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Start Your Day Right: Nutritious Breakfast

January 29, 2019

We might be approaching the Year of the Pig, but why not start this new year with the healthy habit of eating a good breakfast? If you or your kids aren’t part of the bandwagon that enjoys brekky, then here are some reasons to help convince you to add this meal to your daily habit. 

Michael Gibney from the Institute of Food and Health of the University College Dublin and his colleagues established the International Breakfast Research Initiative and they give us a few reasons why kids and adults alike should definitely break the fast every morning:

1. Eating breakfast has always been linked to the advantage of mental alertness. In children and adolescents, there has been a lot of research on the potential effects of breakfast on improving cognitive performance. This means better attention span and memory function for your children especially for their school day ahead. 

2. Eating breakfast also helps individuals achieve the recommended daily requirement of important vitamins and micronutrients. 

3. For adults, breakfast consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity and weight gain, improved glycemic control, and a reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors. 

Of course, this is all dependent on what is actually consumed during the first meal of the day. Which is why it is important to skip the sugary cereal and choose whole nutritious foods to start your kids’ day and yours as well. 

According to Charles Spence of Oxford University (2017), the general advice from health experts is to eat a substantial breakfast that is well balanced. This means having a meal where all the macronutrients are well represented, a good mix of lean protein, good carbohydrates, and good sources of fat. Special attention should also be given to increasing vegetable intake and protein contribution to this meal as they are often overlooked because the usual breakfast fare is commonly made up of refined carbohydrates. 

Making healthy choices for what you and your kids consume during breakfast will have profound effects on your health, well-being, and cognitive performance. 

Here are some ideas to start your day with:

Hot & savoury breakfast ideas

  • Veggie omelette making use of different vegetables per day for variety with your choice of whole grain or sourdough toast. You can do spinach and mushroom one day, broccoli and cheese the following day, or you can also pair salmon with asparagus for more protein or shrimp with onions and tomatoes. Don’t forget that you can always add a little cheese to make it more palatable to your kids. Another option is to make a white omelet using only the egg whites.
  • Warm quinoa stir fry using a variety of colorful vegetables like diced carrots, pumpkin, string beans or French beans, kidney beans or black beans, topped with chopped roasted cashews for an extra crunch that kids usually like.
  • Healthier pancakes sneaked in with the wholesome goodness of vegetables like pumpkin or cauliflower (recipe provided below)

Cold & fresh breakfast ideas

  • Green smoothie bowl made from spinach, avocado, almond milk, and blended with some frozen sliced fruits topped with your kid’s favorite berries, crunchy seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and some sliced or crushed nuts
  • Greek yogurt with shredded carrots, mango, kiwi, and pineapple with some ground flax seeds and a dollop of natural and unsalted nut butter
  • ABC chia seed pudding (soak 3 Tbsp of chia seeds in a cup of ABC – apple, beet, carrot juice) topped with sliced bananas, grapes, and some toasted coconut flakes

And now for the pancake recipe.

Banana Cauliflower Pancakes

Makes 9 pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup cauliflower florets

½ cup water

½ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 large egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 pc. large banana, mashed or blended

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

cooking spray

*Optional: Maple syrup or coconut sugar to taste based on your kids’ acceptance level

Recommended toppings: blueberries, strawberries, and almond slices

Directions:

1. Cook cauliflower florets in the steamer until soft. Place inside the food processor along with ½ cup water and blend until very smooth. Add in the banana and blend until smooth. You can do this step in advance to save you time in the morning.

2. Mix banana-cauliflower puree, almond milk, and egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

3. In another bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Add your dry ingredients into the banana-cauliflower mixture in small batches and whisk until all of the dry mixture is fully incorporated. You can also add in a little bit of the maple syrup or coconut sugar here depending on how sweet you want it to be. When adding coconut sugar, make sure to mix well to avoid lumps.

5. Put a non-stick pan on the stove over low heat, use cooking spray to cover the surface. Scoop out the batter using a 1/3 measuring cup (or the ideal size that you want) onto the pan. Wait until the top bubbles and produces holes and edges begin to brown before flipping and cooking the other side. Continue cooking until both sides are golden brown and cooked through.

6. Serve with your kids’ choice of toppings. I added sliced strawberries and a blackberry and drizzled mine with agave syrup. Enjoy! ☺

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