By Melissa Fine, Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor.
We’ve all heard that ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but what needs to be paid more attention to is the quality of your breakkie; Whether you’re trying to shift some extra weight or want something nourishing to power you through the morning, typical breakfast foods like toast with jam or sugary low fat cereal flakes wont cut it.
A good breakfast is based on real, unprocessed food – Think:
Sufficient animal or plant-based protein, like eggs, fish, cottage cheese, legumes and to a lesser extent, nuts and seeds: To help keep your blood sugar stable (reducing the need for a mid-morning snack) and enhance muscle growth and repair after a workout.
Wholesome carbohydrates from fruit, vegies, legumes and whole grains: For filling fibre and to give your brain the glucose it needs to function at it’s best - Glucose is the brain’s first and main source of fuel, which explains the brain-fog that tends to come with a low-carb diet.
Good fats from foods like avo, olive oil, nuts and seeds, egg yolks and oily fish: Amongst its many roles, fat delays stomach emptying, so keeps you fuller for longer.
Scrap the processed cereal and white toast and give these breakkies a go instead:
1) Israeli Salad with Poached/Fried Eggs
I never thought of salad as a breakfast food until I went on a trip to Israel a few years back; Israeli salad – made with equal parts chopped tomato and cucumber, a little onion and a sprinkle of parsley – was at every buffet breakfast and on every breakkie menu. Dress with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice (about 2 tsp of each for one serve), add a pinch of salt and top with two poached or fried eggs for protein. You could also stir through a couple dessertspoons of quinoa if you need more carbs in the morning.
2) Sweet or Savoury Stuffed Sweet Potato
Yes I get a few scrunched up noses when I rave about my sweet potato breakkies, but I swear they’re delicious! (Well at least I think so ;) …But really sweet potatoes for breakkie are big in the food blog world) – A sweet potato is a great food to start your day with thanks to its high fibre content, which helps stabilise your energy levels so you don’t get a mid-morning slump.
I love a sweet spud baked whole with the skin on until its caramelised; I then slice it down the middle, mash the flesh flat with a fork and top it with a couple dessertspoons unsweetened Greek yoghurt and a tablespoon almond butter. Finish this off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some raw walnuts for crunch, extra protein and essential omega-3 fats, important for brain function.
More of a savoury breakkie person? Stuff your sweet potato with protein-rich cottage cheese and a sprinkle of pepitas instead. A pinch of paprika or chilli flakes will give this a nice kick.
3) My Stovetop Carrot Cake Porridge
Good old-fashioned oats are one of my favourite foods; Apart from being so versatile, I love how much they expand in liquid, so even a small amount yields a large volume, which really sticks to your ribs. Plus they are high in filling, good-for-your-gut fibre, including a soluble fibre called ‘beta-glucan’; This binds to and gets rid of dietary LDL cholesterol – the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Ingredients (for 1 serve)
- 1/3 C rolled oats (The traditional ones; Not instant/quick-cooking)
- 1/3 C milk of choice (I like coconut or rice milk, or a blend of the two)
- 1/3 C water
- 1/4 C carrot, finely grated
- 1 Medjool date, pitted and mashed
- 1 TBS coconut butter (from health food stores)
- 1 TBS raw walnuts/pecans roughly chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- Combine the oats, milk, water, carrot, date and half of the cinnamon in a small pot on full heat.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce to medium heat, stirring the mixture a few times.
- Once the mixture has thickened up and heated through, your oats are ready.
- Pour into a pretty bowl and top with coconut butter (which will melt as soon as your pour it onto the oats), nuts and the rest of the cinnamon. You can also eat these cold in the summer – Tastes like carrot cake pudding!
4) Dried Fruit-Free Muesli
It’s hard to find a commercial muesli without sugar-concentrated dried fruit and high-fructose sweeteners like honey and agave. Eating on the regular, fructose can encourage weight gain because it’s converted to and stored as fat in the liver, rather than being used up as energy like other sugars. Fructose also switches on the brain’s reward centre, meaning it’s hard to stop eating the stuff (which explains why some mueslis are so moreish). My solution? Make your own muesli so you can limit the amount of sugar going in your breakkie.
I like to mix up a ¼ C traditional rolled oats with 1 tsp of each shredded coconut and sunflower seeds. Top with a ¼ C unsweetened Greek yoghurt, a TBS of almond butter, a little cinnamon and a handful of fresh berries. Homemade muesli in a minute!
Or if you’re on the run and looking for a healthy supermarket muesli option, try a Food for Health Coconut, Cacao and Chia Muesli Pod – Low in fructose, portion-controlled and made with buckwheat (gluten free despite its name), puffed rice and fibre-rich seeds, this is what I call a weight-loss friendly muesli…Tastes awesome too thanks to ingredients like creamy coconut and rich cacao – The healthy kind of chocolate that you can get away with eating first thing in the a.m.
Food for Health Coconut, Cacao and Chia Muesli Pod
A convenient and healthy grab and go breakfast!
More than half of Australians skip breakfast - Now there are no excuses... the Muesli Pods are the perfect meal for those people who do not have time for breakfast! You can now have a healthy breakfast you can eat anywhere! All you need to do is add water, yes we have added the milk for you and with a spoon included you can eat it on the go!