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The Full English Breakfast- Health Hazard or Nutritious Meal In One?
Introduction to the Full English
The full English breakfast is one of the iconic classic meals but is it a healthy all on one plate kind of meal or a bit of a health hazard?
There are four basic foods - meat, egg, bread, vegetables. You'll see these on your plate in the shape of sausage, bacon, black pudding (blood sausage), fried or scrambled egg, toast or fried bread, fried mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. Looking at these foods from a nutritionist's perspective, are they a thumbs up or thumbs down?
Sausage,bacon and other meats Protein,calories,vitamins Total Fats,cholesterol
Eggs Vitamins,minerals,protein Cholesterol, Fats
Bread Carbohydrates,minerals Sugars
Baked Beans Fibre, Minerals,Vitamins
On the surface the full English is a mix of the good with the not so good but to help you decide, we're going to look a little deeper into this breakfast. I hope your appetite is good.
For those on special diets I have included a link to various websites including one that specialises in breakfasts for people with diabetes.
Nutritional Analysis Of Full English Breakfast
Flexible Healthy Options For the Full English Breakfast
If you're not too keen on loads of meat for breakfast why not vary it with vegetarian options? Instead of pork or beef sausages you could opt for vegetarian sausages made from oats and cheese.
Or go for vegeburgers as an alternative to bacon.
From the nutrition point of view you'd lose a lot of fat if you left out the meat but your iron intake would go down too. Eggs are excellent sources of iron and you could cut down on the fat by choosing poached eggs not fried.
You could end up with a completely vegetarian full English and not miss out greatly on taste! OK carnivores I confess, there's nothing as tasty as a rasher of smoky bacon!
Bubble and Squeak - Recycled Food
You may come across bubble and squeak as part of the full English. This is an old English way of dealing with leftover potatoes and greens. Bubble and squeak comes from the sounds the two make as they're cooking.You fry them up and mix together and hey presto fod that might have been wasted is now a delicious breakfast food!
By the way, Bubble&Squeak is a Cockney term. Learn more about Cockney Rhyming Slang.
You could argue that the full English has withstood a barrage of abuse and criticism from dieticians and health experts over the last ten to fifteen years to emerge out of the steamy kitchen rosy cheeked and full of good humour.
Although not to everyone's taste the sight and smell of fresh eggs and bacon is still popular with native and tourist alike because it achieves what it sets out to do in plain, simple, honest fashion. It can't be anything other than itself. But is it more than the sum of its parts? Some think so.
A full English breakfast is something you can recognise no matter where you go in the world. It's a symbol of ....well, Englishness for one, just as ratatouille encapsulates Frenchness, and hot dogs and burgers the USA.
For a Healthier Breakfast Have The Meat Grilled
In addition to the basic four foods of the English breakfast you may also come across hash browns or fried potatoe squares. Strictly speaking these are imports from the USA but are now accepted as par for the course. It's possible therefore in theory to end up with 10 or 11 elements to your breakfast - quite a plateful!
Critics might rightfully point out that a lot of the meat, eggs and vegetables are fried in oil which means that the food will be fatty and 'oily' and that some of their goodness will be lost. They might argue that fatty fried foods cause things like coronary heart disease and cancer - but the scientific evidence does not suggest that this is true.
A recent exhaustive study in Spain for instance, carried out over 11 years with 40,000 volunteers, showed that there were no connections between fried food consumed and coronary heart disease. Similar trials held in the United States also show no links between fried foods and colonic cancer.
What does seem to be true is that the healthiest fried food is cooked in fresh oil (be it olive, sunflower or vegetable) not oil that has been reheated and used again and again. This is of course a risk if you choose to eat at any fast food chain. The answer to this would be to ask for your meats to be grilled alongside the vegetables and your eggs to be poached, thus cutting out any potential hazards.
All Day And Everyday?
The English breakfast is a survivor because it has evolved and adapted. You can see that the meat content of the meal is balanced by the bread, vegetables and tomatoes; that the eggs are happy no matter which camp they join and that the bread is there also to help mop up the juices at the end.
So what started out as an early morning farmer's meal hundreds of years ago has moved on and up through time, across the high street and even into fashionable city establishments.
The message is clear. This breakfast is still one of the most wholesome meals you can get but you have to be sensible with it. You can't eat it everyday, no way. You should limit yourself to once a week, or once a fortnight. And I would recommend you eat at around 9-10am, that way you can skip lunch because you won't feel like eating! An afternoon snack should see you through to evening dinner or tea. If you can, organise a walk or some form of exercise for the hours following - you will have calories to burn!
If you're going to be a traditionalist then the drink to accompany your bacon 'n eggs has to be tea. With milk and optional sugar. Juice is fine too. Perhaps the best thing about the full English is that you know you won't be rushed at breakfast time, and, as the quote goes - 'All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.'
Diabetes Breakfast Recipes
Morning time is really important for diabetics as blood glucose levels are high so choosing the right kind of breakfast can be crucial.
Here is a link to a helpful website :
Some More Food Hubs Here
- Simple to Make Rosemary Herb Focaccia Bread
An easy to produce delicious and aromatic flat bread, perfect for soups, sauce dips and salads.
How To Cook Your Full English!
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© 2012 Andrew Spacey