Start the day right.

Breakfast is a very different meal to different people. Some are ravenous when waking and can’t function without something substantial in their tummy, while others skip all together. Pausing before eating and giving the digestive system a break for 12- 16 hours overnight can have many health benefits so if possible starting with some warm water to flush out nightly toxins and eat a little later. But then making sure we are getting the right fuel with a balanced breakfast will keep us physically and mentally energised for the day ahead. At every meal think about including vegetables, some fruits, nuts, wholegrain complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and quality protein to your plate to cover off the main nutrients the body needs to function well.

Carbohydrates are essential for the energy needed by all cells. But when we eat a carb heavy meal in the morning, especially refined, processed carbs like white bread and sugary cereals, our blood sugar will spike quickly followed by a subsequent release of insulin to metabolise the sugar. Too much insulin and we may have a blood sugar crash and craving for sugary foods. This can start a rollercoaster of blood sugar spike and crash throughout the day. Over time higher levels of insulin production may damage cells in the body and left unchecked can lead to diabetes.

Reducing the amount of carbs, choosing whole-grains and fibrous foods and eating healthy fats and protein alongside carbs will slow down digestion and keep blood sugar more balanced. You will also feel fuller for longer and avoid mid morning biscuit cravings. For example, favour wholegrain toast with eggs or nut butter over white bread and jam, or oat porridge with full fat yoghurt, nuts and seeds over sugary muesli.

For many breakfast needs to be simple and quick during the week before work or school so being prepared the night before with something healthy in the fridge good to go will help the morning rush. And then as life is all about balance, look forward to a leisurely brunch in the weekend!

Bircher muesli

Great for a busy morning as you can make it the night before and leave in sealed containers in the fridge. This recipe makes two portions and will happily keep for 2 – 3 days. It’s an excellent mix of carbs from the oats and fruit, protein and fats from the nuts, chia seeds and yoghurt. Mix it all together and away you go!

  • 1 peeled, grated apple
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup full fat yoghurt
  • 1 cup milk of choice (or until the muesli is covered nicely)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries or mix with raisins, goji berries or any fruit of choice (can keep some aside to scatter on top)
  • Tablespoon chia seeds (or other seeds)
  • Tablespoon sliced almonds (or other nuts)
  • Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Photo by Esma u00d6zer on
Warm porridge bowl

Quick and easy this is a comforting bowl of goodness will give you lots of energy for a cold winters day. Fibre from the chia, buckwheat, and nuts and fats from the yoghurt will help balance the carbs from the oats.

  • 1 cup porridge oats
  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp buckwheat groats
  • squeeze honey or maple syrup
  • a scatter of mixed seeds or nuts, berries or bananas to top
  • a dollop of natural yoghurt on the side

Add the oats, milk, chia and buckwheat groats into a saucepan and smaller for 2- 5 minutes until thick and creamy. You could instead mix all together and microwave for 1 minute. Sweeten with honey or syrup and put into bowl. Top with nuts, seeds berries and bananas and the yoghurt if using.

Scandi Smoked salmon open sandwich

A classic brunch choice the world over, but particularly in Scandinavian countries who are maters of smoked fish. Choose your bread, traditionally rye but any sourdough or handmade bread will be great. Dress your sandwich any way you like, but keep in clean and fresh. Look for responsibly sourced salmon or alternative smoked fish.

  • Two large slices of rye or sourdough
  • 4 slices responsibly sourced smoked Salmon
  • Small bunch dill
  • 2 tbsp creme fresh
  • lemon wedge
  • black pepper
  • To dress- your combination of pickled cucumber, avocado, thinly sliced radish, micro greens
Photo by Pixabay on
Banana pancakes

A healthy version of an American classic which keeps the carbs from the flour, oats and banana balanced with protein and fats from eggs and nut butter or protein powder. I make these with gluten free flour but you can use normal flour and for vegans can use egg replacer. Makes enough for two.

  • Coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup flour (I use gluten free mix, can be wholemeal)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk- either organic full fat dairy or plant milk (works well with rice milk)
  • 2 tablespoon of nut butter or protein powder
  • To serve- a combination of your favourite seasonal berries (or use frozen and warm through), a dollop of full fat live yoghurt, vegan yoghurt or ricotta with a modest squeeze of honey or maple syrup.

Place all the ingredients apart from the oil and toppings in a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. You may need to loosen with more water or milk. Heat a large flying pan and add enough oil to coat the pan. If making large pancakes pour 1/4 of the mixture in and swirl to coat the bottom. Cook for 3- 4 minutes until golden and then flip over for 2- 3 minutes. Slide onto a plate. For mini pancakes you can use a ladle to drop smaller dollops into the pan. Serve with toppings of your choice. They freeze well for a grab and go brekkie.