What to eat for breakfast?
We all know how important breakfast is for setting up our day. We have been told this hundreds of times. But each time the advice is slightly different and its no surprise so many of us get confused. So when a friend asked me recently what to eat given all the conflicting info and a lack of time I thought I would do my best to hopefully diffuse a little of the confusion.
But I'm not going to lie to you, while starting off your day right needn't be complicated, it will involve a little extra care, thought and preparation. I'm not here to convert you to this way of thinking but to show you guys (who are presumably here because you are keen to know more an make healthy choices) where to start and offer a little guidance. So, with that in mind, along with a couple of pointers, I'll be serving up a time and budget friendly recipe.
Prepare - where possible making breakfast the night before (especially during the week) saves you time and thought in the morning. Make breakfast a no brainer.
Sit down - I know we are all in a rush to get out the door in the morning and often have to eat our breakfast on-the-go but I really can’t stress how important it is to engage with your food. Don’t just swallow your food, smell it, taste it, and please chew it. This prepares your digestive system for the food that is about to hit it, reducing indigestion, bloating and speeding up nutrient absorption. Even if you just wake up 5 minutes earlier you will be doing yourself a favour.
Listen to your body. Do you need to eat within an hour of waking, only eat when you are hungry or should there be a certain number of hours between last night's dinner and this morning's meal? Some experts tell you to eat a big breakfast or to pack in the protein, while others tell you to save your precious digestive energy and enjoy a light breaky. Phew! It can get quite confusing, huh? So I am here to tell you to do right by you. No one (I repeat - NO ONE) knows your own body as well as you do. Experiment and find what works best for you. My personal experience has shown me that my body responds best when I wait till I am hungry in the morning (this varies but I always eat breakfast) and then fuel myself according to my body’s needs and the day's activity. This usually involves a dose of greens and protein in some form. But that’s just me and this isn't always the same. As handy as it may be to have a plan, it can also disconnect you from what your body needs. So please, tune in. (But still, steer clear of the cereal!)
Do you need some inspiration? Here are some of the breakfasts that I enjoy on the regular and a recipe to get you started.
This is a hybrid of bircher muesli and chia pudding that makes for a delicious combination. Chia seeds are full of healthy omega 3s, protein and 5x the calcium of cows milk . And the coconut milk yoghurt is packed with health bacteria, essential for a fabulously healthy gut. But if you can’t find coconut milk yoghurt then feel free to swap it for plain old coconut or almond milk. Equally delicious. The chia seeds absorb around 10 times their weight in water (making then super filling) so are best left to set overnight but just 10 minutes will do fine if you forget (the chia seeds will continue to swell in your digestive tact).
¼ cup coconut milk yoghurt (I used Coyo, which is now stocked in Tesco and Waitrose)
1½ tbsp. chia seeds
¼ cup oats
⅔-¾ cup water
¼ mixed seeds (I love using pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup berries (I used red and black currants)
Optional extras: milled flax/linseed, more berries, nuts, coconut flakes, dried goji berries, cinnamon.
- Place the coconut milk yoghurt, chia seeds, oats and seeds in a glass
- Slowly add the water, stirring to mix thoroughly
- Stir in the berries.
- Leave to set overnight in the fridge
- Remove from the fridge in the morning and top with the optional extras of your choice.
Week days - I have all these options on high rotation but its largely dependent on the season and wether I want something warming or cool and refreshing.
- Bircher muesli/overnight oats
- Chia pudding
- Scrambled eggs
- Avo on (gluten/wheat-free) toast
- Smoothie (green or otherwise)
Weekends - ideas for when you have a little more time on you hands.
- Poached eggs on sourdough toast (with bacon and mushrooms if you like)
- Raw buckwheat porridge (try this raspberry version)
- Baked oatmeal (like this old favourite: Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal)
- Almond flour pancakes (I love this recipe)
Get creative. I love trying out new flavour combinations - go wild with interesting ingredients to avoid monotony. Although I have always been a lover of sweet breakfasts, I have been experimenting with more savoury options. As strange as it may sound, my latest breakfast discovery has been steamed sweet potato and almond butter. Yes, for breakfast. Or do a twist on a continental breakfast and try something like tuna and hummus on oat cakes or other bread alternatives.
A word on budgets: Healthy breakfast options really needn’t cost any more than your usual cereal once you take into account that you will likely be snacking less throughout the day, but investing in some staples, like chia seeds, can be such a worthwhile investment. In fact, chia seeds would probably be the first superfood purchase I suggest you make. Love ‘em.
Go forth and enjoy a nourishing breakfast!
P.S. Do you know someone else that might need a bit of breakfast inspiration? Go ahead and share this post on Facebook.