Breakfast is my nemesis. I’m not my best in the early hours, and deciding how to feed myself a well-balanced morning meal is a challenge. I’m basically a coffee-seeking missile before noon.
However, if you’re going to set yourself up for a productive day, eating a solid breakfast is the way to do it. And if your sleepy self can remember one thing about making a power-packed brekkie, it should be this: eat an energy-sustaining balance of protein and fat, two nutrients that are often lacking in our a.m. meals. “We’ve been conditioned to have things like cereal, toast and muffins, which are super carb-loaded and can cause people to have mid-morning crashes that result in cravings,” says healthy eating blogger, author and nutritionist Meghan Telpner. Here are a few breakfast ideas to help you think outside the cereal box:
1. Chia-meal bowl
Swap your regular oatmeal for chia seeds, which are a very good source of dietary fibre and offer 4 grams of protein per 28-gram serving (about two tablespoons). “They have a higher concentration of protein and fat so you feel fuller longer,” Telpner says.
Mix two tablespoons of chia seeds with a half-cup of nut or coconut milk and let set for 20 minutes or overnight. The chia seeds absorb the milk to create a pudding-like texture that makes a great base for fruit, nuts and seeds. Stir in a scoop of nut butter or coconut oil to increase the fat content.
2. Hempseed smoothie
“If you’re going to have a smoothie, you want to get away from the typical mix of banana, orange juice and fat-free yogurt,” advises Telpner. Boost the protein content by adding hulled hemp seeds, which deliver 11 grams of protein per 30-gram (two-tablespoon) serving. Bump up the healthy fat content by choosing a full-fat yogurt or blending in a scoop of coconut oil. Add your favourite fruit and veg for a complete—and quick—morning meal.
3. Virtuous “Nutella” on toast
Look, we all know Nutella is delicious, but it’s a sometimes food, OK? Instead, reach for Telpner’s more nutritious option: blend up cacao powder with butter or ghee (clarified butter used in Indian cuisine), or coconut oil, hemp seeds and honey in your food processor. Spread on quinoa or nut bread toast and eat on your way to work. Bask in jealous stares from fellow commuters.
4. Tofu scramble
Tofu gives you a nice break from eggs and is a good source of protein, offering 11 grams per half-cup serving (126 grams). Sauté in your favourite oil, toss in a bunch of veggies and garnish with avocado for a source of heart-healthy fats.
5. TLT wraps
The T here stands for tempeh, a fermented soybean product that’s a staple in Indonesian diets. Vegetarians and vegans love it as a meat substitute because it’s a good source of protein (31 grams per cup/166 grams). Tempeh’s nutty, almost smoky flavour makes it a great stand-in for bacon.
Telpner recommends marinating tempeh strips overnight in tamari (a milder-tasting soy sauce) and olive oil. In the morning, sauté the strips, wrap in a lettuce leaf with tomato and add a smear of mayo or avocado for creaminess. Tip: If you can’t bring yourself to stand over the stove in the morning, marinated tempeh also tastes great raw.
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