Everyone wants to feel pep in their step going into the day, right? (Especially when you have a bright-and-early Zoom call *yawn*). And a major part of that is fuelling your body with the food and nutrition it needs to thrive. For many of us, that starts with breakfast. We asked nutritionists for the formula that’ll make you feel your best post-brekkie, and the verdict is in: protein + fibre + healthy fats + fruits and vegies.
Good news? These dishes showcase the winning combo.
Seeded Buckwheat Pancakes
• 1 large egg white and yolk, divided
• ⅔ cup cashew milk or milk of choice
• ½ cup buckwheat flour
• Sea salt and black pepper
• 3 tbs toasted sunflower seeds
• 3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
• 2 tsp avocado oil
• ½ cup Greek yogurt
• ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced
• 220g smoked salmon
• ¼ cup dill
1. Lemon wedges, for serving In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk and cashew milk. Stir in flour and a pinch each of salt and pepper until just combined.
2. In a second bowl, beat egg white until some soft peaks form. Fold into buckwheat mixture, along with sunflower and sesame seeds, until just combined.
3. Rub 1 tsp oil in a large non-stick skillet, then heat on medium. In batches, cook ¼-cupfuls until nearly set and bottoms are golden brown, about 3 mins. Flip and cook until just cooked through, 1 min more. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, adding additional oil as necessary.
4. Serve, topped with yogurt, onion, smoked salmon, dill, additional black pepper and lemon wedges.
Perk up with produce
“If you find yourself fatigued after waking up, it might be because you’re low on vitamins and minerals,” says dietitian Valerie Agyeman, host of the podcast Flourish Heights. “Replenish your body with electrolytes, which is as easy as eating a fruit or vegetable.”
Hearty Grain Scramble
20 mins, Serves 4
• 1 cup bulgur wheat
• 85g pea shoots
• 1½ tbs extra-virgin coconut oil
• 1 tbs fish sauce
• 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
• 6 large eggs
• 2 tsp avocado oil
• ¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
• Lime wedges, for serving
1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in bulgur wheat and simmer, covered, until nearly tender, 9 mins. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 3 mins.
2. Roughly chop bottom ⅔ of pea shoots from the stem end, leaving the more tender tops intact. Fluff bulgur wheat with a fork and fold in coconut oil, fish sauce, chopped pea shoots and half spring onions. Divide among 4 shallow bowls.
3. In a bowl, beat eggs. Heat avocado oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium. Add eggs and scramble to desired doneness. Divide among bowls with bulgur and top with remaining spring onions and pea shoot tops. Serve with peanuts and lime wedges, if desired.
Good to know
You can sub in quinoa or steel-cut oats for bulgur wheat – and make without spring onions and pea shoots so you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days or freeze for up to three months. Reheat as needed, then fold in the greens.
Baked Pumpkin Porridge
1 hour, Serves 8
• 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1½ tsp grated nutmeg
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ⅛ tsp ground cloves
• ⅔ cup raw pepitas, divided
• 4 large eggs
• 1 can pure pumpkin puree
• 1¾ cups cashew milk or milk of choice
• ⅓ cup maple syrup
• 6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for dish
• 1 tbs plus 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
• 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
• 3 ripe but firm pears, cut into 1cm pieces
1. Heat oven to 190°C. In a bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, cloves and ⅓ cup pepitas.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until no streaks remain. Add pumpkin, cashew milk, syrup, oil, ginger and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to bowl and mix until just combined.
3. Lightly oil a 22 x 33cm baking dish and scatter all but 1 cup pears on bottom. Spread batter on top, then sprinkle with remaining pear, pressing to poke slightly into batter. Scatter remaining ⅓ cup pepitas on top and bake in top third of oven until fully set and edges begin to brown, 40 to 50 mins. Let cool for at least 5 mins before serving.
NB: Bake a batch of this goodness in advance so you can reheat and eat (almost) all week. Once you cook, cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to four days. When you’re ready to eat, microwave, covered, on medium until warmed, about 1 min.
Pack in the protein
Don’t wait until the end of the day to get your fix (a common mistake). “Protein takes longer to digest and helps your body keep a steady supply of energy going into your bloodstream,” says dietitian Mary Ellen Phipps, author of The Easy Diabetes Cookbook.
Yoghurt With Avocado and Chickpea “Granola”
• 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and roughly chopped
• 6 tbs olive oil
• ⅓ cup sliced almonds
• 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
• 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• ½ tsp sumac
• ¼ tsp smoked paprika
• 1½ cups plain Greek yoghurt
• 1 large avocado, sliced
• Lemon zest and sea salt, for serving
1. Heat oven to 200°C. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss chickpeas with 1 tbs oil; roast 20 mins. Toss with almonds and coriander and roast until chickpeas are crisp and almonds are golden, about 5 mins more.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil and garlic in a small saucepan on low and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 mins. Remove from heat and stir in sumac and smoked paprika; let cool.
3. Divide yoghurt and avocado among plates. Top with chickpea granola, then spoon garlic and oil on top. Sprinkle with pinch of salt and grated lemon zest.
Grab Healthy Fats
Consider incorporating full-fat yoghurts, avocados, seeds and nut butters into your morning routine. “Our bodies take more time to break down these healthy fats, which means you’ll remain satiated for a while,” says Agyeman.
Medames-style Fava Beans
20 mins, Serves 4
• 2 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 can fava beans, drained
• 1 can red kidney beans, drained
• 3 cloves garlic
• ½ jalapeño, roughly chopped
• 1 cup parsley leaves, packed
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• Sea salt
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 340g mixed coloured cherry tomatoes, quartered and halved
• 4 pieces whole-grain bread, toasted and cut into triangles, if desired
1. In a medium saucepan on medium, toast cumin seeds, 45 secs. Remove from heat, add beans and ¼ cup water and roughly mash. Cook until heated through, 3 mins. Adjust consistency with additional water as necessary so mixture is thick and saucy.
2. In a food processor, finely chop garlic and jalapeño. Add parsley and pulse to finely chop. Pulse in lemon juice and ¼ tsp salt to combine. Add oil and pulse once (mixture should not be emulsified); transfer to a bowl.
3. Fold tomatoes into parsley sauce. Serve spooned over warm fava mixture, with a side of toast if you’d like.
Get a fibre fix
“Fibre gives your digestive system a little extra love,” says dietitian Yasi Ansari. Easily up your intake by opting for whole grains whenever possible.
10 mins, Serves 1
• 2 cups spinach, thick stems discarded
• ⅔ cup water
• ½ cup kefir
• ½ tsp lemon zest plus 1 tsp juice
• ⅛ large Hass avocado, peeled
• 1cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
• 2 tbs coriander
• 1 scoop collagen (optional)
• Pinch sea salt
• ¼ cucumber, cut into half-moons and frozen
• 1 cup seedless green grapes, frozen
1. In a blender, puree spinach, water, kefir, lemon zest and juice, avocado, ginger, coriander, collagen, if using, and pinch salt.
2. Add frozen cucumber and grapes and puree until smooth. Adjust taste and texture with extra lemon juice and water.
NB: Avo browns quickly, so you’ll want to turn any extra into a dressing, stat: blend with lemon juice, parsley, basil, chives, salt and water until smooth.