I love breakfast, the first meal of the day, whether I eat it early or late in the morning, it’s always my favourite meal of the whole day. Breakfast literally means ‘break-a-fast’! You have been fasting for usually around 12 hours and now it’s time to give your body some much needed nutrients and liquids. A lot of people are genuinely not hungry in the morning, mostly due to the fact that they ate a large meal late at night, perhaps had a few drinks, or they’ve snacked until bedtime, hence by the time they wake up – they’ve really only fasted for perhaps 6 to 7 hours and their tummy is literally full from the night before because they’ve been lying down doing nothing!
When this happens, holding off on breakfast is not a bad thing and waiting two or three hours until you are genuinely hungry will help with weight-loss and more importantly allow your body to do all its essential repairs unhindered. If we are eating late at night, close to bedtime, on turning in for the night, the body gets busy trying to process this ‘late fuel-up’ and can’t concentrate on what it really likes to do when we rest, renew cells, boost the immune system, and other medical and magical things.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about eating as soon as you wake up, to for e.g ‘boost your metabolism’ but after reading the ‘Fast Diet’, by Dr Michael Mosely, regarding the benefits of fasting and also Sarah Wilson’s, ‘I quit Sugar’, who is a fan of overnight fasting – using the hours you are sleeping plus a few in the morning to fast, we’ve realised that actually we don’t need to eat, just because it’s breakfast time, lunch time, or dinner time: we can listen to our own bodies signals. Occasional fasting overnight for 12 to 14 hours is actually beneficial and waiting until you are genuinely hungry is good. When was the last time you woke up hungry, belly rumbling?
If you ate your last meal at 7pm and nothing else passes your lips until 630am, then by 7am you’ll be ready for something and a good nutritious breakfast can set you up for the rest of the day, but what to eat can be crucial to your food choices later in the day and your energy levels throughout the day. Our first meal is really important and one which the food manufacturers have latched onto: we now have a whole aisle in the supermarket dedicated to cereals, and cereal-related add-ons! The only other aisles with such a big selection are the chips and soft drinks aisles, which says to me, that breakfast is big business, hence the shelf space afforded to it! The cereal in the boxes is probably as nutritious for you as the cardboard box itself, it’s cheap to make and creates mega profits for the food companies!
Most breakfast offerings are full of sugar, bad oils, dried fruit, more sugar (think Maltose/Dextrose etc), toasted and highly processed flakes – not what you want to fuel your body with first thing in the morning. A lot of breakfast options are also actually ‘desserts in disguise’ and our ‘sweet tooths’ are spiked from the word go, causing a crash in our energy levels within the hour.
The latest craze in breakfast are ‘breakfast bars’: these are like cookies with your coffee, full of the ingredients below – not really the food of champions. Fancy a muffin instead, well Starbucks have a great selection, but they also come loaded with sugar, fat and lots of other goodies!…. Have a squint at what is in these little ‘delights’.
Belvita Cinnamon Breakfast Biscuits:
(9 grams of sugar per biscuit but I’d need 3 of these to feel satiated, they are tiny!) See ingredients below:
WHOLE GRAIN BLEND (CRACKED BUCKWHEAT, ROLLED OATS, RYE FLAKES), ENRICHED BLEACHED FLOUR [WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], CANOLA OIL, SUGAR, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, RAISIN PASTE, POLYDEXTROSE, WHEAT STARCH, GLYCERIN, INVERT SUGAR, CORNSTARCH, MOLASSES, BAKING SODA, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE (IRON), NIACINAMIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN MONONITRATE! (VITAMIN B1).
Starbucks Bountiful Blueberry Muffins:
(29grams of sugar per muffin and if you go for a low fat one, then you’ll get 37grams of sugar in one hit!) Check out ingredients below:
Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), blueberries, sugar, eggs, water, butter (milk), contains 2% or less of the folowing: canola oil, baking powder (calcium acid pyrophophate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate), nonfat milk, cellulose gum, vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest (lemon peel, sugar, lemon oil), modified corn starch, natural flavor, xanthan gum.
Years ago I used to be a Starbucks girl, popping in for my morning ‘skinny Latte’ and ‘bran muffin’, thinking I was eating a really healthy breakfast, when in fact I was probably consuming 60 to 70% of my recommended daily amount of sugar in one go and most of it was ‘added sugar’.
I still love a coffee and a muffin in the morning, but I now bake my own with a recipe which is literally ‘breakfast in a muffin’, giving you so much nutrition, taste and texture, without all the added sugar and bad oils!. You can freeze these.
Breakfast muesli muffins
Makes 10 or 12 mini versions
Preheat oven to 160 C.
200 g (2 cups ) rolled oats
125 g (1 cup ) wholemeal spelt flour
25 g (1/4 cup) ground flaxseed (linseed) – LSA would do the trick, I used sunflower seeds and ground them down in the food processor.
80 g (½ cup) raisins
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup natural yoghurt
60 ml olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine oats into a bowl with linseed, raisins, yoghurt, oil, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, honey and eggs.
Soak for 10 minutes to allow oats to soften.
Add 1 grated apple with the skin and juice that comes from grating.
Add the spelt flour and mix through lightly to form your muffin batter.
Spoon into muffin tins that are lined with muffin cups.
Sprinkle with oats and place into the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes at 160 C
Remove from the oven.
Lightly brush the apple tops with a little honey.
Serve and enjoy.
NOTES: For a gluten free friendly Muesli Muffin, substitute the oats with rolled quinoa and the wholemeal spelt with almond meal.
Below are a few more of our favourite ways to 'break-a-fast':
Slice of sour dough toast with nut butter and sliced banana – good if you are rushed.
Porridge with grated apple or pear, chopped nuts and seeds, cinnamon, chopped ½ a banana and topped with full fat yoghurt and blueberries.
Slice of sour dough with mashed avocado and feta.
Slice of sour dough with 1 poached egg, tomatoes, avocado and heaps of spinach.
Scrambled eggs with chopped spinach, chopped smoked salmon and chopped herbs: served with chopped tomatoes and avocado.
Bircher Muesli – perfect for summer. Leave 2 cups of oats soaking overnight in the fridge. Soak oats in coconut water, or a mix of milk (your choice of milk) and juice from a real orange (I make almond milk by adding ½ cup of almonds to food processor with 1 cup of water – blend until it’s white). I also add orange zest, cinnamon, grated apple, grated carrot and ½ cup of full fat yoghurt. Serve the next morning with blueberries or chopped banana.
Morning smoothie: 1 cup of water (more if needed) handful of spinach, 1 tsp of cinnamon, ½ cup of mixed berries, 1 lime or ½ a lemon, 1 chopped apple, ½ an avocado, handful of almonds, chopped cucumber and celery. Blend.
Beans and Eggs on toast: In a big saucepan add coconut oil and fry 1 x onion chopped in a tsp of chilli flakes, turmeric and cumin. Add salt and pepper. Add 1 x chopped red pepper, 1 x can of chopped tomatoes, 1 x Tbsp of honey and 1 x can of white beans. Let it all bubble on a low heat for 10 minutes. Make 4 holes in the mixture and break four eggs into the holes. Pop a lid on the top and let the eggs cook in the tomato stew. Serve with chopped coriander on sour dough bread with grated parmesan.