From delicious healthy recipes to the best nutritional advice, we guide you through what should – and shouldn’t – be on your plate this month
Breakfast. It’s probably the most controversial meal of the three. Some people, such as actress Emma Watson, can’t start their day without it, but others claim there are benefits to giving it a miss altogether. So, as a new study has revealed that eating more at breakfast instead of dinner could prevent obesity and high blood sugar, maybe it’s time we all upped our breakfast game to create a perfectly-balanced plate, helping you to kickstart your day the healthy way.
If you’re short on time
“Overnight oats are the perfect breakfast solution if you’re always in a rush in the morning because you can prepare them the night before,” says Rhiannon Lambert, registered nutritionist and author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well (rhitrition.co.uk). “When it comes to your nutrition, oats are a source of soluble and insoluble fibre and protein, helping to keep you feeling full, satisfied and providing slow-releasing energy for the day ahead. There are so many variants to overnight oats, so you won’t get bored of them, plus you can pair them with some fruit for added nourishment. I like to include a sprinkling of flaxseed in mine, combined with some berries and topped off with almond butter.”
- 50g jumbo rolled oats
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp almond or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp sultanas
- 185ml almond milk
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
1. In a bowl, mix the oats, chia seeds, nut butter, maple syrup, sultanas, milk and salt together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning, stir the oat mixture to combine everything. If it’s runny, simply stir in one additional tablespoon of chia seeds and place the mixture back in the fridge until it has thickened up. If the oat mixture is too thick, add a splash of milk and stir to combine.
Extract taken from The mymuybueno Cookbook by Justine Murphy.
For a naturally nutritious alternative, try Delamere Dairy’s award-winning fresh goats’ milk. It’s great in breakfasts, as well as in tea and coffee, smoothies and all your favourite recipes! £1.55 for 1l, available in Asda, Coop, Ocado, Nisa, independent retailers and health stores.
If you’ve finished a workout
“After your workout, your body needs to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow muscle proteins,” explains personal trainer Claire Turpin (conturuk.com). “This recipe is therefore packed with ingredients rich in iron, protein, fibre and flavour for a much-needed energy boost following exercise. Mushrooms are brimming with iron and B vitamins, which play a crucial role in reducing tiredness, fatigue and speed up post-workout muscle repair. Eggs are also winner after exercise for two reasons: they’re high in protein and a great source of many other nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and biotin, which help your body repair and contribute to muscle growth. Kale is king of the superfoods due to its antioxidant content, which is great for the maintenance of healthy blood pressure, managing inflammation post-workout, reducing stiffness, soreness and aiding recovery. The goodness of the onions, tomatoes and garlic, plus healthy fats in this recipe are all beneficial in absorbing these vitamins.”
Portobello mushroom, kale and egg one pot brunch:
- 250g portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g kale, stalks removed and torn into small pieces
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp finely chopped parsley
- Sourdough bread, toasted
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Fry for three to four minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until soft, before adding the garlic and kale. Cook until wilted, then add the tomatoes and stir through. Season with salt and black pepper.
2. Make four small wells in the pan using the back of a spoon, then break one of the eggs into a small cup and pour into one of the wells. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. Cover and leave to cook on a low heat for another three to four minutes until the eggs are just cooked.
Recipe from The Mushroom Bureau
If you’re vegan
“There’s nothing quite like a cooked breakfast and vegans don’t need to miss out on the traditional selections,” says Rhiannon. “Scrambled tofu makes a delicious and healthy alternative to scrambled eggs, plus it’s super simple to prepare. If you have a busy day ahead, scrambled tofu with some spinach and cherry tomatoes in the frying pan takes a matter of minutes to dish up. Like traditional scrambled eggs, it takes on the flavours of the ingredients it’s paired with, making it a really versatile dish. I often season mine with smoked paprika or turmeric. It isn’t just the flavour that you’ll enjoy, as tofu can help contribute towards your protein, iron and calcium intake – all key to supporting a well-balanced diet.”
Scrambled tofu with English muffins:
- 1 pack plain tofu, such as Naked Tofoo
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g baby spinach
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 2 tsp English mustard
- 2 English muffins
1. Crumble the tofu into a bowl until it resembles scrambled egg.
2. Heat a frying pan and add the olive oil. Add the tofu to the pan and fry until it’s lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Next, add the spinach and stir.
3. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add to the pan, stirring well cooking until warmed through.
4. Cut the muffins into halves and toast, then spread with the English mustard. Serve the tofu scramble on top of the muffins.
Recipe from The Tofoo Co.
If you’ve got kids
“Most children benefit from a slow-release energy source in the morning,” says dietitian Sophie Medlin (citydietitians.co.uk). “These almond oat breakfast bars will make a good high-fibre start to the day. Thanks to the addition of brown rice syrup and dates, they have a hit of natural sugars and, with seeds, nuts and coconut oil, they provide a variety of fat sources. Be careful with portion size, as they are very high in energy, but the bars should be pretty filling with all the fibre!”
Almond oat breakfast bars:
- 16 medjool dates
- 200g roasted almonds
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 300g porridge oats
- 200g jumbo oats
- 6 tbsp brown rice syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch of sea salt
1. Place the dates into a food processor, along with two thirds of the oats, the oil, pumpkin seeds, cacao, brown rice syrup and salt. Blend until completely combined.
2. Once mixed, add the last of the oats and the roasted almonds. Give everything another very quick whizz to make sure it’s all combined together.
3. Spoon the mixture onto a lined baking tray and smooth over using a spoon. Place in the fridge to set for at least an hour before cutting into equal bars.
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If you don’t like breakfast
Smoothies are a great introduction to breakfast if you don’t like to consume a lot of food in the morning, as they’re light and quick to make. “Smoothies are a great way to get some extra fruit into your diet if you don’t snack on any throughout the day,” says Sophie. “This breakfast smoothie will give you a boost of fats and slow-release carbohydrates thanks to the fruit and the oats, making it ideal for people who are very active in the morning. This recipe also offers lots of plant compounds, such as antioxidants and polyphenols, which are associated with better health when we eat them regularly. For a better balance, you could add some extra protein from soya or cows’ milk rather than almond milk or, better still, some yoghurt. Add some kale or spinach to give some additional nutrients.”
- Handful of blueberries
- 1 banana
- Handful of raw walnuts
- 1 tbsp cashew butter
- 1 tbsp rolled oats
- 200ml almond milk
- Crushed ice
1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Recipe from Nutribullet
Breakfast myths: busted!
Nutritionist Pixie Turner separates the facts from fiction when it comes to breaking the fast
1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
This isn’t strictly true – all meals are equally important. Some people may find that having a ‘good’ breakfast sets them up for the day, but I would encourage people away from an all-ornothing mentality and not let this one meal ruin their whole day.
2. Skipping breakfast helps you lose or makes you gain weight
There is huge variation between humans and so neither one of these statements are universally true. If you’re hungry in the morning, please eat. If you’re not, you may want to wait a bit.
3. Having white toast for breakfast is pointless, as it’s ‘empty calories’
Firstly, empty calories is a term that needs to go! You need calories (energy) to survive. Secondly, white flour in the UK is fortified with iron, calcium and B vitamins, so you’re getting a good source of those with your toast each time.
4. Savoury breakfasts are healthier
Not necessarily. You could have a breakfast of oats and berries and yoghurt – that would be both delicious and full of nutrients. Of course, savoury breakfasts, such as avocado and eggs on toast, are great too!
5. Only certain foods are breakfast foods
Lies! You can have a savoury grain bowl with leafy greens, chickpeas, tomatoes and eggs for breakfast. You could even eat curry – you can have anything you like!
Pixie Turner is working as a nutritionist for Discover Great Veg (discovergreatveg.co.uk)