We so often hear that it's the most important meal of the day. That we ideally want to eat the biggest meal at this time (and little at the end of the day). To load up on protein and carbs and good quality fats to ensure our energy levels are high, our blood sugar balanced, and our belly's full.
What happens though if you're someone that doesn't really have an appetite at brekkie? Or work odd hours that mean the times you are eating are also a little off?
I often get asked what should one eat for breakfast - what's best to eat really. And unfortunately there is no one correct answer. Say it's cliche but it's still true, that we are all different and thus we all have different needs, different serving sizes to maintain optimal health, and different requirements. So it pays to pay some attention to the signals our body is giving us constantly. And if you're struggling with this, it can be of benefit to see a Nutritionist for a little while to help you along the way, and then you can see and feel these signs for yourself.
So, if I were to rattle of a bunch of suitable brekkie ideas that you can pick and choose between depending on your preferences, it would sound something like this...
- Savoury oats
- A smoothie
- Veggie egg scramble
- Bone broth
- A protein pancake
- Bacon and eggs
- A handful of nuts
- A veggie juice with omega oil stirred through
- Paleo cereal
Let me explain a little further... Savoury oats would be your regular oats soaked overnight then cooked up in a veggie or bone broth and served with fresh herbs, spring onions and pepper. A hearty meal right there; soaking the oats make them easier to digest, it's super quick and easy even when pressed on time, and has a brilliant balance of macronutrients that won't leave you wondering where the sweet ending is.
A smoothie is a no brain-er and you can add anything you like. Up super early and straight out the door? Make it the night before and keep it in the fridge or freezer. Start with berries and/or a banana, then add some nut milk or coconut water, or try a warm tea base; perhaps a handful of nuts or protein powder, some flax or hemp oil, then spice it up with any of the following: cacao, cinnamon, maca, cardamon, dried figs, goji berries, hemp seeds, coconut oil, coconut cream, licorice root powder, green powder mixes, acai, any other superfood... and you've got a tasty meal that will have you feeling energetic, clear and bouncing your way round town!
A veggie egg scramble is also quick and great if you want something warm. Make it as small or as big as your appetite is. Check out my simple recipe here.
Bone broth. When you're not really hungry. Or too cold to want anything that isn't a hot liquid. A great start if you're healing gut issues. And you can always follow it with something more substantial. Grab my recipe here.
A protein pancake can easily be made for one person if you're on your own, or duplicated for more. It's a nice change to regular brekkies and won't leave your tummy feeling funny if grains aren't your thing. Start with one scoop of protein powder, mix in half a mashed banana, a teaspoon of ground flaxmeal, and 2-3 eggs. Add a dash of cinnamon and a splash of almond milk if need be. Pour this into a medium-heated frypan with coconut oil. You can have a quick shower, get dressed, pack lunch etc whilst this is cooking. When you see bubbles form, flip it (that might be 10mins in). Serve with fresh berries, more cinnamon and coconut nectar, or xylitol and lemon. You'll be hooked.
Bacon and eggs. It's interesting to have witnessed the amount of people who never ate this due to fear of getting fat, now eating it daily switching from their cereal box fav's, and now losing weight. It's the protein and fats in animal products that are very good for our health. I'd suggest getting organic eggs and bacon, but any will do really. Amp things up with some greens, tomato or mushies, a little sourdough if it works for you, and try to really enjoy it. No guilt allowed with this one. It's the guilt - not the food - that's doing you more harm.
Nuts - if you don't fancy anything. Perhaps you had a massive dinner last night. Or you're traveling and your only option is Fruit Loops. There's nothing wrong with nuts in my opinion.
Veggie juice. I know plenty of people who love to start their day with juice. It just ain't my thing. I want food. Having said that, juice followed by food a little alter is great. Aim for more veg than fruit as you're getting more minerals with way less of a blood sugar spike (and consequent crash), and add a teaspoon of something like Udos oil to it. All the fat soluble vitamins can then be absorbed better. Your blood sugar levels won't go quite so high. And your skin will thank you for it (and you wont taste it so don't worry).
And then what about a paleo cereal? I only say 'paleo' so you know I'm suggesting a grain free option. And the term 'cereal' still has processed-box labels around it. Whether you buy one or make your own, it doesn't matter. This is essentially a bunch of seeds, perhaps almond meal or protein powder, a few nuts, and you're done! Serve with fruit and nut milk and this is definitely one satisfying brekkie - start with very small portions.
Foods I would avoid:
- Processed cereals out of a box - all children's cereals for sure!
- Add dairy milk to that cereal and it's a double whammy
- White toast with jam - you may as well eat sugar straight out of the bowl! What nutrition are you getting from this anyway?
- English muffin with honey - for the same reasons as above
- A whopper blueberry muffin from the quickie-mart or 7-11 (studies show they're not often real blueberries, and the rest is white flour, white sugar, caged eggs and margarine... Get the nut bar instead)
- Black coffee on it's own without food - this is often the "breakfast" for those who are "far too busy to eat", and this is probably the worst thing these people could possibly have. If you're too busy for breakfast, coffee is the last thing you should be having. But if you insist, make sure you have it AFTER food. And if you ain't eating, you shouldn't be drinking coffee. You're only frying the last remaining parts of your adrenal glands this way... but that's no biggie right?
So in short, grains can work really well from some people, whereas they need to be avoided for health reasons in others. Dairy is of benefit to some people but not others. The same goes with high sugar fruits and fructose, animal products, and vegetarian protein sources. Even coffee. I have no blanket statements about food that I am going to preach to you, except that refined processed foods are not something you want in your kitchen regularly, if at all. Save that Monte Carlo biscuit for nannas house.
Now tell me, what's your favourite or staple brekkie meal?