We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day but with our busy demanding lives, we often find ourselves scratching our heads to think of quick and easy, healthy breakfast ideas.
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Breakfast provides us with our first ‘fuel’ for the day and it’s the time our bodies require nutrients the most—it has been fasting all night, after all. So, choosing wisely is paramount. An optimal breakfast should provide you with a sustained release of energy (think low GI carbs), protein to keep you full and happy until your next meal, good fats to help with satiety and hormone production and it must be low in sugar to support balanced blood glucose levels.
So, how do you even create a super meal like that? It’s a simple four-step process.
Current guidelines suggest 5-7 serves of vegetables per day so it makes sense to start with them at breakfast to ensure that you are getting enough of your RDI. Vegetables support our mineral and fibre requirements and are alkalizing for the body. Add vegetables to your omelette—like sautéed mushrooms, onion, capsicum and baby spinach—pop some avocado, kale and fresh mint into your morning smoothie or pair a cold-pressed, low-sugar juice with your bowl of gut-loving porridge.
Protein provides amino acids (our building blocks) for the body. They’re especially important for brain power, concentration and mental focus. Classic breakfast protein starters include eggs anyway, anyhow (nutritionist’s tip: include the yolk as it’s nutrient-rich but ditch cream or too much oil when you cook them), good quality sugar-free yoghurts—with muesli, seasonal fresh fruit, nuts and seeds—and pea or brown rice protein added to smoothies as a vegan option (check out some of our favourites here).
Find out how to calculate the amount of protein you need here.
Healthy fats help to keep us feeling full as they are last to leave the stomach and provide slow-releasing energy. Some great ways to incorporate healthy fats at breakfast including adding old ‘n’ faithful avocado to toast with eggs, full-fat plain or Greek yoghurt to a healthy granola or porridge, and coconut milk and chia seeds to a smoothie or chia pudding.
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy so including them at every meal (especially the most important meal of the day) is paramount! While traditionally carbohydrates have been the macronutrient cornerstone of breakfast, it doesn’t need to be so. If you are working out in the morning, increasing your carbohydrates can help restore energy levels, for everyone else going in to sit at a desk, choose wisely. Great options include good quality sourdough or sprouted toast with avocado, eggs and sautéed vegetables, an omelette with starchy vegetables including sweet potato and pumpkin, quinoa porridge with yoghurt and berries and good quality muesli with almond milk, nuts and seeds, and a green juice to boot.
Remember even if you are not a ‘breakfast person’ it’s good to have something, even if it’s small to ‘break the fast’ from the night before. A small handful of trail mix, a banana or a smoothie can help fire up that metabolism, replenish blood glucose and provide other essential nutrients to give you the energy you need throughout the day.