Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet it’s also the most commonly skipped one. It gives you energy to last you through your morning, kickstarts your metabolism, helps you concentrate, and having a healthy breakfast regularly makes you less likely to put on weight. So why would you miss it?
Common excuses for missing breakfast
“I have no time” – Simple answer to this, is make time and find a solution that works for you. Microwave porridge sachets take around 90 seconds to make while pouring cereal into a bowl takes even less! If you don’t have 90 seconds plus the time it takes to eat your breakfast, you need to either get up earlier.
“I have to leave for work early and feel sick trying to eat at that time” – Eat something small as soon as you get up, it can be as little as half a glass of juice or half a banana. Then when you get to work and your stomach’s feeling better about the idea, have your breakfast there. Keep a box of cereal at work, make scrambled eggs in the microwave, have some multigrain toast with jam or peanut butter.
“I don’t like breakfast” – Then it’s time to find something that you do like. Aim to eat your breakfast at the same time each day, and try one new thing for a week. If you don’t like it move on and try something else. It may just be that you (and your body!) need to get used to the idea of eating breakfast again, and once you form that habit it may surprise you how much you enjoy it…
Here’s where we should add, when we say breakfast’s important, we don’t mean high salt, high fat hot breakfasts or sugary processed cereals. Wholegrains are good, low-fat is good, natural sugars are best and plenty of fibre is a winner. Here are some healthy, tasty, easy ideas for breakfast to help you out:
1. Muesli with yoghurt and fruit
If you’re not a fan of soggy cereal, this one’s for you. Pick a muesli with low sugar and fat content, and drop a serving of it into your breakfast bowl along with a small pottle of your favourite flavour yoghurt. Mix together so the yoghurt coats the muesli (otherwise it will be dry!). Chop some seasonal fruit into chunks and drop on top, or if you’re strapped for time or fruit, use the tinned stuff. Just make sure if you’re using tinned fruit that it comes in it’s own juice, rather than syrup which will add unnecessary sugar to your meal.
Alternatively, you can try doing it the other way around and have a bigger fruit salad, top it with your yoghurt and sprinkle a few tablespoons of muesli on top!
The last time you had these was probably when you were a kid. Boil an egg for around 4-5 minutes – this should leave it cooked but still quite runny. Toast a piece of wholegrain bread well, and cut into strips that you can dunk in your boiled egg! Soldiers!
3. Porridge (but not the bland kind!)
Whether you’re using pre-weighed sachets or making your own, porridge can be a great start to your day for those of you who are budget conscious, plus it’s great for warming you up on a cold winter morning. Make a serving as per packet directions and ‘dress it up’ yourself by adding a sprinkling of cinnamon and some chopped up pieces of apple or banana.
4. Breakfast banana smoothie
Time to break out that blender – blend together a quarter cup of natural yoghurt, half a cup milk, one banana (peeled, cut into bite-sized chunks), a tablespoon of rolled oats or bran cereal, and a couple of ice cubes. Don’t like bananas? Swap it for another fruit. If you want it a little sweeter, you can add a tablespoon of honey. One other option is to add in a scoop of protein powder – vanilla won’t change the tast of it much, otherwise you can get creative with some other flavours!
5. Healthy muffins
You can prepare these in the weekend, freeze them and take them out as you need them. Search online for whole grain or wholemeal fruit muffin recipes and you’ll find some great ones out there. If you’re having trouble finding some of the ingredients (such as linseed etc.), check the bulk bins or the health food aisle at your local supermarket. Don’t forget you can use fresh fruit, tinned fruit in juice, or get frozen ones (especially good for berries when they are out of season). Just make sure you make small muffins, or eat half a larger one.
6. Raisin toast for a sweet start to your day
If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, get raisin toast – especially if you like hot cross buns as the taste is similar. Top it with a bit of ricotta or cottage cheese for a low-fat option and some fruit if you desire.
7. A healthier hot breakfast with poached eggs
Heat up a nonstick frying pan and cook one or two rashers of chicken bacon (or the leanest looking bacon you can get, and cut off the fat/rind). Cut a raw tomato into wedges and add to your serving plate, or cut up a few mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach to cook up/grill at the same time as your bacon with a pinch of salt and pepper. Get a pot or deep pan of water boiling, carefully break your eggs and slip into the water for 3 minutes (remember that most microwaves have a timer function that is usually very much under-used!). It’s important not to break the egg white around the yolk, as this holds it together. Toast a piece of wholegrain bread, use a slotted spoon to retrieve your eggs, drain off any excess water and place on top of your toast. Arrange your bacon and veges around the outside of it. Yum!
Image / NZ Real Health