Andrea’s breakfast post inspired me to write down some thoughts about eating a healthy breakfast. Just a few months ago, I’d grab a pre-made protein drink from Odwalla or Boultons and run out the door with it, in a style I called eat-while-running away. On arrival at work, I’d stop at Tullys and grab a coffee with soy milk. By lunch time, the lack of a healthy breakfast made me desperate for real food, and I’d eat more of the wrong stuff. The cycle kept repeating itself.
When I started reading labels more closely for sodium content, though, those convenience drinks stopped making it into the shopping basket, and coffee was replaced by tea, which was much more tasty. I started thinking about food in a more wholistic way, more as a series of choices that would blend together to keep my energy balanced throughout the whole day.
My considerations for breakfast are (1) high protein (2) low salt and (3) tasty and nutritious. I just noticed that I like to garnish with strawberries or grapes when I looked at the images. Here are my 10 favorite ways to a healthy breakfast.
- Fabulous fruity oatmeal
- Baked savory frittata
- Flatbread roll-ups
- Divine date loaf
- Living yoghurt
- Rock cakes
- Protein smoothies
- Fresh fruit salad
- Tiny quiches
- Sweet and savory fried rice
1. Fabulous fruity oatmeal
One of the best dishes of oatmeal I had in recent years was at a restaurant. It was a shallow bowl of oatmeal with mango puree and raspberries in the center on top. This started my love affair with fruit in my oatmeal, and not just the usual raisons. I tried fresh fruit in season, little cups of fruit in juice (peaches, pears, oranges), diced prunes and dates, mango slices and bananas. Sometimes, I tried more than one at a time! I stopped adding milk, yoghurt, cream or any dairy to the breakfast. I also stopped adding sweetener most of the time, as the fruit was sweet enough. On the odd occasion, I’d add a little maple sugar, date sugar or honey, depending on what fruit choice I made. If the fruit was not juicy enough on its own, a little mango nectar is a perfect addition.
2. Easy savory frittata
I was first introduced to these by the fabulous Jane. When we were at the ICU, she sent along what she calls egg muffins to help keep me fed on healthy snacks. A couple grabbed from the refrigerator, and taken along in a plastic bag would keep me going all morning. They had some onions and green peppers, garlic powder, pepper and salt. And love of course; love is always the most important ingredient. It took a couple months before I was making my own; they are made in a muffin pan, and can have many optional ingredients. Nowadays, I make a dozen on the weekend in half an hour, and carry them with me for quick snacks on the go. Heated for 30 seconds, two make a perfect breakfast. Savory frittata recipe>
3. Flatbread roll-ups
Almost any flatbread will do for this recipe, depending on what you have on hand. I like fresh corn or flour tortillas, potato flour flatbread, pancakes or crepes, or even the various thin-bread you can get now in most stores. The roll-up is just the medium to keep the ingredients off your fingers. I like using fillings like peanut butter and honey, banana, strawberries and nutella, potato salad, stir fried veges and tofu, vege bolognese, eggs and cheese, leftovers of various kinds – mashed potatoes with chicken breast and tomato for example.
4. Divine date loaf
One of my favorites from childhood. Date loaf or date bread is tasty, nutritious, and full of bliss. It has dates, molasses, date sugar, flour, egg and butter, though not in that order. My sister has a great post on how to make it here. Delicious for breakfast, or an in-between meal snack. It is also easy to eat slices on the road, while driving. Divine date loaf recipe>
5. Living yoghurt
I’m a big fan of yoghurt with live cultures, especially probiotics. It helps balance your stomach, which is perfect after a night where you stayed up too late, or ate weird food the day before. I like to add fresh sliced fruit, berries and a little local honey for the burst of flavor and for color. Colorful foods wake up my senses in the morning. Usually, this is paired with a protein drink made from fresh juice and WPI (whey protein isolate) for the energy.
6. Rock cakes
I know, that sounds like an odd name for a breakfast food – rock cakes. However, it is the Australian name for scones with dried fruit in them. If you are making scones and the dough gets overworked, the scones will not be as light as what Americans call biscuits, and which we Aussies call scones. So stick some golden raisons, chopped dates or fruit peel in them, and serve with butter and jam. A drizzle of honey adds joy.
7. Protein smoothies
Simple and delicious. I make these every morning, and take one to my sweetie to help him wake up. I found that protein wakes my brain up faster than tea or coffee, though tea in the morning is a must for the day. I like orange, guava, mango and pineapple juice, and use some or all as a start and about 18 oz. We like Whey Protein Isolate, or WPI, as it dissolves completely. We get it from Super Supplements, though my sister tells me she also found it in a health food store in Sydney. Mix it up with a blender, or shake it in one of those handy mix bottles with the round ball in it. Serves two. Optional additives are vegetable juices, a blended banana, flax seed oil or wheat germ. The juice gives an energy boost, and the protein sustains you through the morning. One thing to keep in mind is to use whole juices, rather than extracts, and if you fresh squeeze your fruit, it’s like a taste of paradise.
8. Fresh fruit salad
All the texture, flavor and delight to the senses. Fresh fruit, in season, is a fabulous way to begin the day. Don’t forget to include baby tomatoes (also a fruit) in the mix, with edible flowers if you like them. One of my favorite ways to enjoy fruit salad is to prepare a batch for a few days, slice up cheese ahead of time and serve the cheese on the side.
9. Tiny quiches
These small quiches are just the same as large ones, only cuter and made in a tiny muffin pan. Colleen’s pastry recipe is a good choice for the crust, nice and thin. Add mushrooms, scallions, veges or salmon and bacon if that’s how you roll. Mix the eggs up with heavy cream for a rich taste, and cap it with grated cheese. Quick and easy once you have the pastry made, and you can make pastry in batches to freeze. Cook in a 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. While a few of these are great for breakfast, keeping some on hand is helpful for casual guests or afternoon tea as well.
10. Sweet savory fried rice
Fried rice is just as good for breakfast as it is for dinner. As a dish, it started life as a way to use up leftovers like day-old rice, odds and ends of vegetables, plus whatever spices you have on hand. When you take the notion of good coconut oil, sweet ingredients like corn, zucchini, maui onions and some crushed pineapple, and add golden raisons and an egg, it’s just about the perfect breakfast. Serve over wilted baby greens and, if you’re adventurous, stir in a nice big spoonful of jam. Fried rice recipe>