Thinking outside of the cereal box
The ‘Standard Australian diet’ (SAD) usually consist of cereal for breakfast. And why not? Its an easy and quick breakfast option- all we need to do is add milk. Clever marketing means that many have the mistaken belief that it is a healthy option. ‘High fibre’, ‘wholegrain’, ‘nutrient rich’, ‘high protein’ are common claims made on the label. Often the boxes depict pictures of healthy and sporty people. Perfect breakfast for someone interested in their health right?
WRONG! There is not a single commercially processed breakfast cereal that I suggest you eat. All are highly processed and full of added sugar. The grains themselves have been heavily processed and refined, often with the husks, fibres, germ and hull all removed. This might make for a smoother texture when eaten, but also means the bulk of the fibre, protein, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins have been lost. The heavy heating used to turn the grain into its cereal form (such as a ‘flake’ or ‘bix’) will also lead to nutrient loss.
So the question I am often asked is ‘ So what do I eat”? Have a read of the ideas below to give you some breakfast inspiration.
– Oats for breakfast are a good choice. They are high in fibre and protein and are excellent for cardiovascular health. Look for whole oats and avoid the flavoured varieties. You can have them plain with some yoghurt and fruit, or make porridge.
– Bircher muesli. I understand that not everyone has time to cook themselves porridge for breakfast. Bircher can be made in batches and the soaking of the oats means they are soft to eat. Soak oats overnight in freshly squeezed apple juice, milk or yoghurt. You can add nuts, seeds and dried fruit to the mix for more flavour. Serve with some fresh fruit and yoghurt. Great breakfast for the kids.
– Make you own muesli. Try whole oats, puffed brown rice, puffed amaranth, spelt flakes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, gojo berries and sultanas.
– Super grains- Amaranth, buckwheat, puffed rice, spelt, rye and flaked corn (NOT corn flakes) can all be found in health food stores. You could enjoy these on their own, or mix together to make your own homemade muesli. Be sure to add nuts and seeds.
– Scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, basil/tomato and mushrooms/parsley and chives/ smoked salmon with 1 slice of rye/spelt/kamut/buckwheat or burgen toast is a yummy breakfast- might be best on the weekends when you have more time to enjoy it.
– Fruit salad alone won’t sustain you for long, but add some protein to it and you will last hours. Try yoghurt, low fat ricotta or cottage cheese.
– Breakfast frittata- easy option as you can make one batch to last the next few days. Be creative with flavours and add lots of vegetables- smoked salmon, tuna, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, sweet potato, corn, peas, pumpkin and LOTS of fresh herbs- chilli, parsley, basil, turmeric
– Pancakes don’t have to be unhealthy. They can be made using flour (I suggest buckwheat or spelt for added nutrition), egg and milk. Top them with fresh fruit, ricotta and agave syrup for a nutritious breakfast. Make extra mini pancakes to have as pikelets with similar toppings as a snack.
– Brown rice can be a yummy breakfast. If having with dinner, make extra for breakfast the next day. Sauté some mushies, red onion and baby spinach. Add some tamari for flavour and sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
– Brown rice can also make a sweet porridge. Gently warm on the stove with some soy/cows/almonds milk, cinnamon and mixed berries.
– Toast- such as a wholegrain (burgen bread), spelt, kamut, rye breads or sourdough breads. Toast is a good option, but it’s all about what you put on top. Honey, jam or vegemite is not going to cut it. Every meal should be seen as an opportunity to add extra nutrients to you day. Toppings can include avocado/eggs/cottage cheese and tomato/goats cheese and tomato/ tuna and alfalfa/sardines/homemade bakes beans/ smoked salmon and avo
– Scrambled tofu- Silken tofu with veggies- mushrooms, shallots, spinach, tomato
– Breakfast power smoothie-excellent for people on the go. Add 250mls milk (vary cow milk, soy, rice, almond, oat and quinoa milks), berries, half a banana, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, oat bran and crack in a raw egg. Blend, and you have a quick and highly nutritious breakfast.
– Breakfast doesn’t need to make sense! Use leftover veggies from dinner along with some haloumi and/or smoked salmon and/or marinated tofu.
This recipe is great for those with digestive issues. It also provides a nutritious breakfast meal. It can consist of all or a combination of the following seeds and nuts.
Flaxseeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, slippery elm, oat bran.
Grind seeds in a food processor to the consistency of coarse coffee. Mix seeds and brans together in equal quantities. Use immediately or make up a batch for one week at a time. The mix can also be frozen in batches. Add 2-3 dessert spoons of the mixture to ½ cup low fat yoghurt along with some raw grated apples or stewed fruits. In winter, the seed mix can be added to porridge.
Baked spinach and egg birds nest
1 cup spinach
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Wilt the spinach in a heated saucepan and squeeze excess water out. Make into 3 bird’s nest shape and crack an egg into each one. Sprinkle cheese and black pepper onto top of egg. Bake in oven (180oC) for 15 minutes or until eggs are set.
Roast vegetables with smoked salmon
3 handfuls of left-over or freshly baked vegetables e.g. zucchini, capsicum, eggplant
2 handfuls rocket leaves
135 g smoked salmon (1 palm size portion)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Serve hot vegetables with salmon and rocket. Drizzle with lemon juice and add cracked pepper to taste.