The Wholefood Approach
Breakfast is hugely underrated, most people tend to eat the same thing every day and are the least creative when it comes to preparing what to eat each morning. However, with so many options you can easily add some variety into what you have for breakfast – plus it can be as quick and easy as you like.
Breakfast – the most important meal of the day, right??
We have often heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that it kick starts our metabolism. This was believed for a long time, however recently more studies and information has come out to counteract this.
Whilst I wouldn’t completely disregard this belief, it shouldn’t be entirely followed either (after all it was Kelloggs who first came out with this idea). What is more important when it comes to breakfast (whether you eat it first thing in the morning, or later in the AM) is that it is full of nutrients that is going to power your body’s energy throughout the day.
The other idea is that breakfast doesn’t need to consist of what we know as ‘breakfast foods’, such as cereal, oats, toast. If you prefer to eat a different meal at this time, such as what most people would eat for lunch and dinner, this is completely fine – as long as it has a focus on wholefoods.
The Cereal Industry
Breakfast options have been dominated by companies that promote their highly processed, high sugar and fat content products, such as cereals, muesli, granola etc – with marketing terms such as wholegrain, gluten free, organic – to make you think its healthy. They may also say things like ‘Only 4 ingredients’, however if you look at the ingredients list you will notice that sugar may be the first or second ingredient. Most of these packaged products are low in nutrients and typically high in calories, meaning they will provide you with little-no energy for the day.
The Healthy Choice
Today we will discuss all the healthy options for Breakfast. By having a nutrient dense meal for breakfast, you are not only giving your body important nutrients to provide you energy for the day, but you are also setting yourself up to eat other healthy meals throughout the day.
Here are some quick, easy, healthy ideas for breakfast:
- Overnight Oats*
You can’t get any simpler than this. Overnight Oats consist of soaking oats overnight in either non-dairy milk or water. It doesn’t even need to be overnight, as long as it is soaked for around 30mins it should be ready to eat. You want to add enough liquid to just cover it. You can then add a range of toppings to it. There are literally dozens of overnight oats recipes that you can make. The best thing about overnight oats is how easy and quick they are to make, plus you can easily carry them around with you if you need to have breakfast on the go.
- Warm oats*
Perfect for those cold mornings, or just because you feel like something warm and comforting. Warm Oats is simply cooked on the stovetop, and again you can add your favourite toppings into it. Like overnight oats, there are tons of recipes for warm oats. Many are easy to make and usually can be done within 20 minutes. Warm oats is also something that can be cooked ahead of time and heated up when you are ready to eat.
What type of oats to use?
In the supermarket, you will typically see two types of oats – rolled and quick. You can select either but rolled oats have a little more nutrients than quick. Quick oats will cook quicker because they are smaller and will come out a little bit more mushy. Rolled oats will stay whole and have a chewy texture. Try them both and see which one you like. The only oats that is not recommended are the pre-packaged flavoured oats that typically come with additives, such as sugar.
*For both oats options – you can swap out oats for quinoa, buckwheat, millet, or create a combination of any of these.
- Loaded toasts
Instead of just having peanut butter on toast, you can get creative and add a combination of fruit and spreads. Or go savoury and add some veggies. Another option if you are gluten sensitive or just want to go gluten-free is to use sliced sweet potato as your toast, these can be made quick and easily by slicing a sweet potato lengthways and popping them into the oven. If using bread, ensure you buy wholegrain, rye or sourdough.
Easy 3 ingredient pancakes – oats, non-dairy milk and mashed banana. Get creative with a range of toppings. To make 6 pancakes all you need is 1 cup of oats, 1 cup of non-dairy milk and 1.5 mashed bananas. Add it into a blender and blend until smooth, then cook on a non-stick pan or you can even make this simply on a flat sandwich press. Add any toppings you like such as berries, banana, PB, maple syrup etc.
- Yogurt and fruit
Simple yet delicious. There are many plant-based yoghurts on the market today, it is best to select a non-coconut one such as almond or soy yoghurt, as coconut has just as much saturated fats as dairy.
- Granola / Muesli
Making your own muesli or granola is easy, simply mix oats (or you can go oat-free and add any other grain), a range of seeds/nuts (you can also buy a nut and seed mix) and some dried fruit.
For granola you can mix in some maple or date syrup (just blend dates and water) and pop in the oven until crunchy. Then add to a bowl with non-dairy milk and top with fruit.
A note about storebought Granola – There is a perception that granola is healthier than cereal, and whilst that might be true in some cases, many granolas on the market contain high amounts of sugar and fats (usually by adding in oil) – therefore it is recommended to make your own granola, or to have it on occasion rather than as an every day breakfast.
- Cooked breakfast
Examples include scrambled tofu, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, greens and hashbrowns, served with wholemeal bread.
- Breakfast wrap
Similar to what you would make in a cooked breakfast but put together in a brekky wrap.
- Chia Pudding
This is a fantastic naturally gluten-free breakfast option, simply mix chia seeds and plant-based milk, let sit overnight and in the morning add some fruit and a drizzle of maple. The ratio is 1/2 cup chia to 2 cups of non-dairy milk – this makes 4 serves.
Whether its a vegetable or fruit smoothie, this makes for a great easy breakfast option that you can have on the go.
- Smoothie bowl
This is similar to a smoothie but made a little thicker (use less liquid). Served in a bowl with some muesli or granola on top.
- French Toast
Made with wholemeal thick cut bread and a range of toppings!
Should we have a different breakfast each day?
With all the breakfast ideas provided above and the recipes provided below, the question that comes up is whether we should be having a different breakfast each day? The answer to that question completely depends on your preference. If you prefer to eat something different each day and are happy to spend the extra time doing so, then this is great. There are so many healthy options you can choose from. If you are generally short on time in the mornings so you value convenience and are happy to eat the same thing each morning, then it is completely fine to have the same meal each day – granted you are adding a little bit of variety. For example if you enjoy having oats each morning you can mix up the fruits you have with it, or the flavours you add to it. Then when you have a little extra time, say on the weekends for example, you can spend a little time making another type of breakfast. So it all comes down to your preference.
In addition to the information above, here are some recipes that you can follow. Give some of these recipes a go – or come and speak with me about how to incorporate more wholefoods into the breakfast you already eat.
Recipe 1 – PB and Banana Overnight Oats
Soak 1 cup of oats and 1.5 tablespoons of chia seeds in any non-dairy milk/water, with enough to just cover it. Keep in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, add 1 tablespoon each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, plus 2 tablespoons of dried fruit pieces. Next add 1.5 tablespoons of PB and stir through. Divide into 2 bowls and top with sliced banana, frozen raspberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Recipe 2 – Smashed Avo on Wholemeal/Sourdough
Mash 1 avocado in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of tahini and a little salt. Spread across 4 pieces of toasted sourdough or wholemeal bread. Top with some rocket or sprouts and halved cherry tomatoes.
Option to sprinkle on top – Spices – Dukkah or Za’atar, or lightly toasted pumpkin seeds.
Recipe 3 – Apple and Cinnamon Warm Oats with Coco Yoghurt
See the recipe here.
Recipe 4 – Smoothie Bowl with Granola
Blend 2 frozen bananas and 3/4 cup of frozen raspberries, with a dash of almond milk. You can add a little more milk if it’s too thick. You want it to be blended through but still quite thick. Divide into 2 bowls and top with some homemade granola (see recipe above) or a combination of mixed seeds and dried fruit – this is to add a little crunch.
Recipe 5 – Berry Pancakes
See recipe above to make 6 pancakes. Divide onto 2 plates and top with fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with a drizzle of maple – or you can use 1 cup of frozen berries and heat it up on a stovetop then pour on top of pancakes.
Recipe 6 – Scrambled Tofu with Mushies
See the recipe here.
Recipe 7 – Loaded Veggie Toasts
See the recipe here.
An extra challenge for this week:
Choose 1-2 recipes from above and try it out over the next week. Send me a message on FB to let me know which ones you plan to try and I will provide you with some extra tips.