We know how it goes: you kick off January, furiously following nutrition resolutions…but by the time March rolls around, efforts have faded. It’s easy to fall back on old habits especially when efficiency is a factor. For this reason, breakfast nutrition is often at risk. We either skip it or we rely on overly processed forms. Love it or hate it, a healthy breakfast needs to happen to set you up right – nutritionally and energetically – for the rest of your day. Here are five great ways to up your breakfast game. We’re pretty sure you’ll find at least one to easily incorporate into your routine. The first two ideas can even be taken to go.
Most people have a favourite smoothie. If you haven’t tried one yet, here’s the base:
- Banana – fresh or frozen
- ½-1 cup greens
- ½ cup fruit & veg
- 1-2 cups liquid – water, coconut milk, almond milk, kefir
- 1-2 TBS of a superfood – i.e. hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, goji berries, coconut, bee pollen, etc.
A high-powered food blender is key to a delicious smoothie. If you can buy yourself a Vitamix, Blendtec or Breville Boss you won’t regret it. But more affordable options include the NutriBullet and Ninja. Amp up the protein factor in this nutritious breakfast by adding a high quality protein powder. A protein-packed smoothie means you won’t be starving an hour later. If you’re out of powder, 1 to 2 TBS of almond butter or a handful of raw cashews work well too. Other smoothie tips:
- Use frozen fruit – it’s faster and saves adding ice.
- Streamline ingredients to better suit your goals, i.e. losing weight or increasing veggie consumption.
- Don’t be afraid of getting creative and experimenting (when you have the time) to find a couple of recipes that you love.
- Try incorporating different ingredients like plain yogurt, spices and avocado (secret creamy factor) to keep things interesting.
Uncooked oatmeal may sound odd but don’t knock it until you try it! Soaking oats helps unlock nutrients and aid in digestion. This nutritious breakfast gets the thumbs up for speed: you literally pour everything in a jar, place in the fridge and then open it when you’re ready to eat. Like a smoothie, you can get creative with combinations. There are tons of variations online, such as this group. Here’s the base:
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- Optional: 2 tbsp dried cranberries, or 1 finely chopped fig
- Topping: 1 banana, thinly sliced and/or 2 tbsp toasted sliced almonds
How easy is this?
- Combine almond milk, oats, chia seeds, honey, vanilla and dried fruit in a 250-mL Mason jar.
- Screw on lid, shake it up and refrigerate overnight.
- Optional: Before digging in with a spoon, top with almonds, banana or other fruit.
If you find yourself with some extra time in the morning, grab some eggs and whip up a protein-packed breakfast with veggies and/or grains. Poaching only takes 4 minutes. Try poached eggs on:
- Avocado toast (don’t forget the whole grain bread)
- Quinoa, steamed squash & avocado
- Sauteed spinach & garlic
- Vegetable hash – chopped onion, potato, bell peppers, tomatoes
Omelets also offer endless variety when you change up the ingredients. We like mushrooms, spinach, turkey and avocado. Be careful with high-fat add-ins such as cheese and bacon.
Make this high-fibre iron-rich breakfast staple even more virtuous when you add chia seeds, hemp hearts and/or flax. Ditch the sugar and cook it up with fruit such as bananas, berries, apples or raisins. If you like oatmeal but don’t have time to cook it in the morning, you can make it the night before and reheat it – without losing any nutritional benefits. Or make your oatmeal in the slow cooker for a steaming hot bowl when you wake up. The healthiest types of oats are steel-cut or old-fashioned (rolled). If you prefer instant oatmeal, choose one without additives like sodium, sugar and flavourings. Since instant oats are more processed, they are not as low on the glycemic index as the other oats.
Enjoy even more delicious breakfast nutrition with a smoothie bowl, essentially a thicker smoothie that’s eaten out of a bowl with a spoon. Typically you add toppings like homemade granola (i.e. low-sugar), muesli, fruit or almond butter drizzle – making it more nutritionally dense than a smoothie. Like its sister, the combinations are endless. Key components to get you started:
- 1-2 parts greens
- 1 part frozen fruit
- 1 part protein
- 1 part healthy fat
- 1/2 part liquid
- Topping ideas: raw nuts, seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, fresh fruit, etc.
Certain ingredients will affect the consistency, so adjust the amount of liquid to suit your taste. Some protein powders, avocado, banana and nut butters will increase the creaminess of the smoothie bowl without relying on dairy. Here’s a recipe for a Green Smoothie Bowl (pictured in this post – wow!) to get you started.