Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or so that’s what we are told. As a nutritionist, I believe every meal has its merit and is incredibly beneficial for nourishing cells, tissues, organs and balancing blood sugar. Breakfast, however, sets the tone for the entire day. It wakes up your digestive system, sends glucose to your cells and your brain and fuels you.
Most people are in a hurry in the morning, rushing to work and out the door. They grab a quick sugary muffin, a cup of coffee and after two hours they crash, feel tired, fatigued, unfocused and hungry. That’s when people tend to go for another coffee, another sugary and carb-filled treat and the cycle continues. The key is to eat a breakfast that will give you clarity for the day. A perfect breakfast consists of good protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. You don’t need to spend a lot of time in the morning making a healthy breakfast, instead experiment with the five fast and easy breakfasts below.
1. Chia Pudding
This breakfast pudding has chia seeds, which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. The fiber in chia seeds will expand in your stomach and signal your brain that you are full. It will keep you nicely satiated for hours. It also has walnuts to help improve memory and wake up the cognitive process — very important for the morning!
*make this breakfast the night before
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup milk alternative (rice, oat, almond, coconut or hemp)
¼ tsp vanilla
2 tsp coconut sugar
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup blueberries
1. Place chia seeds, milk alternative, coconut sugar and vanilla in a jar or a bowl (a mason jar works well). Cover and refrigerate overnight. It will look like tapioca pudding when taken out of the fridge
2. In the morning, take out of the fridge and top with walnuts and blueberries.
2. Socca Bread (chickpea pancake) with Steamed Greens & Avocado
Socca bread is made from chickpeas, which are full of fiber and have a lot of protein. The greens are incredibly alkalizing, and the avocado is full of fiber and healthy fats, keeping you full and energized.
*prepare the socca batter the night before
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1 cup water
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp thyme
2 cups baby kale, baby spinach or kale
1. In a bowl, combine the chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and thyme. Leave in the fridge overnight.
2. In the morning, pour the batter into an oven stable skillet, like a cast iron skillet. Turn on the oven broiler and place the racks lower in the oven, further away from the broiler.
3. Let batter cook for 5 minutes, watch so it doesn’t burn.
4. While the socca bread is cooking, lightly steam the baby kale, baby spinach or kale.
5. Eat the socca with sliced avocado and steamed greens.
3. Protein Smoothie
Smoothies are the perfect snack and breakfast because liquids are really easy for the body to digest. Try opting for a vegan protein powder rather than soy or whey as they are more digestible and less inflammatory.
½ cup kale
¼ cup pineapple
1 cup coconut water
1 scoop of protein powder of choice
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until there’s a smooth, liquid consistency.
2. If you want to take this smoothie with you throughout the day, double the recipe, store in a jar and take the smoothie to work.
4. Raw Superfood Granola & Kefir
Superfoods are filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Adding nuts to this superfood granola adds good fat and protein. Kefir is fermented milk and houses plenty of good bacteria, which is fabulous for your gut. If you are sensitive to dairy, opt for a coconut kefir instead—you can find that at your local health food store.
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup goji berries
½ cup raw walnuts
½ cup raw almonds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ cup cacao nibs
1 cup puffed quinoa (optional)
1/2 cup kefir
½ cup strawberries
1. Place the coconut, goji berries, hemp, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, puffed quinoa and cacao nibs in a bowl.
2. Pour ½ cup kefir in a cereal bowl and top with ½ cup raw superfood granola. Top with strawberries.
5. Savoury Quinoa Cereal
Quinoa is one of the few vegetarian sources of a complete protein. Quinoa is also full of fiber, making this a perfect breakfast. As we approach the colder months making savoury breakfasts can be very warming for the body and satisfying.
½ cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup raw almonds
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon squeezed
Pinch sea salt
1. Place quinoa and water in a pot, bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, chop the parsley.
3. Once the quinoa is cooked, place all ingredients in the pot. Pour ½ cup in a bowl and enjoy for a savoury breakfast.
Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.