I have recently made a discovery. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. “Duh, I knew that,” you’re thinking. And I understand why. We all know that the word is literally about “breaking the fast” of the night’s sleep. It’s an important time to refuel after fasting all night and a way to get our metabolism going for the day. It’s also the meal that most people get so terribly wrong. If you look at most cereals in the breakfast aisle they are full of sugar and salt and set you up for a mid morning crash bigger than anything you’d see on a F1 track (perhaps I am exaggerating slightly). But if you do this every morning, it’s more than likely that at 10am or 3pm or both you are reaching for coffee, sugar or salt to perk you up to make it through to lunch time or dinner.
One of the biggest changes I have made since my big move is having breakfast at home every morning. In my old life I wouldn’t eat until I got to work claiming that I couldn’t eat first thing after waking. This meant that I was eating well over an hour after I woke up and by the time I did eat I was starving and wasn’t thinking about nutrition. Coffee and toast were my standards (and banana bread was a close second) – this had virtually no protein to keep me full and would almost always result in a mid morning snack (usually from the vending machine). It’s funny how now I have no choice about eating before I leave home (there is no opportunity to eat breakfast at work) I don’t have any problems with it.
Now days I eat at home every morning and I am rarely hungry before lunch. I sometimes don’t break for lunch until 1 or 2pm after leaving home at 8 so my breakfasts really do keep me satisfied. I also find that if I start the day healthy then I am much less likely to get unhealthy during the day. I guess I don’t feel as rabidly hungry so I can wait and make the right choice rather than wolfing down something that is not so great for me. Rehabilitating your breakfast can be one of the most powerful tools to keep you at your optimum weight and keep you full of energy all day. And if you have something nutritious for breakfast, at least you know you got something healthy in for the day. Here are some suggestions:
1. Eggs – this is an old classic. I understand that it can feel like they take a long time to prepare. But you can also boil your eggs for 7 minutes while you do your hair. It’s a bit about planning. Or with this recipe, you can make it on the weekend and reheat on Monday morning.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 capsicum (any colour), finely chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
sprinkle of chilli powder
sprinkle of ground cumin
sprinkle of mixed herbs
salt & pepper
grated parmesan cheese
some spring onions, finely chopped
Method: Preheat oven to 200C. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute onion, garlic and capsicum for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and spices and heat through.
Divide the tomato sauce between 4 ramekins so they are 3 quarters full. Make an indentation in the sauce and carefully crack an egg into each. Sprinkle with cheese and spring onion and bake for about 1 minutes until the eggs are just set. Serve straight away
This recipe is adapted from one of Jane Kennedy’s.
2. Porridge – this time of the year, a warm breakfast is a dream. I made a fabulous quinoa porridge the other day. It’s easily prepared the night before which means that you don’t need too much time in the morning. It’s gorgeously delicious and can be adapted to suit your own tastes.
Quinoa Porridge (serves 2)
1 cup quinoa, cooked as per instructions
400ml coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
nuts, seeds, berries, coconut, yoghurt, honey
Method: Cook quinoa as per instructions. Transfer to a bowl and pour over the milk. Refridgerate overnight. Reheat in the morning and add your favourite toppings.
3. Portable breakfast – sometimes it just feels like it might be easier to get drive through or wait until you get to work to get something to eat. I am not suggesting that you should eat at the same time as driving, but this breakfast in a jar can make life much easier. You can bring it with you and know that you will definitely be eating something healthy.
1/2 cup oats
A couple tablespoons each of chia seeds, shredded coconut, LSA (linseed, almond & sunflower mix)
1 tablespoon each of pepitas, goji berries, maca
Berries, yogurt (preferably plain & natural), milk of your choice (I used almond)
Method: Put all the dry ingredients in the jar. Put the lid on and mix well. Shake it like a maraca – it’s fun! Pour in milk until it pools on top. Add a couple of dollops of yogurt and some berries. Put it in the fridge overnight and it will all absorb the milk and be delicious and creamy in the morning.
By the way, you can mix this up with all your favourite ingredients. You can add different nuts and seeds, protein powder or leave out the maca. It’s your masterpiece. But don’t add any sweeteners. You really really don’t need it, I promise.
4. Super healthy AND super delicious – I know that to some people these words seem rather incompatible but another fabulous recipe that I have found on my new favourite blog, The Holistic Ingredient, satisfies both healthy and delicious with an added bonus of being very quick to make.
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 fresh date
Method: Put it all in a food processor for about 5 seconds. Serve with yogurt and berries. Yum! Since I first tried this I do tend to leave out the date and add in more nuts, like walnuts and hazelnuts. Play around with it – I’m sure you can try all sorts of things.
5. Finally we come to the smoothie. I am a big fan of the green smoothie for breakfast. This is the one that keeps me full and energetic the longest. I know when I’ve had it for breakfast I have truly given myself the best start of the day.
My Favourite Green Smoothie (at the moment)
2 large pieces of kale (stem and spine removed)
5 thick slices of cucumber
1 stick of celery, including the leaves
2 tablespoons of parsley
1 slice of fresh pineapple, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon of ginger
2 teaspoons of mint
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of water
Method: Blend together for about 3 minutes and drink immediately.
If you like these recipe ideas please join me on 17th July 2013 at 5.30pm Australian Western Time when I will be hosting a free webinar (a seminar on the web!) The topic will be my top 10 tips for increased health & happiness (and how to get back into your skinny jeans). Register your interest below and I will be in touch to send you log in details.