If you are trying to be healthy and avoid or cut back on sugar, wheat and dairy, breakfast can be the trickiest meal to find healthy but decent substitutes. Yet for many people, breakfast is also one of the most important meals of the day.
In this article, I share some of my personal favorite breakfast ideas, which I eat to give me loads of energy. I find that these breakfast foods help me to create vibrant health, whilst also enabling me to stay strong and create flexibility.
Breakfast #1: Smoothie
Smoothies are my all time favorite breakfast foods. The reason for this is that beyond being delicious, they are very easy to make and are super quick to prepare.
I like the fact that I can whip up a couple of fresh smoothies from real food for both my husband and myself in minutes. You can make smoothies with a few ingredients, little food preparation and absolutely no cooking. Perhaps, the best reason of all is that I left with very few dishes to do as well! (and, first thing in the morning, this is a big bonus!)
If you are really short on time, smoothies can be prepared the night before and whizzed up in seconds just before you are ready to eat. If you need to leave the house early, smoothies make an excellent meal on the go as you can take them with you.
Another great reason to include smoothies in your breakfast routine is that the different variations you can make are limited only by your imagination. Choose from an indulgent chocolate smoothie to a tropical fruit smoothie to an ultra healthy, nutrient-rich green smoothie.
Breakfast #2: Coconut yogurt and fresh fruit
If you love yogurt, but have difficulty digesting it, try coconut yogurt. You can buy it from a health food shop (read the label to make sure you avoid any preservatives or artificial additives) or you can even make your own.
Use coconut yogurt just as you would normal yogurt, and serve it with fresh fruit salad for a lovely, light summer breakfast. I like to sprinkle this breakfast with any super foods that I have on hand. Be adventurous and try different types of superfoods until you find ones that you like. Some of my superfood favorites are Goji berries, seeds and nuts.
Another lovely variation is to grind linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds (also called LSA) in a coffee grinder. This can be stored in a glass jar and used as required. Try sprinkling this over (and into) fruit salad, green salads and even breakfast smoothies. Sprinkling LSA into your diet is good for your immune system, digestive system, skin and liver. It is full of fiber and is rich in essential fatty acids.
For the very brave, top your fruit with superfood green powder such as spirulina, chlorella or barley grass.
Breakfast #3: Bircher muesli
Borrowed from the Swiss, Bircher muesli is a delicious breakfast food (or anytime snack!). Bircher muesli is not cooked and is made from mixing together oats, milk (organic or nut milk), grated apple, apple juice, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and a selection of chopped nuts and seeds.
What I really like about Bircher muesli is that you can make it and store it in the fridge for several days. It makes a tasty, quick breakfast and also is a great snack if you get the afternoon or evening munchies!
To make Bircher muesli simply soak together equal amounts of oats and milk. Add about half as much apple juice. Leave for a few hours, or even overnight and when you are ready to eat serve with 1-2 grated apples. Add to taste your desired amounts of honey (or maple syrup), juice of ½ lime, vanilla and generous amounts of thick, creamy yoghurt.
If you are sensitive to dairy you can replace it with a non-dairy substitute. Here are some of my preferred substitutes. Use coconut yogurt or if you want to avoid dairy altogether, omit the yogurt and soak the oats in nut milk (Almond milk is my favorite as it tastes lovely). If you find that the texture is a bit runny, add in some mashed banana, just before serving your muesli, which will help to thicken it up. Feel free to leave out the oats (or use gluten-free oats) if you are sensitive to gluten.
This is such an adaptable recipe. It is delicious made with banana, pomegranate, fresh berries, stewed peaches, plums or rhubarb, different nuts and seeds or even carob powder (or dark chocolate) for the ultimate indulgence.
Breakfast #4: Eggs
Eggs are a great breakfast choice. High in protein and filling they are very filling. If you experience sugar cravings throughout the day, try having eggs for breakfast. They are very versatile and can be prepared in a number of different, but healthy way if you are mindful of how you cook them and with what you eat with them.
To make healthy version of poached eggs, fill a fry pan with water and bring this to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium so the water is now simmering. Add in 1- 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of sea salt. Into the simmering water, gently crack 2 eggs per person. Leave them to cook for a few minutes. As a guide, the poached eggs are ready when the whites are firm but the yolks are still soft in the center. Scoop the eggs out of the water and drain off the excess water. Serve poached eggs on a big bed of freshly steamed spinach with fresh parsley, cracked black pepper and flaky sea salt. This dish makes an ideal weekend brunch.
Alternatively, you can make a version of healthy scrambled eggs. In a fry pan, melt a small amount of coconut oil. Add in your choice of chopped tomatoes, onions and courgettes and spinach. Cook for a minute or so, until the vegetables start to cook and onion goes golden brown. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs per person, with 2 Tablespoons of water (or nut milk). Add this to the vegetables. Watch carefully and cook this mixture over medium heat. This is ready to eat when the eggs start to set and turn golden brown.
Eggs are always a weekend winner, especially when served with generous amounts of well-presented, fresh herbs and whole foods on the side. I like to serve eggs with large amounts of freshly sliced avocado, drizzled with organic extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped parsley and fresh chives. Always take care to buy organic, free-range eggs and never eat fried eggs.
Breakfast #5: Chia Pudding
Chia is an ancient grain that has been eaten for centuries, dating right back to the Aztecs and the Mayans.
Rich in micronutrients and high in essential fatty acids and amino acids, Chia seed is an ideal breakfast choice. You can make a delicious chia pudding by mixing chia seeds together with any liquid of your choice. Use water, nut milk, or fresh juice, as you fancy. Be adventurous and experiment with different flavorings. Try fresh berries, vanilla, orange zest , stewed apple, mashed or sliced banana or cinnamon.
To make chia pudding, for every ½ cup chia seeds, add 3 cups of liquid. This could be nut milk, fresh apple juice or a combined mixture of the two. Stir and leave this mixture in a big bowl for at least 10 minutes. The chia seeds will start to expand, becoming jelly-like and your pudding will begin to thicken.
Next, add a natural sweetener of your choice, plus additional flavors such as grated cinnamon, pure vanilla, strawberries (or other fruit) and cacao nibs. I like to drizzle my chia pudding with coconut nectar (or maple syrup) and lightly sprinkle coconut sugar on top.
Chia pudding keeps well in the fridge and as well as breakfast, makes a fabulous snack at any time of the day.
Breakfast is such an important meal. I like to think of breakfast as an opportunity to celebrate the arrival of a new day. When you start your day off eating a good, healthy breakfast, the rest of your food choices throughout the day are much more likely to be health-inspired.
With awareness and a little forward planning, you can easily create a variety of healthy breakfast foods that you will enjoy, and will have you looking and feeling great all day long.