Eat Behav. 2016; 20:14-20.

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