I know that mornings can be hard, and that for many of us, we need to eat on the go or at our desks. So, to kick off 2015 I have decided to create a series of blog posts which focus on breakfast – but not of the lovingly decorated, 20-minute stovetop porridge variety. I am talking – whip me outta that fridge and let’s GO. But let’s be healthy, balanced and filling too (i.e. not jam on toast).
So, firstly, what do we need out of a good breakfast?
I don’t know about you, but if I eat something small, sweet and simple for breakfast (which rarely happens these days) like a small tub of yoghurt or a slice or two of toast, I am positively ravenous by 10am.
What we need to get us going in the morning is a dose of healthy fat paired with a replenishing protein to keep us filled up. Good fats are essential for our bodies and they’re also satiating, especially if you pair them with a quality protein. This combo will shut down those hunger pangs, and your body will digest the meal more slowly than a simple carb fix, keeping you going for longer and avoiding a blood sugar spike/crash response. Do you get all shaky, tired and cranky within a few hours of eating, and need to eat again? It’s time to make some food swaps. Adding protein and fats to your breakfast, and reducing the proportion of refined carbohydrates consumed, will result in less of an insulin spike and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
First up, one of my all-time favourite make-ahead breakfasts – the Egg Pot! This could not be easier, and you can prep a whole working weeks’ worth of brekkies in about an hour. Essentially, the Egg Pot is a harmonious, delicious union between boiled eggs, complex carbohydrates and nutrient-dense vegetable add-ons, with a few extra flavour boosters thrown in here and there.
For a working weeks’ worth of brekkies (i.e. 5 days), you need:
- Your eggs: 10 eggs (i.e. 2 per breakfast);
- Your complex carb: a couple sweet potatoes, some pumpkin (squash) and/or some quinoa (you want to allow for about 1 cup per breakfast. For quinoa, I find a scant 1/3 cup of dry quinoa makes 1 cup cooked, so about 1.5 cups of dry quinoa will make plenty for a week);
- A couple of “add-ons”, being a combination of any of the following non-exhaustive list: salad spinach, rocket, cress, cucumber, tomatoes, courgette (zucchini), avocado, feta cheese, olives, smoked salmon, seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin), lemon, olive oil, cider vinegar, hummus, plain organic (unsweetened) yoghurt, sugar-free relish/pesto, sauerkraut.
On the weekend (or whenever your prep hour is scheduled):
- Peel and chop your sweet potato/pumpkin however you like and roast it in the oven with a small amount of coconut oil or olive oil. Alternatively, pop on a pot of quinoa to cook (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, approx. 20 minutes by absorption method). While that’s cooking away, pop all your eggs in a pot and hard boil (10 mins).
- When the complex carb and the eggs are done, you can stop here, store them in the fridge and finish building your breakfasts later (i.e. do it the night before each brekky or the morning of), or you can divide everything up into containers now.
- To make a serving of an Egg Pot, take approximately 1 cup of your carb and place it in your breakfast container; layer in your add-ons; top with two eggs (you can peel them before adding or do this just before you eat – they keep longer in their shells so only peel 1-2 day’s worth at a time).
You can build an Egg Pot out of a very large variety of ingredients. It’s not meant to be a stressful experience where you must have a multitude of stuff on hand. Some sweet potato, leafy salad greens, tomato, avocado and a little olive oil are a nice bunch to start with, i.e. you would construct your breakfast with: a cup of sweet potato, a handful of salad greens, some chopped tomato, half an avocado and a drizzle of olive oil (add salt and pepper to taste). Top this with your eggs and you’re done – nothing else needs cooking other than the sweet potato and the eggs, so if you do these in a batch on the weekend you just chop everything else up and whack it in a container. Other Egg Pot ideas include:
- Pumpkin Hummus Pot: pumpkin, spinach, cherry tomatoes and a tablespoon or two of hummus, olive oil;
- Green Quinoa Pot: quinoa, baby spinach, cucumber slices, avocado and lemon juice;
- Little Greek Pot: quinoa (or sweet potato), diced cucumber and tomato, a handful of olives and sprinkle of feta cheese, olive oil;
- Digestive Power Pot: sweet potato, rocket, avocado, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar and olive oil;
- Smoked Salmon Pot: pumpkin, rocket, diced cucumber, smoked salmon and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar;
- Exotic Yoghurt Pot: sweet potato, watercress, grated/shredded raw zucchini, 2 tablespoons of full-fat natural yogurt, olive oil.
The list is pretty much endless but I’m going to stop now so I don’t overwhelm you (and I’m running out of cute names for my egg pots!). Basically guys – I just want to get you thinking about how to make something in advance that is going to nourish you, fill you up and make you feel awesome in the morning.
I’d love to see your Egg Pots and in particular any weird and wonderful add-on combinations that you come up with! If you like to snap a pic of your food, tag me on Instagram (@nourish_everyday) and/or Facebook (facebook.com/nourisheveryday) with your creations. Get cooking! And check back in next week for Part 2 of my “What’s for Breakfast?” posts.