• Simon Marks

Tomorrow is a big day - make sure you start it off with a good breakfast


Having a filling, well balanced and nutritious breakfast is a great way to begin the day; however this often gets neglected in our quick paced existence and in the regular day to day rush we slip into the rut of grabbing whatever is to hand. Back in April when my mind was focused on long distance endurance running and the desire to avoid the convenient, time efficient and sugary chocolate laden cereal packets (as favoured by my four daughters) I shared with you three ideas for grain-free breakfasts.

Ideally breakfast should be a good balance of all the macro nutrients that we need: carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Unless you need to avoid grains for specific health reasons then why not try:

  • a tasty bowl of porridge; there’s loads of toppings out there to sample

  • your usual Weetabix but crumbled into some natural yogurt with fruit

  • freshly toasted bread to dip into a soft boiled egg

If you are looking for a complete change then here are some cereal packet free ideas to freshen up your morning routine and grab a great start to your day!

Three ideas for balanced breakfasts:

Banana pancakes

Pancakes are much quicker and easier to knock up than you might imagine and with this recipe you needn’t save them just for special treats!


When cooking with wholemeal flour we benefit from a good source of carbs, dietary fibre, calcium, iron, and other minerals and vitamins that we need on a daily basis. The sweetness of the banana is what makes these pancakes yummy (and removes the need to add refined sugar) and a healthy source of carbs as well as dietary fibre, vitamins C and B-6 and the minerals potassium and manganese. Potassium is an important mineral in the regulation of blood pressure, organ health and muscle integrity; so it’s important to have a good supply to help minimise cramped and tired muscles.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas

  • 2 heaped tablespoons wholemeal flour

  • 2 eggs

  • Knob of butter (or you can use oil)

  • Honey or maple syrup to top - optional

Method:

  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl using a fork or a whisk until well mixed

  2. Mash the bananas finely

  3. Add the wholemeal flour to the banana and mix well

  4. Now combine the banana-flour mixture and the egg and beat well again

  5. Heat a frying pan and grease lightly with the butter or oil

  6. To make small pancakes ladle or pour out small quantities of pancake mixture into the pan

  7. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until golden and then flip the pancakes over for a further minute

  8. Serve either plain, with honey/maple syrup or try them with chopped berries and yogurt

Oatcakes with a choice of toppings:

Salmon, cottage cheese, meats, avocado, egg


A very quick and easy breakfast to grab and go! Oat cakes are readily available in the shops or you could have a go and try making a batch of your own using the recipe below.

Eating oatmeal is a fantastic start to the day as it supplies you with energy, protein and healthy fats. Because it is a whole grain, it contains complex carbohydrates, such as dietary fibre which your body relies on to help maintain proper digestion. The soluble fibre found in oats may also help regulate your cholesterol level and blood sugar. You will also benefit from absorbing a good range of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Manganese plays a part in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, hormones, aids in energy metabolism, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation and normal brain function. These minerals support your immune system, healthy bones and teeth and proper red blood cell production.

Try topping your oatcakes with a source of protein; salmon, egg, cottage cheese or cold cuts are all great choices. Your options are endless, how about avocado or mozzarella and basil? I’m not sure I could ever get bored with this breakfast!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 85g butter

  • 110g plain wholemeal flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 225g medium oatmeal

  • Cold water to bind the dough

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C and grease or line a tray with baking paper

  2. In a large bowl rub the butter and flour together until they resemble fine breadcrumbs

  3. Add the salt, baking powder and then the oatmeal

  4. Slowly add just enough cold water to bind the dough together without making the mixture too sticky

  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out to about 1-2cm thick

  6. Cut the dough into discs of your preferred size and place on the prepared baking tray

  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm

Alua


Alua is a delicious semolina based Indian dish that I first came across when staying in an idyllic agritourismo in Umbria. This dish should satisfy even the hungriest customer and still not sit heavily on your stomach. Semolina is meal made from durum wheat which is a great source of carbohydrates (as well as some plant based protein); milk and chopped nuts add nutritious fats and proteins to the mix. Play around with the fruit toppings (some of your five a day) to find your perfect taste combination!

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml milk

  • 3 cardamom pods

  • 100g semolina

  • Knob of butter

  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes

  • 225g mixed freshly chopped fruit; bananas, pears, apples, peaches etc

  • 3 tablespoons chopped almonds

  • Honey or maple syrup to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the milk, but do not boil it.

  2. Using a mortar and pestle open the cardamom pods, discard the skins and grind the seeds.

  3. Melt a knob of butter in a pan, add the ground cardamom and infuse the butter for half a minute

  4. Add the semolina to the flavoured butter and cook until a lightly browned.

  5. Add the coconut flakes and cook for another half minute

  6. Turn off the heat and add the hot milk, stirring constantly

  7. Return to the heat and cook with stirring until the mixture is no longer runny

  8. Plate up and top with the fresh fruit, chopped almonds

  9. Optional – drizzle with a small amount of honey or maple syrup to taste

#recipe #breakfast #food #nutrition

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