Want to know the secret to a good breakfast? Mixing it up! When building your breakfast, make sure you aim for a nourishing balance of carbohydrates, protein, fats and fibre.
Wholegrain cereals and toasts are great sources of complex carbohydrates and fibre, while fresh fruit and vegetables provide extra vitamins and antioxidants. Add some healthy protein from low-fat cottage cheese, yoghurt, milk or eggs. Include a little fat by adding nuts and seeds to your cereal, spreading nut spreads (such as peanut butter) on wholegrain toast, or adding flaxseed oil or LSA (ground linseed, sunflower and almond mix) to porridge, muesli or yoghurt. Voila! You’ve got a perfectly balanced breakfast.
The secret breakfast recipe
Cereal is an ever-popular breakfast food, however not all cereals are created equal. Some are so high in sugar they make chocolate cake look healthy!
Allan Borushek, dietitian and author of the best-selling Pocket Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter, still recommends a cereal-based breakfast as it’s an opportunity to get in your daily dose of fibre. His muesli-style breakfast is cereal done right – provided your portion size is moderate:
“I have a mix of rolled oats, roasted seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), roasted almonds or pecans, diced dried apricots, sultanas, wheat germ, topped with sliced fresh banana, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and low-fat milk or soy milk. It’s a colourful, tasty, nutritious mix that starts my day with a healthy dose of fibre, antioxidants, protein and fats, and fuels my body right through the morning.”
You can build your own similar cereal, adding your favourite grains, dried and fresh fruits, and nuts.
Cereals and porridge
Read the ingredient list and nutritional information when you’re choosing a cereal, to ensure it’s low in sugar and high in fibre, and add extra fresh fruits to the mix. Be aware that some toasted mueslis can be high in added fat.
Healthier cereals include:
|Kelloggs All-Bran, ¾ cup, 45g||125||525||1.4g||21.5g||12.4g||6.1g|
|Kelloggs Sultana Bran, ¾ cup, 45g||138||580||0.8g||28.6g||6.4g||10.2g|
|Sanitarium Light ‘n Tasty, 1 cup, 30g||100||419||0.6g||21.8g||1.8g||7.4g|
|Sanitarium Weet Bix, 2 pieces, 30g||98||411||0.4g||20.1g||3.3g||0.8g|
|Uncle Toby’s Vita Brits, 2 pieces, 34g||111||465||0.7g||22.5g||4g||0.4g|
|Uncle Toby’s Healthwise Heart Health, 1 cup, 30g||116||485||1.8g||23.4g||4.7g||5.4g|
|Weight Watchers Fruit & Fibre, 1/3 cup, 30g||87||366||0.6g||18g||4g||5.2g|
|Vogel’s Ultra Bran Soy & Linseed, 45g||115||475||0.8g||19.8g||14g||5.7g|
Porridge is a popular breakfast in the colder months, but be wary of flavoured instant porridge which is highly processed and usually lots of added sugar. Opt for regular oats and add grated apple, chopped banana, dried fruit or nuts and top with low-fat milk. A teaspoon of flaxseed oil or ground LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond) is another great addition to porridge.
|Regular: Plain, cooked with water, ¾ cup, 170g||100||420||3g||18g||2.5g||0|
|Instant: Uncle Toby’s Oats, Quick, 30g||104||434||2.3g||17g||3g||0.3g|
|Flavoured: Uncle Toby’s Oats Temptations, Apple Sultana and Honey, 40g||154||642||2.6g||27.7g||2.6g||11.5g|
Food.com.au member Skittzo suggests adding psyllium husks to your porridge for extra fibre, and topping with cinnamon, sultanas, low-fat milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
Attention traditional breakfast eaters! You don’t have to ditch your eggs and bacon to eat a healthy breakfast. Just make a few adjustments, such as replacing your bacon with low-fat bacon.
Try these smart ideas from Food.com.au members:
A tasty sounding muffin combo: Try a poached egg on a soy and linseed muffin, with low-fat cream cheese, baby spinach and cracked black pepper.
English muffins: Top with a poached egg with some lean ham (which has been heated in the microwave).
A vegetarian option: Try a toasted multigrain muffin topped with a poached egg, and cooked tomato and mushrooms.
A healthy gluten-free breakfast: Scramble one whole egg with two egg whites, and on a piece of gluten-free toast.
A scrambled egg recipe: 2 eggs, milk (or soymilk), chilli sauce (sweet or hot), sundried tomatoes (soaked in hot water), fresh herbs. Serve on toasted sourdough toast. You can vary the flavours by adding small amounts of mushrooms, pesto, Parmesan cheese, onion, fresh chilli or yoghurt.
Dietitian Joan Bushman shares her favourite breakfast:
Scramble two eggs with ¾ cup fresh or frozen vegetables, such as sliced capsicum, and add some fresh basil, parsley or some garlic and seasonings. Throw in a small amount of brie or feta cheese as well. Scramble it all together and serve on wholegrain toast.
Quick and easy
Many breakfast foods are easy to whip up and eat in five minutes, or perfect to take with you in the car. However, be aware that many pre-made “on-the-go” breakfast options aren’t nutritionally adequate. For example, breakfast bars aren’t as nutritious as cereals; and you also miss out on nutrients from extra cereal toppings such as milk and fresh fruit. Breakfast bars and diet shakes can also be extremely high in sugar, leading to mid-morning blood sugar crashes.
Check out these healthier ideas from Food.com.au members:
A speedy banana chocolate smoothie to keep you full till lunch:
- 1 overripe banana
- 150 ml no-fat milk
- 1 carton low-fat yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon drinking chocolate (or cacao)
- 1 tablespoon psyllium husks
- Blend it all together and enjoy!
Two toasted sandwich ideas: Perfect to eat on the way to work.
Savoury: Wholemeal bread with egg & bacon
Sweet: Fruit bread with a small banana, drizzle of honey and a pinch of cinnamon.
Many Australians lack fibre in their diets. Instead of the recommended 25-35g fibre per day, many people are eating less than 20g. Starting the day with some fresh fruit is a great way to increase your fibre intake. Try topping a fruit salad with a variety of nuts and seeds and a few rice bubbles for some crunch.
Or, give this high-fibre brekkie sorbet a go:
- ½ large frozen banana
- 1 frozen mango cheek
- 8 frozen blackberries
- 8 frozen raspberries
- 4 teaspoons psyllium husks
- 2 tablespoons super cold water
Chop fruit and blend in food processor. Mix in psyllium and water with a spoon before blending again. The result is a great, fruity, filling sorbet. The banana and mango make it creamy without any dairy required.
If you don’t like breakfast foods, or need a refreshing change for your morning meal, check these member suggestions out!
- Vegetable muffins. Try adding corn, sweet potato or capsicum.
- Indian omelette. Fry 1 diced onion in a pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray, add about 4 eggs (for 2 people), sprinkle with chilli flakes and fresh chopped coriander.
- Light cream cheese on toast, topped with half a tin of tuna.
- Psyllium pancakes. These are full of fibre and protein. Mix 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons psyllium husks, ½ teaspoon baking powder and water together. Leave it to sit for about 5 minutes (this stops it becoming gritty). Cook like normal pancakes using cooking spray to grease the frying pan. Serve with low-calorie jam.
- Toast with a teaspoon of peanut butter, topped with sliced banana.