I don’t know if you’d call these “recipes per say,” just food items and simple ingredients put together that I like to eat for breakfast that I thought I’d share. So I’d like to refer back to my post about Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules. When it came to breakfast I found I could tick the majority of the boxes just with that meal alone:
- Rule #3 Eat protein at every meal, or stay hungry & grouchy
- Rule #5 Eat 30-50g of fibre a day
- Rule #6 Eat apples and berries every single day
- Rule #7 No carbs after lunch (in other words, YES to carbs for breakfast)
- Rule #8 Read food labels so you know what you are eating
- Rule #9 Stop guessing about portion size
- Rule #10 No more added sweetners (almost!)
- Rule #13 Get rid of fast food and fried food
- Rule #14 Eat a real breakfast
- Rule #15 Make your own food
- Rule #16 Banish high salt foods
I think the first thing that has helped me is I have NEVER missed breakfast. Ever. I love breakfast. When I meet people who don’t eat breakfast I can’t help but tilt my head and look confused like a sad bloodhound. I don’t get you people. Theres so many great choices! Some people might say, “I don’t have time, Im too busy..” You don’t have time to eat? Look, we all have been given the same gift of time, we all have 24 hours in a day. If you’re not prioritising breakfast I wonder what you are prioritising? Kids? Facebook? Do you find yourself turning into an emotional b*ch by 12pm? Ever wondered why? You didn’t eat breakfast! Breakfast is fuel. Why don’t we fuel ourselves better? If you say, “Im not hungry for breakfast.” Trust me, if you follow Rules #7, 9, 18 &19, you’re going to shortly finding yourself wanting breakfast. My husband will tell you right off the bat, if I don’t eat on time I get HANGRY.
The one thing that has made my breakfast routine a bit different from others is my thyroid meds. I have to fast 1 hr after taking my pill otherwise it won’t work. This is a total bummer but it pretty much means when I wake, my pill and water is the first thing I take and my breakfast is the last. On weekdays, I’ll often prep my breakfasts in a carry container so I can eat once Im at my desk at work.
Lastly, when it comes to breakfast, Im very much a person of habit. With dinners Im adventurous but breakfast I have the same list of breakfast meals I happily rotate every week (with minor variations depending on the season). The only remaining thing I keep in mind, while using the skinny rules AND MyFitnessPal, I typically aim for breakfast (incl coffee) to be about 400-450 cals. Here are my breakfasts:
- Porridge/oatmeal (in winter): 1/2 cup quick oats, 3/4 cup water, pinch of salt, 1Tbsp of protein powder, 100g of fresh, frozen or canned fruit (drained, try to find the ones where its packed in water not a sugar syrup) & 1/2 cup 2% or skim milk. I often do 50:50 of fruit combo’s like peach & blueberry, apple & blueberry, apple & raspberry, mango & raspberry, kiwifruit and raspberry. You could heat it up in a saucepan the ‘proper’ way as my Mum says but not even I have time for that (nor cleaning another pot). Just heat it up in the microwave. Now heres the precursor – keep an eye on it! No one likes exploding porridge! Trick is – cook for 2 mins then take it out, give it a good stir, then heat it up a final time for 1 min. If it looks like its gonna explode, pause, take it out and stir! Then continue cooking again. And for goodness sake use a deep bowl and have a tea towel ready because it will be hot. If you use frozen fruit like me, heat the fruit in a small ceramic or glass bowl for 1 min then add to porridge. Add the milk in at the very end. I add the protein powder in because without it, I don’t make it to lunch, instead my stomach growls at 11am and that is seriously annoying.
- Overnight Oats (in summer): 1/4 cup quick oats, 1/4 cup of chia seed, 1oog natural yogurt, 1/4 cup 2% or skim milk and 100g of fruit. Optional: 1Tbsp protein powder, ground flaxseed, hemp hearts, unsweetened coconut, chopped nuts, honey or maple syrup. here, here and here. Try to avoid the more dessert types you find online ie snickers overnight oats?? Who are you kidding.
- Muesli/Granola Parfait: 1/2 cup “PC omega 3 fruit, nut & seed” granola, 120g natural yogurt (I use Astro 2% fat kind) and 100g fruit. Optional: 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree to 1/4 cup granola with strawberries. Try the recipe here. It is seriously delicious! Regarding yogurt, I actually tend to stay away from the “greek” stuff. Honestly, its been over priced, overly thickened and overly sweetened. Its also lacking whey, which is what makes a yogurt a bit runny in the first place and whey is protein! Thats what they make the protein powder from! Don’t ask me how. Also I like the PC omega granola, because when I was looking for a healthy, as little processed as possible, sugar free, salt free muesli/granola in the breakfast cereal aisle, this was the best I found. Ive tried making my own but I haven’t gotten the knack yet. Just so you know, it is the ONLY cereal I now eat besides Weetbix.
- Weetbix (NZ), Weetabix (Canada): 2x weetbix bricks, 1/2 cup of milk, 100g fruit. Weetabix is essentially a British made cereal brick made out of wheat and typically nothing else which is why its so darn healthy. In the world of North American candied cereal you can imagine this never sees the commercial light of day. Ive been living in Canada for over 5 years now and I have never met a Canadian who has heard of or tried weetabix. But guess what guys! Its in the breakfast aisle! Probably on the bottom shelf. Overshadowed by that evil box of Reeses Pieces “cereal.” Don’t shun it! Hear me out! This breakfast food’s New Zealand counterpart – Weetbix is the cereal EVERY kiwi kid has eaten for breakfast. To say its a huge part of kiwi culture is an understatement. Its the #1 breakfast food in New Zealand. Kiwi kids actually take pride in the amount of weetbix they can eat in one sitting. There are entire recipe books devoted to what you can make out of a humble weetbix. Not liking Weetbix in NZ is practically unpatriotic. It tastes like nothing, yes but thats what the fruit is for. I make no apologies for it, just because you spent your Canadian childhood killing your natural tastebuds with factory made fructose glue and being brainwashed into thinking a poptart was a breakfast food. Since I have yet to find Weetbix here in Canada, I must resign myself to the British stuff, and in all honesty, the taste is similar. When it comes to getting in your fibre quote, THIS is the cereal. And if you ever have a case of constipation or gastro issues. Don’t grab the ginger ale or pepto – eat weetbix/weetabix! Throw in a bit of cooked apple and fresh kiwifruit and you’ll be comfortably having the best bowel movement of your LIFE in approximately 2-3 hours. Oh and the All Blacks rugby team eat it. Looks like it does them good LOL.
- DIY Bagel BELT Sandwich: 1x toasted 12 grain bagel or English Muffin or 2x slices of thick grainy toast, 1x egg (whisked with a pinch of salt and pepper), 2x tomato slices, lettuce, 25g edam/swiss/cheddar cheese, 1x slice of cooked bacon (the bacon can be easily omitted). Here in Canada is a fast food coffee/sandwich/donuts place called Tim Hortons. I think the coffee is disgusting and I avoid donuts like the plague (except a rare honey crueller, those are yum). But their breakfast BELT sandwich is soooo good! But I always ask them to omit the cheese. Why? Because its processed cheese which means its ladened with salt. And yes I know the bacon is salted too so this sandwich ought to be treated as a rare treat. Ive tried substituting proper bacon for turkey bacon – its disgusting don’t do it. Most of the time I don’t include bacon in my sandwich so really my version is a Bagel ELT sandwich. Sometimes if Im even more super prepared and organised, I make bulk egg white mini omelettes for my sandwiches so that I can save the amount of eggs I eat and increase protein and vitamin K: 460ml carton of cage free egg whites, 3x eggs (whisked), 2 cups baby spinach (chopped), pinch of salt and pepper, 3x green onion (chopped), 1/2 cup of 2% or skim milk. Makes 10.
- Boiled egg & avocado on toast: 2x slices of brown or multigrain toast, 1/2 avocado (sliced or mashed), pinch of salt, pepper & paprika, 1x boiled egg (sliced of mashed). No need to explain this one. Its yummy trust me. But if you don’t like avocado you can try things like pickle relish, low mayo with honey mustard. Theres a ton of interesting egg on toast ideas out there. Or if you just like egg on toast, poach it instead of boil it.
- Peanut Butter & Banana on toast: 2x slices of brown or multigrain toast, 2 Tbsp natural unsalted/unsugared peanut butter, 1x sliced banana approx 100g (optional: pinch of cinnamon). Ive heard the ‘Adam’s’ brand of natural peanut butter is the best but Im cheap so I just buy the Kraft version. If you’re not used to the taste of natural peanut butter as I originally was, add just a tiny pinch of salt and sugar. For me, it took me about 2 weeks to get used to it and now I love it! This sandwich is probably the breakfast I eat the most since I can make it in under 3 mins and its filling.
- Cinnamon, Oat and Cottage Cheese Waffles: 1/2 cup quick porridge oats, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 1x egg (+ 2x egg whites or 62g egg whites), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (optional: 1 tsp honey). Makes 1 large waffle. Double the recipe makes 3 medium waffles. I mix these ingredients in my nutri-bullet a nifty little blender I have and pour into a pre heated (at medium) waffle iron. They come out perfect every time. This recipe has a huge amount of protein in it and it got me experimenting with cottage cheese. You can add peanut butter or sliced fruit. Heck you could make this waffle and do the above recipe but use the waffle instead of toast! Or you could omit the vanilla, cinnamon and honey and use it instead of an English mufflin or bagel. Down in the Southern US, they eat chicken with waffles so you could probably treat them as a blank canvas. Go on pinterest, theres so many healthy waffle recipes to try! Here, here and here.
- DIY Mexican Breakfast Burrito: 1x mini omelette, sliced into strips (see recipe below Bagel BELT), 1x large multigrain tortilla, 1/2 cup cooked black beans, 1/2 cup diced roasted sweet potato/pumpkin/kumara, 1/4 cup no salt/low salt salsa, optional: pinch of cumin, paprika, chili. Spread all ingredients in middle of tortilla and wrap tightly then grill on medium heat in a dry fry pan. I like to use my griddle pan as it gives a nice barbecued look.
- Spinach & Leftover Veg Omelette: 1x egg (any egg whites if you have any), 1 Tbsp cold water per egg, pinch of salt and pepper, leftover veges (usually withered in my fridge) like onion, green onion, spinach, capsicum/bell pepper. If you don’t know how to make an omelette check this link out. Personally, I HATE wasted food. While I enjoy an income now where food poverty is not an issue for me, I know that wastage of food is a massive problem in the West. And I always remind myself of my one meal a day days in 2009 (in college) when I considered an egg for breakfast as a luxury. The trick with leftover veges or fruit is to use them for breakfast. Cook whatever is left with some oil and spices, add an egg = breakfast! Although fruit in an omelette is a bit odd, the same strategy for old or bruised fruit can be used as well to avoid waste. Take that bruised banana or apple, cut out the heavily bruised bit (mild bruising just leave it there), peel and dice, stew it with a wee bit of honey or brown sugar and add to the the porridge/parfait recipes up top!
Well thats about it I suppose. I take these recipes and I pretty much rotate them over and over again. I tend to eat porridge a lot in winter and cold overnight oats in the summer, the burritos are great particularly in Autumn and the parfaits are great in late Spring when all the local fresh berries start showing up here in British Columbia. You don’t have to use the exact ingredients especially if stuff like berries are hard to get. Utilize the Summer & Autumn months and good sales and bulk cook and freeze stuff like beans, stone fruit, berries. Buy the big bags of no name oats. Grow your own spinach in an outdoor container, substitute spinach for kale in the winter (its more hardy but just as nutritious). If you’ve got community gardens where you live check those out for surplus and ask to take some goodies in exchange for doing a bit of gardening/weeding. In my hometown, the Red Zone (abandoned earthquake properties) is known to have a ton of goodies like plums, lemons, walnuts, apricots. Check out the facebook page of Otautahi Urban Foraging if you’re curious. Here in BC, blackberry bushes are a nuisance but boy is picking the fruit worth it! Theres great U Pick berry places, my favorite is Krause Berry Farm. Lastly, check out Craigslist and TradeMe websites for people selling or giving away their surplus of fruit and veg. The best deal I ever found was a guy giving away giant bags of ripe quince!
Final tips for breakfast:
- Keep it high fiber, high protein (you should after all, be breaking your fast!)
- Replace processed sugar with fruit. If you’re used to eating a ton of sugar, be aware of migraine like headaches. Thats a sign of a sugar addiction. Wean yourself slowly if needed (as if your quitting cigarettes)
- Fruit has great fiber, especially in the skin so keep it on if possible.
- Those cereals that say “real fruit” on them. LIES, ITS ALL LIES. Even the dried fruit in cereal is processed and covered in fructose. Look at the ingredient list on the package. The items are listed in order of quantity. So if you see the words sucrose/glucose/fructose near or at the front of the list, that means 80+% of the contents is sugar.
- Avoid heavily salted foods where possible and season your food yourself.