Do you make time in your morning for breakfast? What about enough time to really enjoy a proper breakfast?
I love what author Julian Baggini has to say in his book The Virtues of the Table, How to Eat and Think:
“if we only see breakfast as a means of putting some fuel in the tank to see us through until lunch [this] . . . sets the tone and rhythm of the day to functional and hurried. It’s very different when you take the time to sit down and have a proper breakfast. By starting the day with a pause, it asserts the value of pausing, so we keep things in focus and perspective and are not simply carried along with the treadmill of each day’s obligations.”
If you are stuck for ways to pep up your breakfasts and make them worth pausing for, here are some things you may not have tried. These ideas will freshen up your breakfast menu in a healthy, simple and tasty way.
I first discovered this amazing grain a couple of years ago. Buckwheat isn’t actually a grain, but a fruit seed, and therefore naturally gluten free. I really like it, plus it is more reasonably priced than some of its counterparts in the trendy health food sector. I can buy a 500g packet of organic raw buckwheat for a few dollars in my local supermarket.
Buckwheat porridge cooks in the rice cooker so it is easy to prepare a batch in readiness for a few days of breakfasts. I regularly cook up a large batch in my rice cooker using the ratio of one part buckwheat to two parts water, sometimes adding some cinnamon and vanilla.
Keep it in the refrigerator and reheat as needed. It can be a little bland on its own, but it is an ideal base for a splash of milk, some stewed, fresh or frozen fruit, some nuts or granola, and perhaps a little maple syrup.
This is another one of those breakfast dishes that look quite fancy on many social media posts, but is essentially a simple combination of basic ingredients, easily prepared in advance.
The basic formula is: 1 part rolled (old fashioned) oats, 2 parts milk of your choice, and ¼ part chia seeds. An example of this ratio is ½ cup rolled oats, 1 cup almond milk and 2 tablespoons chia seeds. Mix them all together in the evening and put in a container in the refrigerator overnight. It will be ready for breakfast the next day, either cold or warmed as you serve it.
Keep it plain if you like, check out the amazing combinations of flavours all over the internet, or try some of your own.
I haven’t yet made up my mind whether this really belongs in the breakfast or dessert category. Maybe breakfast dessert? Either way, chia pudding is another dish that follows a formula and is easy to prepare in advance.
The formula is 3 tablespoons of chia seed to one cup of liquid. Mix it together and refrigerate and it will be ready the next morning. Try different combinations, like using coconut milk or coconut water, almond or oat milk, fruit purees such as the mango pudding in my photo. Sprinkle it with fancy extras if you like.
Whoever came up with the idea of the smoothie bowl was very clever. It’s now a “thing”, and there are some incredible, beautiful looking smoothie bowls on Pinterest and Instagram. But there’s no need to be overwhelmed, because they also have a formula and start with basic ingredients. Basically, if your smoothie is too thick to drink, pour it into a bowl and eat it with a spoon. Sprinkle it with some nuts, seeds, fruit, or coconut, and there you have it.
My favourite combination is a handful of rolled (old fashioned) oats, about a cup of almond or oat milk, a small handful of baby spinach leaves, a frozen banana and a few frozen berries, and about a tablespoon of almond butter. Blend together and pour into a bowl. Sprinkles are optional, but fun. In the photo I have desiccated coconut, almond butter, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and fresh figs.
There’s no limit to your creativity if you want to make a special smoothie bowl. Here’s one I made earlier this year while poking a bit of fun at the vagaries of social media popularity – I present my Taylor Swift Smoothie Bowl:
Even more ideas
1. Eat rice
A large percentage of the world’s population eats rice for breakfast. After spending a few months in Japan in 2013, our family got the taste for this and now we love having rice and egg as a simple but sustaining breakfast. Even better if you have a programmable rice cooker which is ready for you when you wake up! A lightly fried egg on top of the rice (or, if you are game, raw egg stirred through the hot rice), a little soy sauce, and perhaps a sprinkling of a spicy pepper mix – delicious.
2. A bowl of cereal may be all you can manage, and that’s OK
So, you only have time for a bowl of cereal? That’s OK, so the latest research reassures us. Summarised in this recent article in the Huffington Post, research conducted by the Director of Nutrition Research Australia found that “those who were eating breakfast cereals were finding it easier to hit their nutrient targets across the day, and (importantly) they weren’t consuming more kilojoules or putting on extra weight in the process.” I guess that puts a refreshing perspective on my “boring” bowl of weetbix this morning.
3. A change is as good as a holiday
Even in the light of that research, sometimes having the same breakfast cereal every day could do with a holiday. You could try something new, or try having your breakfast in a different place. Over the summer I loved having breakfast outside on our back deck. It felt a little bit fancy to take it somewhere else, away from the general mayhem of our mornings, and helped to focus on what was important before getting the rest of the day underway.
4. Make time for breakfast by making over your mornings
Back to the question I asked at the start – do you make time for breakfast? What if your mornings are so rushed that you hardly have time for any of the things you know are really important? What if you just aren’t a morning person?
I have to say I am not naturally a morning person and never have been. I love a good sleep in, and constantly find myself slipping into “just one more snooze button” habits.
Something I have found super helpful on this front is doing the Make Over Your Mornings course last year. Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom put together this 14 day online course of videos and supportive material to help even someone like me change their mornings for the better.
Note for Australian readers: it is a US course so, as usual, expect some minor cultural differences. These cultural nuances are easy to overcome in this case, and well worth it for the value of the material.
Just think, if you get your mornings (and your evenings) in order, you will have plenty of time for enjoying a nourishing breakfast and for starting the day on the right foot. Have a look at the course at this link here.
5. Get inspired
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