You’ve been told since you were two bricks and a ticky high that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even so, it’s amazing how many people either skip brekkie entirely or just have a cup of coffee. I used to be one of those teenagers in high school. Teens are not the easiest to care for – they think they know best and all that matters is being cool, so if drinking only coffee in the morning gives them street cred, you might as well throw away those overnight oats. I don’t remember any major downsides from only having coffee, except that I usually tucked into one of my lunchbox snacks in first or second period. But now that I’m older and wiser, I know there were downsides even if I didn’t feel them.
The most important thing about a good breakfast is that it sets the tone for your day’s meals. Wake up to coffee and a cigarette (oh, those were the days!) and you may as well have Nando’s for lunch. If you’re not nourishing your body from the get go, it makes it easier to excuse a multitude of bad eating habits throughout the rest of the day. How many times do we wake up to a level 10 hangover and shovel in several tractor loads of fried eggs, bacon, bread and beans? While the greasy full English might seem like the way to go, a bowl of poached eggs, avo and spinach will actually provide way more nourishment and make your fragile self feel better afterwards. When you set your body up to feel good, you don’t snack on crisps and bacon sarmies all day. The other important thing about a healthy breakfast is that it balances your blood sugars, meaning you don’t spike and turn to a sugary mid-morning snack.
These are my favourite nourishing breakfasts to get it all in the morning!
- Overnight chocolate brownie oats
Mark’s favourite oats are still the go-to in my house. They are SO quick to make – chuck the ingredients into a jam jar, shake it up and leave in the fridge overnight. You can eat them straight from the jar the next day or warm them up. They’re especially great for people on the go; you can take them with you to school or work or eat them in your car! The full recipe is here
2. Egg, avo and spinach bowl
I’m trying very hard to learn to eat the dreaded avocado. Avo and banana make my hair stand on end – it’s a texture thing that I can’t get over (also banana smells weird and avo looks like mouldy mud). After months of face-scrunching practice, I can now eat very small bites of avo, usually disguised on a forkful of something crunchy to trick my brain into believing it’s not really there. This is why I doubt I could ever go full vegan – who ever heard of a vegan who doesn’t eat avo! Anyway, this bowl is delish and full of good fats and protein that’ll keep you full and nourished. Poach, soft-boil or fry 2 eggs and serve on a bed of wilted spinach (2-3 mins in a pot with a splash of water) and sliced avo. Add a slice of whole-wheat toast to round it out
3. Protein smoothie
I have this every morning before I leave for work. Smoothies are awesome because you can use whatever ingredients you have to hand. It doesn’t matter if all you have is banana and peanut butter – add some anti-oxidant rich spices and you’re still got a nutritious breakfast. My go-to smoothie contains half a banana, a thick slice of peeled papaya, a handful of spinach, 1 tbsp protein powder, 1 tbsp soaked chia seeds, 1 tbsp sugar-free peanut butter, almond milk, some ice and a sprinkle of cinnamon, turmeric and ginger. Sometimes I add a tbsp of cacao if I feel like a chocolate vibe. This makes enough for two small smoothies
4. Two egg omelette
There’s a theory that you need 4 or 5 eggs to make an omelette, but 2 eggs works just fine with a little milk (plant-based optional). Either make the omelette in small pan so it’s thicker and serve it open, or cook in a larger pan and grill the top before flipping in half. Add whatever veg you have in the fridge – sautéed spinach, mushrooms and baby marrow work really well.
5. Banana chai pancakes
I love making these on Saturday mornings when there’s no rush. They’re best served sitting outside in the sunshine, but that’s just me being very privileged to live in Cape Town in summer! You can make these in a frying pan or use a toastie maker. Get the full recipe here.