Well we’ve covered the WHY, what about the WHAT?
What to avoid….
Pastries – Ditch the danish first thing to dodge the 10am blood-sugar drop. You’ll reach for something to perk you up, likely to be another refined high-sugar quick fix.
Cereal / Cereal bars – Most cereal bars contain as much sugar as a regular chocolate bar. A wrapper marked “Nutritious” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy, either. Cereal manufacturers are expert marketers, sending false messages of health, so read the labels.
Kids’ cereals for example, often have more sugar than sweets. Not ideal first thing, hey?!
What to include…
There is no perfect breakfast. Individual requirements vary from person to person, depending on your goals, body composition and tastes. However, there are some general rules that you can apply to breakfasts that will dramatically improve them.
- Include a source of protein.
Protein should form the foundation of your breakfast. Good quality protein sources include eggs, meat and fish. It will provide your body with essential nutrients to help you build muscle and recover from training sessions. It will also keep you fuller for longer and require more energy to break down than a carbohydrate based meal. Not bad eh?
- Include a source of healthy fats.
Good quality omega 3’s, and a smaller amount of omega 6’s. Healthy fats provide your body with energy as well helping your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. The essential fatty acids also play a role in brain development, blood clotting and managing inflammation.
The combination of protein and fats will also help slow down absorption of any carbohydrates we do include with breakfast. This will help prevent a dramatic rise in blood sugar, and consequently a dramatic rise in insulin. This will stop you storing a lot of breakfast in your fat cells, and instead keep it available for metabolism (i.e. the gym!)
Good quality fats can be found in nuts, avocados, oily fish, olive oil, butter (grass fed!) and coconut oil. Even grass fed red meat is a good source of omega 3 (see here for more information on that).
- Eat something green!
This may sound general, but it’s a great piece of advice. As well as providing essential vitamins and minerals, they also provide a great source of carbohydrates. This could be a salad or fruit (e.g. half an avocado, an apple, some cucumber etc) or cooked vegetables. The options here are vast!
The easy ‘go to’ breakfast (serves 1)
Perfect if you are in a rush. This can be your ‘go to’ breakfast for most of the week.
2-3 boiled, poached or scrambled eggs.
Smoked salmon or smoked mackerel (any fish is fine)
Half an avocado
Omelet (serves 2)
4 eggs (free range, organic)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup chopped spinach
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small avocado, thinly sliced
Whisk the eggs until frothy. Heat oil over medium flame. Add eggs. When the eggs are almost set, layer the spinach over half of the omelet, sprinkle basil and pepper on the other half, and fold one half over the other. Reduce heart. Cover and simmer for one minute. Cut in half, slide onto 2 plates, and garnish with sliced avocado.
Steak and eggs (serves 2)
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
Half a small onion, finely chopped
Half a teaspoon chopped fresh basil
Half a teaspoon dried rosemary
2 ounces Beef Tenderloin Roast, cut into strips
2 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in pan over a medium flame. Add peppers, onions, basil, and rosemary and sauté for 5 minutes.
Layer with beef and continue to sauté one minute. Pour in eggs and stir all ingredients for 2 minutes.
Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Poached eggs on Roasted Veggies (serves 2)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Leftover roasted veggies of your choice
Poach the eggs and place over leftover veg. Squeeze lemon juice over the top.
Wild salmon (serves 2)
2 wild salmon fillets, 4-6 ounces each
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon ground paprika
Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 large red tomato, diced
Steam the salmon for 15 minutes.
Heat oil over a medium flame. Add dill, paprika, pepper, and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Mix in tomato and continue to sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Once the salmon has finished cooking, remove from pan and top with mushroom and tomato mixture.
Quick and easy to put together;
- 400ml water / unsweetened almond milk
- Handful frozen blueberries or raspberries
- Half avocado
- Handful steamed kale
- 1 peeled medium carrot
- 1-2 scoops high quality protein powder
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Half a bell pepper
If you don’t have a decent blender, it’s well worth the investment. Our personal favourite is the NutriBullet! This is my recommendation for busy clients that need something that can be put together quickly.
Action plan – What you need to do right now.
- Empty your cupboards of any cereals, muesli or anything else you may grab on the run that you now know is not ideal. Throw it out. You wont need it anymore.
- Stock your fridge with the foods we’ve just outlined above, depending on your tastes.
- Buy a blender. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but my recommendation would be to invest in a NutriBullet. It will last for years and you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
- Make time in the morning to experiment with different breakfast ideas. Now you know how important breakfast is, there is no excuse!
- Start thinking about what you’re going to have for breakfast the evening before. Make some extra vegetables for dinner and keep them in the fridge in preparation. Make some extra fish or an extra portion of meat. These will make it easier in the morning to avoid the sugary cereals and eat some quality nutrients that your body requires.
We would love to here your thoughts. So if you have any comments or questions, or you simply want to share your favourite healthy breakfast ideas, please leave us a comment!