When traveling, there are many options when it comes to time to consider having breakfast. The one provided at your hotel is not necessarily the best choice. But sometimes it is, like the one I have this week in Stockholm during the International Conference on Obesity (ICO 2010).

Eating breakfast every day has been demonstrated to be a good strategy and determinant for weight control management 1. It helps to feel full because breakfast can easily be an equilibrate meal composed usually by nutritious foods like whole grain cereals, dairy products, eggs and fruits. Those who skip breakfast easily over compensate the rest of the day by eating much more, leading to weight gain and eventually to obesity.

When we travel, there are many options for eating breakfast. You can buy foods at the grocery stores, eat in a coffe shop in town or you can take the breakfast served at the hotel, which is included or not with your room price. It is usually a simple continental breakfast (muffin, american style coffee, and sweetened juice), but sometimes it could be a buffet style.

During my trip to Amsterdam last week,  (readers will remember I then blogued about Healthy Fast Food), I chose to buy at the grocery stores healthy foods that I put in the mini fridge available at my hotel. The reason was simple; the extra charge by the hotel for breakfast was outrages.  This week, I had the opportunity to have access to a buffet breakfast included in my room’s price.

I was quite impress with the variety of foods available at the breakfast buffet at the Rica Talk Hotel restaurant. Wow! I was particularly pleased with the cereals stand. There was 7 different kinds of cereals including muesli, granola, and other whole grain cereals. There was also many bols containing seeds like sunflower seeds, flax seeds (good source of omega-3 fatty acids, click here for more info), almonds and nuts; including also dry fruits like apricots, bananas, pineapple and prunes. (see image at the top)

What about yogourt? No less than 5 different flavours including vanilla and 1 unflavored-unsweetened nature kind offered.

It was a very good opportunity to try mixing different kinds of cereals with seeds, nuts and yogourt for a very nutritious meal.

This is without talking to you about the fruit salad, mushrooms (delicious), cooked tomatoes with onions, the salad bar;  and also different kinds of whole grains bread, and fortunately all the kind of coffee you wish (expresso, makiato, latte).

As a protein source, there was many kind of cheese, eggs (scrambled or boiled) and even fish (Swedish speciality). It would be however preferable to go easy with the sausages, the bacon and other processed meats…

In these circumstances, I recommend that :
-You  give up the orange juice and rather choose the fresh fruit salad.
-You should try other kind of cereals than the Corn Flakes, also offer!
-If you have heard about flax seeds, it is the occasion to try it with your cereals.
-And who said that white bread taste good?? I do not believe you! Or it is because you have not eaten quality 100% whole wheat bread and other grains like the ones offer for breakfast at this buffet.

The danger with such a nice breakfast buffet, it is to be tempted to taste everything, which could lead you to overeating. It is ok if you intend to have a light lunch the next meal. Otherwise it could be part of a challenging food environment.

Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliffe JD, Cho S.

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):869-78.