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Importance of making good food choices highlighted as study reveals bigger breakfasts and ‘Elevenses’ could mean you are eating almost all your calories before lunch

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A new study has revealed many of us are eating almost all of our daily allowance of calories before lunch. Brian Stormont spoke with a nutritionist who stresses the importance of making good food choices.

Addressing the nation’s eating habits, the study revealed the average Briton is currently devouring a staggering 1,406 calories over the course of a typical morning.

In fact, according to the survey, the tradition of “elevenses” has made a comeback in recent times, with as many as 72% of those surveyed claiming they now tuck into a snack at around 11am every day.

Elevenses is a colloquial expression that entered the English language in the late 18th Century, meaning a short break taken around 11am with a snack or light refreshment of tea or coffee.

And when it comes to what modern Brits are enjoying for their elevenses, 38% said biscuits with a cup of tea is their preferred choice, while 36% cannot resist diving into packets of crisps.

People need to be more mindful of what they area eating to achieve a balanced diet.

Some 35% usually opt for chocolate, while 15% rustle up something more substantial, such as a cheese toastie as their pre-lunch snack.

And as many as 60% are also enjoying larger breakfasts than usual, with bacon sandwiches, full fry-ups, pancakes and pastries among the list of morning meals regularly being enjoyed, according to the findings.


Fife-based nutritionist Louise Blanchfield said that while there is plenty of advice on the importance of the first meal of the day to set you up for the hours ahead, people must be mindful of what they are eating.

“There is a lot to be said for breakfast being the most important meal of the day as it sets you up to balance your blood sugar, improve energy and mental clarity for the day ahead if wise choices are made,” she said.

“The opposite can be said for poorer choices or, indeed, too much. Overeating exerts more demand on your digestive tract and detracts from your energy available to perform other functions, like concentrating and moving.

Fife-based nutritionist Louise Blanchfield.

“There is a general lack of awareness of the calorie content of our food, hence partly why we have such an obesity problem in this country.

“However, the blame is not just down to the individual, the manufacturers of processed food and owners of food establishments must be much more clear on the calorie content of food so that people can make an informed decision on whether to eat something.

“Government should also be playing more of a role in legislation to make this happen.”

Calories underestimated

The survey by protein oat bar, Grenade Reload, found 62% admit they have no idea how many calories they should be consuming daily, which health experts claim should be 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

As part of the study which surveyed 2,000 people, respondents were also asked to estimate the number of calories in typical foods, with most underestimating drastically.

A full English breakfast, complete with two rashers of bacon, two fried eggs and two sausages plus a slice of buttered toast and beans was estimated to come in at just 513 calories, when in fact it contains approximately 950 calories.

A full English breakfast contains almost twice as many calories as people think it does.

On average, a bacon and egg sandwich was estimated to be 411 calories, when experts calculate that it contains around 700 calories.

A total of 34% of respondents said they always start with the best intentions to be healthy yet find themselves struggling to stay motivated, while 18% admit they have been worried about the number of calories they have been having for breakfast since working from home.

Unhealthy habits

A spokesperson for Grenade Reload said: “With more time on our hands, it is easy to see why many of us are indulging in high-calorie breakfasts, especially during cold winter months.

“Our research also reveals we’re more likely to be reaching for the elevenses and clocking up extra calories than ever before, even before we get to lunchtime.”

It will come as no surprise that a quarter of Brits admit they have piled on the pounds in the last year since working from home (26%).

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