In Anni Kravi's new cookbook, Porridge: Oats + Seeds + Grains + Rice, she divulges all the delicious components to her artful breakfast bowls that we've long admired on Instagram. We'd go so far as to call her the Scandinavian queen of breakfast bowls, with her beautiful pops of color and playful use of ingredients. As a student of nutrition, Anni is also pretty savvy when it comes to using ingredients to feel your best from early morning well into the afternoon.
Here are five things we learned from Anni's book about how to give your brain an extra boost in the morning.
Go with the grain
Anni uses high-quality, nutritious grains like spelt, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, and amaranth to add texture, fiber, and resistant starch1 to her morning meals—which help to keep you satiated and focused throughout the morning, and optimize digestion.
Colorful ingredients = big benefits
Yes, visually stunning ingredients like beets, turmeric, matcha, spirulina, berries, and black tahini all make breakfast bowls look really cool, but more importantly, they provide your body with tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients that keep inflammation in check and your energy levels up throughout the morning.
No caffeine required
In her Green Powder Bowl (recipe below), she uses wheatgrass powder, which is great for boosting energy without caffeine. The same goes for cacao2, which is the star ingredient in her Cacao + Goji Sprinkle (recipe below). Both ingredients provide the body and brain with the kind of serene, non-jittery energy that caffeine can't compare to.
Mindfulness is more than meditation.
Mindfulness can be as simple as paying extra attention to preparing your everyday meals with joy. Cooking and presentation can be a form of self-expression and creativity, and Anni's bowls are as artful as they are delicious.
"I find cooking meditative and it's my way of relaxing, clearing my mind, and letting go of the daily distractions of life. Some people meditate in the morning, but you will find me preparing a breakfast bowl mandala with the same intention and focus. I find this mindfulness practice makes a huge difference in my day."
Get creative with your plant-based protein.
From nut "rawgurt" (recipe below) to frozen shelled edamame, Anni uses quality, whole food plant proteins in a way that seems almost revolutionary in their unexpectedness and simplicity. Achieving a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs in your meals, no matter what time of day, can keep you feeling fuller and more focused for longer.
Green Powder Bowl
- 1 large, fresh banana (reserve a few slices for the topping)
- 3 cubes frozen baby spinach or two large handfuls of fresh spinach
- 120g (4¼ oz.) frozen edamame beans
- juice of ¼ lemon
- 1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder
- 150ml (10 tablespoons) nut "rawgurt" (recipe follows) or unsweetened soy yogurt
- 3 tablespoons fresh berries of your choice
- 1 serving cacao + goji sprinkle (recipe follows)
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon desiccated coconut
- 1 teaspoon bee pollen (optional)
Blitz all the ingredients, except the toppings, together in a high-speed blender. Pour into a bowl and make smoothie bowl art on top with the toppings!
Serves 4 to 6
- 35g (¼ cup) cashews
- 55g (½ cup) raw almonds
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
- 2 dates, pitted
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1. Soak the cashews and almonds in a bowl of water overnight, then drain and rinse thoroughly.
2. Put the almonds, cashews, 400ml (1⅔ cups) water, vanilla, and dates into a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour the "rawgurt" into a sterilized glass jar, mix in the ground flaxseeds until combined, then chill in the fridge to thicken and cool for 1 to 2 hours.
Cacao + Goji Sprinkle
Makes 4½ cups
- 80g (½ cup) raw buckwheat groats, rinsed
- 80g (1 cup) rolled oats, rye flakes, spelt flakes, or a mix
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 80g (1 cup) rolled oats
- 60g (½ cup) raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 35g (scant ¼ cup) whole flaxseeds
- 35g (¼ cup) pumpkin seeds
- 50g (scant ½ cup) raw cacao nibs
- 50g (scant ½ cup) dried sour cherries or cranberries
- 50g (scant 1/2 cup) dried goji berries
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. For the toasted ingredients, mix the buckwheat, the other grains of your choice, and the cacao powder together in a bowl. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and drizzle with the melted coconut oil. Mix to combine, then spread out and bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it to prevent it burning.
3. Meanwhile, mix all the "raw" ingredients in a large bowl. Remove the toasted mixture from the oven, leave to cool, then combine with the "raw" ingredients. Store in an airtight jar for up to 4 weeks.
Leah Vanderveldt is an author living in Brooklyn, New York. She received her bachelor’s in communications and media from Fordham University, and is certified in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute. She is the author of two cookbooks: The New Nourishing and The New Porridge.
Vanderveldt is a former food editor at mindbodygreen and has previously worked for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Australian Home Beautiful.