Are you in a breakfast rut? Same thing every day….coffee and a cigarette, toast and vegemite, cornflakes or even nothing at all? Are you wondering if this might not be doing your health any favours?
One of the key areas I work on with my naturopathic clients is their diet. I believe a healthy diet is fundamental to good health in pretty much every aspect…better energy, weight management, sleep, ability to cope with stress, mood, hormone balance, immune function and the list goes on. And if you saw my reasons for eating breakfast, you’ll know why I think breakfast is an important meal.
Having a bunch of “go to” suggestions to fall back on, play with and make your own, help to make breakfast an enjoyable part of your day as well as ensuring you are getting the nutrients and fuel you need to help your body hum.
Here are some of my favourite breakfast ideas
It’s so easy to make your own. Mix up your choice of oats, amaranth, rice puffs, millet, barley or any other grain you would like to try, then, if you wish, add in a little sweetness with a sprinkle of dried fruit (coconut, sultanas, cranberries, goji etc). Don’t forget the nuts and seeds (my favourites are chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds). It takes about 10 minutes to make up enough to last for a week or more and it will be much lower in sugar than many of the packaged versions (and probably cheaper too). I don’t use a recipe. I just make it using whatever I have and play around with the ratios so no two batches are identical. Have a play until you find the combinations you love.
Add your choice of liquid (dairy, soy, goat, almond, rice milk etc) perhaps with some Greek yoghurt (or non-dairy if that’s your preference). Top it with fresh fruit and maybe some ground flaxseed and you have an awesome, nutrient rich meal to fuel you for the morning.
You can make your muesli “bircher-style” by adding your liquid the night before. Soaking your muesli in this way makes it a bit easier to eat and digest and it’s great if you want to grab and go in the morning.
These are my breakfast of choice when I am in a rush (or most days, if I’m honest). I will whip one up and take it with me. You can’t go wrong really, just blend up whatever you like.
In a blender, combine your fruit of choice (for example banana, mango, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries – you don’t need a lot and I always keep some in the freezer) with some liquid of your choice (water, milk, soy, almond milk, coconut water etc). I often add a dollop of avocado for extra creaminess, plain yoghurt, some chia, flax or hemp seeds for an extra nutrient boost or maybe some raw cacao, collagen or protein powder. You can also add things like cucumber, spinach, capsicum or mint (goes great with pineapple). Play around with the quantities and ingredients to suit your taste and what you have in the fridge/pantry.
There’s nothing like porridge on a cold winter’s morning. You can whip up a bowl of porridge in a few minutes. It can be as basic as oats and water in a saucepan (so much nicer and healthier than the instant stuff) and take it from there. I often toss in some berries, banana or even prunes. I then serve it with yoghurt, a drizzle of maple syrup (” a drape of mape”), a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg and some chopped nuts or coconut. For some variety, try making porridge with quinoa flakes or buckwheat groats or a mix of grains…it doesn’t have to be oats. (Another secret of mine…I use my muesli as porridge…just heat it up as you would regular oats).
Eggs are definitely a weekend favourite. I like mine poached (or scrambled or an omelette for an occasional treat) with your vegetable of choice e.g. tomato, mushroom, avocado or spinach or maybe baked beans. If you like bacon, save it for a special occasion as it doesn’t have many redeeming nutritional qualities unfortunately.
You can make up a batch of chia pudding and store it in containers ready to grab as you race out the door. Here is just one Protein-packed chia pudding snack to get you started. Play around with the spices to get some variety…try vanilla or cacao.
Quinoa coconut muffins
Another option is to whip up a batch of muffins on the weekend and keep them in the freezer ready to be warmed for breakfast or pop one in your bag and it will be thawed by the time you get to work. Here’s my recipe for Quinoa, coconut and berry muffins.
The denser or heavier the bread the more likely it is to be higher in fibre and lower in “unnecessary extras” so choose a good quality sourdough or rye. Then add a nutrient-rich topping. For example, avocado and tomato, goat’s cheese or ricotta, peanut butter (the 100% peanuts variety without extra salt or sugar), other nut butters (almond, cashew etc), tahini or, instead of sugar-laden jam, try fresh fruit like a mashed banana with a sprinkle of hemp or sesame seeds. The list is long and just requires a little imagination.
Not everyone wants sweet things for breakfast so don’t be afraid to try leftover curries or soups (or anything else that takes your fancy) for breakfast.
So, there really is no excuse for being stuck in a “breakfast rut” or resorting to packaged cereal full of sugar and not much else (and don’t get me started on those liquid breakfasts in a box). Play around with these ideas, get creative and your body will thank you.