Once upon a time I worked for a multinational breakfast cereal company as a young food scientist developing new breakfast and snack products.
One of the ‘perks’ of the job was the canteen filled with an amazing array of free cereal and milk. As you can imagine, pretty much everyone had their breakfast at work. Including me.
But do you want to know something I always found a bit weird?
Everyone also had their lunch really early. I mean as soon as the canteen started serving lunch there would be a huge queue.
Looking back, I can see now this super early lunch was a sign that our free cereal breakfasts weren’t keeping us full for very long. And now that I understand GI and the whole carbs thing, it makes sense.
Anyway, I still love breakfast but these days I don’t head straight to the cereal box.
It can be the most easy meal to ‘fall into a rut’ with. So I thought I’d share my current favourite breakfasts ideas and a trick I have to help me avoid the dreaded breakfast rut.
My Trick for Avoiding Falling into a Breakfast Rut
It’s simple. I have a little ‘rule’ of not having the same breakfast two days in a row.
It’s a small thing, but it’s amazing how it make me keep my breakfast ideas feeling fresh.
9 Favourite Healthy Breakfast Ideas
1. Poached Eggs
Ever since I figured out the secret to making beautiful poached eggs, these have been my favourite breakfast eggs.
I tend to serve them on a bed of either cooked or raw vegetables. My favourites are raw baby kale leaves from the garden, cooked kale, baby spinach, grated raw cauliflower or grated raw broccoli. I’ve also been getting into making my own sauerkraut which goes really well with poached eggs. Some mornings I add a decadent dollop of home made mayo and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. But some mornings I don’t.
Now that we have chickens, I can wait for them to start laying so I can take my ‘poachies’ to the next level!
2. Fried Eggs
My Irishman loves fried eggs. And my son Fergal has been having an egg yolk for breakfast most morning for a few months now and he finds the flat shape of a fried egg yolk the easiest to eat. So some mornings we all have our eggs sunny side up. I go for cooked or raw veg as mentioned in the poached eggs above as an accompaniment.
3. Breakfast Lentils
Lentils are one of my favourite foods and not just for breakfast! I tend to cook up a pot on the weekends to use as a ‘building block’ for breakfasts and lunches. Some mornings I’ll have just lentils with some flat leaf parsley and a dollop of mayo or some ricotta.
Check out my ‘Versatile Lentils‘ recipe if you need some help getting started.
4. ‘Paleo’ Pancakes
A relatively recent addition to my breakfast repetoire, I love these for every day breakfasts with savoury accompaniments as per the recipe below. And for a more decadent weekend treat, I go for the sweet options.
5. Home Made Yoghurt
Making yoghurt is one of those things that seems really tricky, but in actual fact is super easy and VERY rewarding. For tips on getting started making your own yoghurt, including a coconut yoghurt recipe see this post.
I usually have my yoghurt with some lentil or quinoa granola or if I’m out of that just a handful of almonds and sometimes a few fresh berries.
6. Lentil or Quinoa Granola
If I am having a cereal-like breakfast, its usually more of a bowl of yoghurt with a little granola on top for crunch. This lentil granola is one of my more unusual breakfasts. Lately I’ve been getting into using quinoa flakes instead of the cooked lentils.
7. Chia Seed ‘Bircher’ Muesli
Chia seeds are awesome from a nutritional perspective given that they’re super high in Omega 3s, protein and gentle soluble fibre. One of my favourite ways to eat them is to soak them in some sort of liquid for a quick and very filling breakkie.
Just combine 1/4 cup chia seeds with 3/4 cup milk, almond milk or coconut milk and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour but up to a few days. The longer it sits the thicker it will be. I like to eat it straight up but it’s also good with berries and some yoghurt.
For more on chia seeds see 13 things you should know about chia seeds.
8. Chocolatey Coconut Granola
Chocolate for breakfast? Healthy? If you’re struggling with this concept check out ‘Can Chocolate for Breakfast Be Healthy?’ and while you’re there try out the Chocolatey Coconut Granola Recipe.
9. ‘Protein’ Porridge
Now that it’s winter here, I’ve been feeling torn between the urge to have a super warming bowl of porridge and to keep my breakfasts high in protein. So I’ve come up with a solution that I call protein porridge.
I take 1/3 cup quinoa flakes and mix with 2/3 cup milk. Then just simmer for a few minutes until thickened and remove from the heat. Stir in a beaten egg and cook for just a few more seconds. Serve with your usual porridge favourites.
If you can’t find quinoa flakes, rolled oats will work instead.
Looking for more breakfast ideas?
Have a look at my 6 slightly unusual healthy breakfast ideas.
I call these ‘paleo’ in inverted commas because not all paleo gurus allow chia. So while they’re not strictly paleo, I’m happy to eat them on a regular basis.
Because they’re egg based, rather than flour like regular pancakes, they’re gluten-free. They’re also really sensitive to being overcooked so you need to watch them very carefully.
UPDATE: A Stonesoup reader emailed me to ask if almond meal could be used instead of the chia seed bran. So I tried it on the weekend and it was a big success! So for a real paleo version, replace chia seed bran with 4 tablespoons almond meal (or other nut meal).
Enough for 1
2 tablespoons chia seed bran OR 4 tablespoons almond meal
aioli, natural yoghurt or mayo to serve, optional
salad leaves to serve
1. Heat a small frying pan on a medium high heat.
2. Whisk together eggs and bran in a small bowl.
3. Add a little oil to the pan. Add egg mixture and cook for about 2 mins first side or until the egg looks set around the edges.
4. Carefully turn the pancake then cook for another 1-2 minutes or until just cooked through.
5. Serve asap with aioli or mayo on top and salad greens on the side.
sweet pancakes – cook in unsalted butter instead of the oil and serve with your favourite sweet pancake toppings instead of the aioli and salad. I love them with a big dollup of double cream and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
no chia bran? – Replace with 4 tablespoons almond meal. Oat bran works really well as a substitute (but isn’t paleo!). Other bran like wheat bran would probably be fine. Don’t try this with psyllium though.
other chia options – if you can’t find chia seed bran, ground chia will work as a replacement. I’ve tried it with whole chia seeds and wasn’t a huge fan of the texture. You could always make your own ground chia by whizzing the seeds in a coffee or spice grinder.
What about you?
What are your favourite healthy breakfasts? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.