Hello lovely readers! It's Nicola from Eat Well NZ and I'm happy to be back guest posting on Here Comes The Sun. Today I thought I'd share with you tips and ideas for the perfect healthy breakfast. Are you a breakfast eater? Hopefully you're answer is YES! And if not, I hope this post inspires you to start eating breakfast.
Breakfast really is as important as they say. The word it's self explains why. It's about breaking the overnight fast (break-fast) to help replenish your blood glucose levels so you have the energy to get through your morning. If you think about it, your body has been running for 8 hours while you sleep without any fuel going in. And your body is busy doing lots of things while you sleep too - making memories, regulating hormones, and repairing muscles. When you wake up it's important to refuel.
Going without breakfast means you're asking a lot of your body which is trying to fuel your brain, muscles, heart, liver etc etc. So starting the day with a nutritious breakfast sets you off on the best possible path for your day. It doesn't have to be as soon as you get out of bed, but as long as it's within about an hour of getting up, you'll be off to a good start to your day.
So what to have for breakfast?
The ideal breakfast should be a combination of wholegrain carbohydrate, protein, and some fruit or vegetables. Wholegrain carbohydrates provide a slow release of energy, plus a source of B vitamins. Protein helps keep you feeling full and helps with muscle repair, whilst fruit or veges provides phytonutrients and antioxidants.
1. Porridge / Rolled Oats
I'm a huge fan of oats for breakfast. You can add lots of different flavour combinations, and they're naturally low in sugar and fat, plus a great source of fibre. These are pretty much the only thing I buy down the cereal isle at the supermarket. So many breakfast cereals look like they are healthy but they're loaded with sugars!
I serve it with a tablespoon of ground almonds to add some healthy fats and protein, yoghurt, which adds protein and some fruit for sweetness. I also add a variety of seeds or nuts including chia seeds and linseeds (these both provide healthy omega 3 fats). Sometimes I also add a little maple syrup or honey. This all combines to make a delicious, warming breakfast which is just what I love right now in this cold NZ winter.
For one serve, cook 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oats with double the amount of water in a pot on the stove, or in the microwave. I use the microwave and it doesn't take longer than 3 minutes. Stop each minute and stir, adding extra water in the last minute if you like it a little softer.
You can soak your oats overnight if you like, which helps remove enzyme inhibitors and makes it quicker to cook, or you can eat them raw this way too.
Favourite toppings of mine include: Apple and cinnamon, dried cherry and hazelnut, raspberry, blueberry, rhubarb and apple. You can find the recipe for the above picture here.
2. Breakfast cup
Another delicious breakfast involves layering a combination of yoghurt, fruit, nuts, seeds and some type of carbohydrate for example oats, cooked quinoa or buckwheat. This is a perfect combination of everything you need to get your day started. It not only looks lovely, it's a perfect combination of your protein/fruit/carbohydrates and healthy fats.
3. Green smoothie
If you're not big on breakfast then a smoothie is a perfect way to get you into the habit. You can add both fruit and veges to your smoothie to get a big nutrient boost. Spinach or kale are perfect for this. I like to use coconut water (this is an excellent source of potassium), a banana (makes the smoothie nice and creamy and gives you some carbohydrate), spinach or kale to get some more greens in your day, yoghurt for protein and flavour and some other type of fruit. Blend it all together and enjoy! As you can see, depending on what fruit you use you can't even tell it's got veges in it. Some of my favourite fruit smoothies are here, here and here. Yum!
The humble egg makes a fabulous breakfast. It's high in protein and full of lots of essential nutrients including selenium, zinc, vitamin D, iron and vitamin E, among others. Two eggs with some toast topped with veges like avocado, capsicum or tomato; or a side of spinach and mushrooms will help keep the hunger pains away and give you a nutrient packed start to your day.
Do you eat breakfast? What's your favourite healthy breakfast?
Eat Well NZ
Here Comes the Sun Contributor