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Diet Analysis – is a Full English Breakfast a good option?
The answer to this one surprises a lot of people! If you’re short on time, just skip to the summary at the bottom of the page, for those that enjoy understanding the outcome – read on.
Why should we consider the Full English Breakfast as an option when dieting? Well, I’ve broken this down into a summary of the positives and negatives that it offers below.
Positives of a Full English Breakfast:
- Readily available, most cafes, food halls and fast food establishments can provide.
- Can contain a large amount of protein.
- Can contain a good portion of healthy fats.
- Can aid with Omega-3 intake.
- Provides a long level of satiety.
- Feels like a treat.
- Can be turned from a non-compliant meal into a viable option.
- Is visually and psychologically satisfying.
Negatives of a Full English Breakfast:
- Easy to un-do the positives through poor selections.
- If made away from the home, comes with the usual challenges of eating out i.e. difficult to control: quality / choice of ingredients, volume of sodium and oils used in cooking.
- Unlikely to include low sugar options for baked beans or ketchup.
- Processed meat shouldn’t make up the majority of your meat intake.
- Many establishments will over-do the portion sizes to make it seem like good value for money.
How to turn a full English Breakfast from a poor to a good option?
With a few adjustments the Full English Breakfast can easily be made into a compliant meal. You can enjoy it once a week without the guilt and taking your diet plans off track.
So how do we achieve this?
First, let’s look at the typical ‘components’ of the breakfast:
- Baked beans
- Hash browns
- Black pudding!
- Brown sauce.
I think that covers the typical offerings.
English Breakfast – a poor selection
Let’s look at a poor breakfast selection. This setup would be one to avoid but I am sure is regularly available on the high street and in cafes etc.
2 x Pork sausages, 2 x Bacon, 2 x Fried eggs, Toast rack, 2 x Hash browns, Black pudding and a couple of tablespoons of ketchup.
Nutrition breakdown: Calories: 1400, Protein: 62g, Fat: 76g, Carbs: 84g
- We can see the calorie count is very high for a single meal.
- We would be taking in a lot of saturated fat from the meat and probably a lot of vegetable oil from the frying of: the meat, eggs and especially soaked into the hash browns!
- A lot of simple carbs from the slices(s) of toast, ketchup, hash browns and black pudding
These go towards making this a poor option.
How to choose the best Full English Breakfast options
What’s a reasonably healthy Full English Breakfast setup for an average person?
Something along these lines would be fine:
1 x low fat sausage, 2 x rashers of lean bacon, 2 x poached eggs, mushrooms, tomato and ¼ can of baked beans. ½ tablespoon of ketchup. Probably doesn’t sound too much of a compromise? Well let’s take a look ‘under the hood’ and see how this breaks down:
|Low Fat Pork Sausage||80g||86||2.3||7.6||14.9|
|Poached eggs||2 large||140||10||2||12|
Total of around 420 calories! Let’s add in a little over-rider for the cooking oil and round it up to 450 calories for what would be a great filling breakfast! All of a sudden – why wouldn’t you?!
Roughly breaking down the macro nutrients we can see this is a low carb, high protein, moderate fat meal. Ideal for someone that is looking to drop some body fat! Who knew?!
If you wanted to adjust the above to turn it into a meal to maintain your weight you could add a slice of toast / bump up the serving size of the beans etc.
If you wanted to adjust the dials further and make it more of a fat burner – you would drop out the beans as they are a big contributor to the overall calorie total here.
Summary of whether a Full English Breakfast can be enjoyed on a diet
Whilst this has been a simple example, hopefully it has shown how even meals which have been ‘tainted’ as un-healthy, can be made into viable options.
Admittedly, eating this in a café would mean you are subject to the establishments choice of ingredients and oils but you could easily allow yourself an over-rider to accommodate for this and adjust your daily intake accordingly.
Also bear in mind that ideally, you should limit the amount of processed meats you eat. However, if you are having this as a once a week (say weekend) treat, you can see that it’s not something that needs to be excluded if the rest of your diet is ‘on point’.
Personally, I try to get one Full English Breakfast in a week. Enjoy!