5 healthy breakfast ideas
Last year my kids, then aged 4 and 6, asked me, ‘Mum, what’s cereal?’ I was surprised they didn’t know this word! But it was also a proud mum moment, as I realised my kids had never eaten processed breakfast food. I have spent years looking online and browsing cookbooks for healthy breakfast ideas, and enjoy a nutrient-rich breakfast.
A healthy breakfast is a great way to start the day on a positive note. I’ve also read theories that say we train our bodies to crave the foods we feed it when we are hungry. As breakfast is the first meal we have after eight hours or so of fasting, it makes sense to train it to want healthy foods, not sugar and carbs.
1. Oats. My favourite healthy breakfast idea is delicious, versatile and keeps you energised for longer.
Oats are my go-to breakfast food. There are many health benefits to eating oats. They’re packed with minerals and vitamins, making them highly nutritious. They can also reduce cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. Oats also release energy slowly, so they keep you fuller for longer.
I use oats to make porridge or muesli. You can eat oats raw, or roast them for extra-delicious muesli. (But, who has the time, right?) Add nuts and seeds to your muesli mix — my favourites are almonds, cashews, pepitas, hemp seeds and chia seeds. Harvard Health has a great guide to nuts and seeds, if you need help getting started. If you prefer your oats soft, soak them in juice, milk or yoghurt for ‘overnight oats’.
Choose whole grain traditional oats, as they are less processed. However, you choose to prepare your oats, top them with berries, or any other fruit you have on hand. I always have a bag of frozen berries in the freezer in case I run out of fresh fruit.
You can also add a heaped tablespoon of oats into a smoothie.
2: Omlettes. They are bursting with vitamins and nutrients.
Australian Eggs calls them ‘nature’s superfood’. Eggs contain 13 different vitamins and nutrients. They are high in protein, and a source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and Vitamins A, D, E and B12.
Omlettes are easy and quick to make. Add your preferred veges and a handful of grated cheese. My favourite combination is: mushrooms, baby spinach leaves and cheese.
3: Toast, but pimped. Top your toast with colour and flavour.
Toast is like a blank canvas. It’s up to you to turn it into something beautiful. Bypass the jam and choose nutritious toppings. Here are some ideas: avocado and smoked salmon; mushrooms, garlic and rocket; tomato, basil and olive oil; banana, peanut butter and cinnamon.
Wholemeal bread is more nutritious than white and even multigrain. Sourdough is a good option too, as it is made with live bacteria that is good for your gut.
4: The fry-up, re-imagined. Start the day with a vege or two in a healthy fry-up
Did you know adults are meant to have five serves of veges each day? It can be hard trying to fit that many veges into your day. It helps to start early. Rebrand your veges as breakfast food. Popular fry-up options include: potato pieces, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach. Also consider adding avocado, eggs, smoked salmon and toast.
Try to avoid eating bacon regularly, as it’s high in saturated fat and salt. Eating processed meat also increases your risk of cancer.
5: Smoothie. Yes, my favourite healthy breakfast idea is a drink.
I’ve always been a big fan of smoothies. But since having kids, I have taken my smoothie-making skills to a whole new level. My advice is to start simple: use ingredients you like and are familiar with. This might be banana, honey, yoghurt and dairy milk, for example. Start experimenting by adding nuts, seeds, oats, different types of milk and yoghurt, different fruits, avocado, and beetroot.
Not sure which milk to use? Check out our article: Which milk is the healthiest?
Kate is a health writer and communications professional. She is the founder and editor of The Healthy Life. She lives in the Blue Mountains with her husband and two kids.