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Having a Healthy Breakfast without Cereal

It is so easy to sleepily shuffle in our pyjamas into the kitchen and grab a quick bowl of breakfast cereal before heading out for a run, ride, swim, ski, walk, hike, paddle or whatever else gets your heart racing. Not all breakfasts are created equal! My kids obviously think that a bowl of something chocolatey is best, however my preference for a bowl of porridge topped with fruit and nuts is a much more balanced and nutritious start to a day of sport and exercise.

But there might be times when we have to forgo breakfast cereals? What then? We could, like a true Englishman (or Englishwoman) fall back on the trusty fry up; a reasonably good balance of protein, carbs and, if you include mushrooms and tomatoes, some of your five a day. But even the best of us will need a little time to digest before heading out for training after such a marathon breakfast, and fried food carries its own health issues. So what are our alternatives when the cereal box is unavailable?

Three ideas for grain-free breakfasts

Quinoa, porridge with a twist!

Quinoa is actually a seed and is a good alternative to a grain both in a sweet or savoury capacity. It’s a good source of plant protein and is prized because it has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition; which is rarely found in plant foods. Quinoa also has a low GI (glycaemic index) score which is great because it means it will release its energy slowly helping you stay well fuelled.


  • ½ cup water

  • ½ cup milk

  • ¼ cup quinoa

Toppings of your choice:

  • Apple and cinnamon (either fresh apple or a few tablespoons of stewed apple)

  • Berries: raspberries, strawberries or blueberries

  • Coconut and mango

  • Banana and flaked almonds

  • Raisins and honey


  1. Combine water and quinoa, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cook for 10 mins or until tender.

  2. Add milk (and any flavourings e.g.: cinnamon, raisins, desiccated coconut) and cook for a further 5 mins or until creamy.

  3. Spoon into serving bowls, add toppings and enjoy.

Smashed potatoes, avocado and eggs

This is a tasty savoury breakfast which combines a healthy mixture of carbs (potatoes), fats (avocado) and protein (eggs). The avocados especially contain many beneficial nutrients including healthy monounsaturated fats; more potassium than a banana; as well as counting to one of your 5-a-day.


  • ½ avocado

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 or 4 new potatoes

  • Salt & pepper


  • Add some oven roasted cherry tomatoes to the dish for another one of your 5-a-day.

  • Before grilling/roasting your smashed potatoes try adding some minced garlic, chopped thyme and a drizzle of olive oil.

  • If you enjoy a little heat you can try adding some chilli and a squeeze of lime to the avocado spread!

  • Fried eggs also work well with this recipe, just be careful to watch your fat content though.


  1. Cook the potatoes (either boiling or steaming) until they are easily pricked with a fork.

  2. Take each potato and crush gently with the back of a wooden spoon or the bottom of a glass; the aim is to break them open but not apart too much.

  3. Season with salt and pepper and grill (or you can roast if you prefer) until golden and crisp.

  4. Meanwhile, cut the avocado, removing the stone and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash the avocado slightly, until chunky but spreadable.

  5. Poach the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

  6. Place the crispy potatoes on your serving plate, layer with the chunky avocado spread and carefully add the poached eggs on top.

Cake cube ‘cereal’

This is a calorie dense start to the day, perfect for a long training run or ride, but not too heavy on the stomach. It’s quick to put together and you can use any of your favourite cake. If you have the time a homemade cake will work just as well as reaching for a packet.


  • Cake

  • Apple

  • Nuts

  • Cold milk


  • Sprinkle a little cinnamon over the fruit and nuts before adding milk.

  • Substitute apple slices for pear, banana or mango.

  • Add half a handful of dried fruits (raisins, apricots, dates).

  • Half a tablespoon of desiccated coconut combined with mango.


  1. Cut the cake into approximately 2cm squared cubes and place into your breakfast bowl.

  2. Core the apple, slice thinly and place on top of the cake cubes.

  3. Using the back of a wooden spoon or rolling pin crush the nuts and sprinkle over the cake and fruit.

  4. Pour the desired amount of cold milk over your cake cubes and enjoy immediately.

#nutrition #breakfast

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