This week I want to look at more practical ways of eating well. About 4 week ago I looked at some snack ideas and this week I thought I would look at the most important meal of the day breakfast and some easy healthy ideas that you could try.
What’s a healthy diet?
I am always being asked for ideas so that people can see the theory of good eating in practice. Before I do that though I think it might be a good idea to remind ourselves what constitutes a ‘healthy’ diet. My earlier blog, way back when at the beginning of my blogging days looked at the main food group and the importance of including each one in our diets on a daily basis (Basic Intro to Healthy Eating)
Basically these groups are protein foods (meat, eggs, fish, dairy foods, peas, beans and lentils). Foods containing vitamins and minerals (fruits and vegetables) the complex carbohydrates foods (whole grain foods like rice, oats, flour and quinoa) and finally, the essential fats like omega 3 (oily types of fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and their oils).
Each of these groups as you will see form the link have important roles to play in keeping us as healthy as possible. I have also written on several occasions about the importance of keeping our blood sugar stable and how protein foods eaten at each meal help us to do this.
So back to breakfast
With this understanding in mind I have some breakfast ideas which are easy, contain protein and also some fruit or vegetables so that we start the day with a helping hand at trying to eat 8 – 10 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. To include some at breakfast gets us off to a good start. Here are some ideas…….
Sugar free muesli with fresh chopped fruit of your choice or some berry fruits, sprinkled with some seeds like pumpkin, flax seed and sunflower seeds topped with live bio natural yogurt and a teaspoon of honey as an option. You can buy the seeds ready mixed to make life easier. They will increase the protein and also contain the essential fats that we need, add texture and fibre to the meal.
Porridge made with almond milk topped with a sliced banana or some berry fruits to add sweetness. If you would like more sweetness add a squirt of agave syrup. The almond milk will add some protein. The oats are a complex or slow releasing carbohydrate which should help keep you sustained.
Fresh fruit salad with live natural bio yogurt and cinnamon. This is a lighter breakfast. The cinnamon has been shown to help stabilise blood sugar as it enhances the role of the hormone insulin that we excrete from our pancreas to help regulate blood sugar levels. Fruit is full of vitamins and fibre and phytonutrients but can elevate blood sugar if eaten in large quantities because it contains fructose. The cinnamon will help to prevent the fructose in the fruit from being a problem.
Dried fruit salad soaked overnight and eaten with live bio yogurt topped with seeds and ground nuts like almonds. This is delicious as the juice from the soaked fruit adds natural sweetness and moisture. Dried fruit that can be soaked is handy to have in the store cupboard. It will also add fibre
simple beans on wholemeal toast with a cooked tomato. The beans add the essential protein and of course fibre and the tomato gets you off to a good start with the daily vegetables quota.
Poached egg on toast again with a cooked tomato or some shitake mushrooms lightly fried in a little olive oil. The egg is the obvious protein. Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to boost the immune system see link blog 15.
A fruit smoothie. Use any mixture of fruits you want choosing probably 2 or 3 portions and blend them up with some oatly milk or rice milk or almond milk adding enough for the consistency that you want. To this add 1 -2 tablespoons of ground almonds. The almonds add some extra protein to buffer the effect of the fructose sugar in the fruit. The almonds are also filling so this will sustain you longer. Experiment with different fruits. I personally enjoy a banana with an apple cored and chopped before blending and a handful of raspberries. If I have not got fresh raspberries I add frozen ones to the blender straight from the freezer.
Rye bread toasted with cashew nut butter or almond butter and a banana. Rye bread is preferred by some as wheat can cause bloating. The nut butters add the essential protein element to the meal.
An omelette with mushrooms and grilled tomatoes with a slice of wholemeal toast. More substantial and possibly preferred at the weekend. The omelette can be flavoured with fresh herbs if you have them available. Use a little olive oil for cooking.
Drop scones with blueberries and a little agave syrup. These freeze really well so can be made in bulk and a few brought out of the freezer when needed. As they do not contain sugar they could go sweet or savoury. I have recommended blueberries and agave syrup but they would go equally as well with some scrambled egg or for the occasional treat some smoked salmon.
You will need
5oz/150g of wholemeal flour or ½ white and ½ wholemeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg beaten with 4fl oz/120mls of oatley or rice milk
1 oz/25g of melted butter.
- Simply put the flour and baking powder in a bowl and slowly beat in the egg and milk mixture and melted butter to form a thick batter. (note that if you added more milk then you could make pancakes rather than drop scones)
- Heat a frying pan or griddle and grease it lightly with a little olive oil. I usually pour a bit of oil in the pan and then rub it around with some kitchen paper.
- Drop spoonfuls of mixture in to the pan and leave until they start to bubble on the top. This usually takes about 1 minute Then flip them over and leave for another minute or so until they are golden brown. They are then ready to eat or freeze.
Breakfast bars. These are great for those of you who enjoy a bit of cooking. They store well in an airtight tin and once made make a really quick breakfast for days when you may not have the energy to do much. They are also good as a pick me up snack during the day. Have a go
You will need: A shallow cake tin about 8x10” greased ad the oven on gas 5/elec. (190’C). 425grm/16 oz of dates
200mls/7fl oz of apple juice
100g of smooth organic peanut butter
250g/8 oz porridge oats
6 oz/150g of wholemeal flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon.
- Put the dates and the juice in a pan and cook gently until the dates are soft. Puree in a blender.
- Take ½ of the puree out of the blender and leave to one side. Add the peanut butter to the remaining dates and whiz together.
- In a bowl add the flour, oats, BP and flax seeds.
- Put in the date mix and work it together until it forms a sticky dough.
- Put ½ the dough in the tin and flatten out. Spread over the reserved dates. Then scatter lumps of the remaining dough mix over the top and press by hand to cover the date layer completely.
- Bake 20 – 25 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into bars.
I hope that gives you some inspiration and that you try some of these ideas.
Blog originally written by Caroline October 2012
You may also be interested in reading these earlier blogs by caroline
Basic intro to health eating blog ( 2012)
Protein blog ( 2012)