I was listening to a news report last week about how a certain fast-food chain is bringing all-day breakfast to Canada. I thought to myself "is this really making the news?" In fact, it is, and since then I have seen reports of Canadians going hog wild about all-day breakfast at their fingertips.
Part of my shock came from wondering "is it really that difficult to just make your own breakfast?" And then I remembered that I live in the naturopathic doctor bubble whereby fast-food breakfast just isn't an option, and whipping up my own healthy breakfasts is fast, fun and completely satisfying. I absolutely love knowing that I am creating delicious options for my little family that keep us all at our best.
The reality of it is that I do live in a bubble, and I should know better because I spend hours each week discussing breakfast with my patients.
What do we discuss exactly?
a) The need to eat breakfast. We've all read the reports and know the health benefits. This one is pretty non-negotiable.
b) What and how to eat breakfast. This is where we spend the most time, and we work hard to make it achievable, enjoyable and doable.
What do we do?
1. First of all, we determine when is the best timing for the patient based on when they wake up, when they have to be at work, whether or not they are working out before work, etc. Ultimately, we are trying to get food in the patient within an hour of waking to get the metabolism up and running. This may mean a small snack before a workout and then a proper breakfast afterward, or a proper breakfast right away.
2. Next, we determine what foods the patient likes to eat and their level of cooking prowess. Just last week I had a patient mention that she does not like typical breakfast foods. And, guess what, that's totally okay. We agreed that her dinner leftovers would be perfect for breakfast! Fast, easy, and ready to go. In fact, I eat dinner leftovers for breakfast all the time. My husband thinks I am nuts, but I love it.
3. Then, we lay out the equation for a delicious breakfast:
Lean protein + complex carbohydrates from whole grains, starchy vegetables or STARCHY fruit + Complex carbohydrates from non-starchy vegetables or non-starchy fruits + healthy fat.
4. Finally, we create the list of meal options. Here are 9 of my favourite breakfast options (you'll notice boxed cereal isn't on the list):
- Muffins. I LOOOOOVE to bake, and homemade muffins with a swipe of unsweetened, all-natural nut butter and a side of fruit, like grapefruit, berries or an apple, make my mornings fast and delicious. Sometimes I even bake protein powder right into the recipe. Give my Pumpkin Oat Muffins a try.
- Smoothies. The combination of high-quality, clean protein powder with healthy fat, like avocado, some starchy fruit (like bananas) and non-starchy veg (like spinach) with nut milk makes for a fast and complete breakfast. Need a recipe? Try out my Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie - you can add the spinach in there too (I promise you won't taste it) - it's like dessert for breakfast.
- Puddings. Both healthy rice pudding (like this one from Sugar & Cinnamon) and chia pudding (like this to-die-for option from Chocolate Covered Katie) are staples in my house. Now, these options aren't as high in protein as I'd like, so I will often mix in vegan vanilla protein powder (my favourite is Sun Warrior Warrior Blend) to up the ante. Top with berries and you're good to go!
- Soup. Yep! Soup is an awesome option for breakfast. Really! Any kind of soup. I haven't added a breakfast soup recipe to my blog yet - stay tuned!
- Sandwiches. Breakfast sandwiches are a favourite in my house on weekends. We combine rye toast with scrambled eggs, spinach, avocado and tomato and onion mix. Yum!
- Toasts. Avocado toast is a hit these days. It makes for a great breakfast. Top toast (or even brown rice cakes) with smashed avocado, a sprinkle of hemp hearts, sliced cucumber, smoked salmon and a dash of salt and pepper.
- Oatmeal. Cook up a yummy pot of oats with cinnamon and milk of your choice. Overnight oats are also a big hit these days, too. My mom, Tosca Reno, has a great recipe for Apple Lemon Overnight Oats on her blog. Top it with hemp hearts, slivered almonds and berries to complete the meal.
- Parfaits. Combine full-fat Greek yogurt with homemade granola (like this Cinnamon Pecan Granola by Deliciously Ella) and berries for a complete breaky.
- The Classic. Scrambled, over-easy or hardboiled eggs (protein and healthy fat in one pretty little package) with a slice of rye toast and a side of green salad or sauteed greens (kale, spinach, collard, etc.). I even do this for lunch!
That's it! 4 steps to a better breakfast - prepare, eat, repeat! No need for that fast-food breakfast after all.