What to Eat for Breakfast: Part Three
Hello again my well-prepped breakfast friends! This week we are going back to eggy breakfasts and discussing how to make an awesome frittata, which is something that I don’t think I go more than about 2 weeks without making. It’s an easy, nourishing meal solution that is handy to have around for a quick lunch or dinner option too.
One of the things I love about making frittatas is that they’re very economical. You can throw in whatever vegetables you’ve got laying around, especially those starting to look a little sad that need to be made into something more glamorous!
The health benefits of eggs
I also want to take a moment to discuss why I like to eat eggs. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but in our household we always have at least a dozen in the fridge and I consider them to be an absolute superfood; they contain a broad spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals and are a great source of healthy fats and protein of course. Eggs are not only a complete protein but one of the most bioavailable forms of protein. What does this mean?
- Complete protein: eggs contain all the essential amino acids (biochemically – amino acids are the building blocks of protein) that we need to consume in as part of our food intake. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be synthesised by the body from other compounds, which is why we need to consume them as part of our diet.
- Bioavailable protein: just because you put something in your belly doesn’t mean that your body can completely absorb it and utilize it; the nutrients in your food vary in the extent to which they are released from the food and pass through the gastrointestinal wall*. Eggs provide us with a highly bioavailable form of protein.
Whole eggs are an excellent source of B vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They also pack a whopping great amount of selenium, a mineral that plays an important role in detoxification processes. I love this article from Authority Nutrition which thoroughly canvasses the health benefits of eggs. I don’t subscribe to the belief that egg consumption produces high unhealthy cholesterol levels, nor that we should be avoiding all saturated fats. Cholesterol is actually essential to a number of functions in our bodies, including the production of bile acids for digestion and the synthesis of vitamin D and our sex hormones. Read my interview with Steph, The Natural Nutritionist here for more on saturated fats. (I estimate that I typically eat between 8-12 whole eggs – yolk and all – per week, if you were wondering.)
Recipe: Five-Day Breakfast Frittata
This is a jumbo version of a frittata which is intended to cover you for a working weeks’ worth of breakfast, but if you need something smaller simply downsize the recipe.
What you need
- 10 eggs;
- 2-3 teaspoons dried herbs/spices of choice, plus salt & pepper to taste;
- 3-4 cups of a mix of starchy and non-starchy vegetables (see notes below);
- 1-2 handfuls of leafy greens and/or fresh herbs;
- Optional: 1 cup of chopped or shredded leftover meat, quinoa, brown rice (or anything else left in the fridge really) and/or ½ cup grated or crumbled cheese of choice.
What to do
- Preheat oven to 180 C and line and/or grease a large baking dish with coconut oil, olive oil or organic butter. (My favourite is a big rectangular glass pyrex dish about 25cm x 20cm, it’s nice and shallow which means the frittata cooks quickly and is easy to slice.)
- Prepare your vegetables – dice, grate, chop. For any hard vegetables that are raw (e.g. potato, sweet potato, cauliflower, carrot, beetroot), steam/roast until just softened. Softer vegetables like mushrooms, tomato, courgette etc don’t need prep time as they will cook in the frittata. If using onions, leeks or peppers/capsicums, roasting or sautéing briefly before adding them will give the best flavour.
- Arrange all vegetables and leafy greens evenly in the baking dish, layering them on top of each other. If you are using any other add-ins like meat or cheese, scatter these in also.
- Whisk together the eggs and dried herbs/spices you are using. Add a little salt and pepper. Pour the mix over the top of everything in the baking dish.
- Place in oven and bake for 40-60 minutes (depending on the depth of the dish you use, your oven etc). The frittata is done when the centre is firm to touch and the top has started to turn a golden brown. It will puff a bit while cooking but settle down once out of the oven.
- Allow to cool, slice in to five pieces and you’re done.
You can eat this on its own or add some extra salad or meat as a side. As noted in the above recipe, I like to use a mix of starchy and non-starchy vegetables to balance the carbohydrate load of the frittata. Starchy vegetables include potato, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, parsnip and beetroot. Non-starchy vegetables include zucchini/courgette, mushrooms, eggplant/aubergine, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, capsicums/peppers, onion, tomatoes (I know they are technically a fruit!).
Honestly, there’s not much that can’t go in to a frittata. However, some combinations taste better than others! A few of my favourites are:
- Sweet potato, spinach and broccoli with dried thyme and chilli flakes;
- Potato, capsicum, olive, rocket and goats cheese with dried oregano;
- Pumpkin, kale, cherry tomato and feta with ground cumin.
If you are looking for a specific recipe for some inspiration, I have just popped up my recipe for a Sweet Potato and Broccoli Frittata, check it out here!
Next week will be the final week of my “What’s for Breakfast?” series. In this one we will cover off everything else that can make a good speedy breakfast, from smoothie bowls to bake-ahead breakfast breads and muffins. Stay tuned!
*please note that digestibility doesn’t just depend on the type of food, but also the way it is prepared and also your gut health, which is why it is important to eat a consistently good diet which will help to support and maintain the integrity of your gut lining.