September 2020

A nutritious breakfast can be a very positive way to start the day. Ensuring our bodies and brains are well nourished helps to provide us with energy and focus right through until the evening.

I know, however, that many people get stuck in a breakfast rut and while I don’t think it matters if we eat the same few things for breakfast day-in, day-out (we have to be realistic), I do know that it is easy to get bored and want to find new and tasty things to eat.

So I have put together a selection of healthy breakfast ideas and recipes, to help you add some variety to your mornings. Whether you have just enough time for a quick breakfast squeezed before work or a leisurely morning to create an elaborate brunch, there’s ideas for everything. Sweet, savoury, make-ahead, kid-friendly, speedy and a few more unusual options – there’s something for everyone!

I’ve split them up in to 7 sections. Perhaps one for every day of the week?! Those are; healthy smoothies, eggs, fruit, toast, vegetables, pancakes and oats. Click on the links below to expand each section. You’ll find links to lots of free recipes available online, as well as references to relevant recipes in my books (with handy page numbers so no need to go searching).

A note on breakfast being the ‘most important meal of the day’:

Nutritional thinking has changed over the last few years around the importance of breakfast. I certainly agree that for some people, having just two nutritious, balanced meals a day (lunch and dinner) works perfectly and the prolonged overnight fast has benefits for them as individuals. It does mean, however, that those two meals need to pack in all the nutrition that would previously have been spread out over three meals, so should be undertaken mindfully.

For many of us, however, breakfast is here to stay. The key from a nutritional perspective is therefore to make it as nutritious and balanced as our remaining meals. ‘Breakfast foods’ like processed cereals, white toast, jams, pastries and such are fine for occasional enjoyment and delight, but don’t have the same nutritional density, protein, healthy fats or essential vitamins and minerals that whole foods provide. If breakfast offers about 30% of our energy intake in a day, then it also needs to provide about 30% of all our other important essential nutrition requirements too. Of course, not exactly, but I hope you get the gist! These recipes will help to do just that, so keep reading for lots of practical examples.

Deliciously healthy breakfast recipes

Photo by Jen Rich

Healthy Breakfast Smoothies

Smoothies are a great option if you are in rush.  Prepare the ingredients in the evening and leave them in the blender jug in the fridge overnight, so you’re ready to swiftly blitz in the morning and be on your way. Don’t blend the night before though, as the smoothie will discolour. It’s safe to drink, but it doesn’t look very appetising.

The key to a healthy and balanced smoothie is to ensure that you include a source of protein (such as seeds, nuts, nut butter, dairy or soya yoghurt, protein powder or milk), ideally a portion of vegetables (I find mild-flavoured baby leaf spinach blends well) and stick to a single portion of fruit (to help balance blood sugar levels). This should help a smoothie to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

Busy day smoothie

Turmeric pineapple smoothie

Beetroot ginger smoothie

Summertime smootie

in my books
4 wholefood smoothies (Golden, Green, Berry & Chocolate) on pages 33-35 of Simply Good For You

Banana, mint & lime smoothie – pg. 182 of Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan

Favourite products for smoothies:

This is the blender I swear by. Hugely powerful, but with noise suppression technology and capable not only of blending, but stirring, mixing and chopping too.

A more affordable option, the Nutribullet blender is a best-seller for a reason. Well-priced, powerful, quick and easy to clean and small enough to fit on top of your worksurfaces.

This unflavoured, unsweetened, plant-based protein powder from Form is my go-to and the one I most often recommend to clients if they’d like to use one.

This wide-mouthed travel smoothie bottle is made from borosilicate glass and comes with a non-slip neoprene sleeve. The steel cap fits tightly enough to ensure a leak-proof seal, too.

Almonds are my go-to smoothie nut, adding some necessary protein, nutrients and healthy fats. They blend really well if you soak them in water for a few hours first (ideally overnight). I buy them from here in bulk.

High in protein, hulled hemp seed blends well into smoothies (especially if soaked for a little while first). I tend to buy them in bulk to make it a much more cost-effective addition.

Photo by Susan Bell

Healthy Breakfast Eggs

Eggs are a fantastic way to start the day. A quick and simple source of protein and many essential nutrients, they help us to feel full and balance our blood sugar levels, keeping cravings and snacking at bay even late into the afternoon.

If I’m in a rush, I’ll quickly boil an egg using this fantastic electric egg boiler (trust me, I was sceptical too, but it’s a brilliant piece of kit for busy mornings). If I have more time, I’ll make a frittata or egg muffins, which are a great way to include more vegetables at breakfast time (and they freeze well too, so perfect for batch cooking).

Egg muffins

Summer vegetable frittata

Vegetable souffle with parsely, sage & rosemary

Green shakshuka

Shakshuka using leftover vegetables

Egg on toast, broad beans with herbs & feta

Kale & mushroom muffins

Breakfast pizza

Herby green omelette

Egg breakfast salad

Amelia’s Favourite Breakfast

Warm Breakfast Salad

in my books

Egg and vegetable tray bake – pg. 62 of Simply Good For You

Mini frittatas – pg. 76 of Simply Good For You

Breakfast pizza (complete with a grilled egg on top) – pg. 64 of Simply Good For You. This one is a real hit with Willow.

Hard-boiled eggs with watercress pesto (worth making extra pesto as it goes brilliantly with lots of ingredients) – pg. 128 of Cook. Nourish. Glow.

Scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes and dulse – pg. 222 of Cook. Nourish. Glow

For a special weekend brunch, these beautifully Colourful Layered Eggs from pg. 113 of Cook. Nourish. Glow are a bit of a show-stopper.

Favourite products for eggs:

I was hugely sceptical about how useful this little gadget would be when my partner bought it. But I was wrong. It’s like having a toaster for eggs!

These beautifully simple, porcelain egg cups from Broste Copenhagen are the chicest way to start your day.

This is the perfect shallow pan with fitted lid, made to last in white enamelled cast iron. The heavy bottom means food cooks beautifully evenly and can be used on the hob, in the oven, or under the grill.

Ideal for beating eggs and making the fluffiest omelettes, this brilliant whisk has a comfy handle, sturdy wires and is easy to clean.

A silicon muffin tray is a really useful tool if you are batch-cooking egg muffins for the week ahead or to freeze.

I like the old-fashioned satisfaction of setting off my egg-timer and waiting for it to ring. A simple pleasure, but a useful one nonetheless.

Photo by Jen Rich

Healthy Fruit Breakfasts

If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, fruit is a great way to go and tends to also be a good option for anyone cooking with little ones. The key in terms of nutritional balance is to also include some protein. That might be unsweetened natural yoghurt, chopped nuts or seeds or nut butters, all of which work well alongside fruit.

I like to use berries at breakfast (frozen when out of season, fresh in the summer). They are a source of anthocyanins, a type of dietary antioxidant, and tend to be relatively lower in sugar and higher in fibre than some other fruits. There’s not much simpler than a bowl of natural yoghurt, a pile of strawberries or raspberries and a small handful of chopped almonds, for example. But here are a few more recipe options for your inspiration. You can of course switch around the fruit you use in them according to what’s in season or what your taste preferences might be.

Fruity breakfast crumble bars

Rhubarb orange fool

Spiced apple sauce

Blackberry and lemon chia pudding

Cherry compote

in my books

There are 4 lovely yoghurt bowl recipes (Apricot & pistachio, Gut-friendly, Berry jam and Fig & hazelnut) on pg. 52-59 of Simply Good For You.

Fruit at breakfast doesn’t always have to be completely sweet. I love the chicken & mango breakfast salad on pg. 71 of Simply Good For You.

Baked orange & almond pears – pg. 266 of Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan.

Turmeric & mango spiced chia pot – pg. 148 of Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan.

Favourite products for fruit:

Convenient sized clip-top glass storage jars and so useful to have in the kitchen. I have dozens of these and use them for everything from making overnight oats and yoghurt breakfasts to storing portions of fruit compotes or sauces.

These are the sweetest heart shaped ramekins. Pretty and perfectly sized for mini crumbles, yoghurt bowls and fruit breakfasts.

If you love apples and like to bake with them then I cannot recommend investing in one of these brilliant gadgets.

A sharp peeler makes light work of fruit & vegetable preparation, which is exactly what we need on rushed mornings.

I use these super sharp paring knives from Victorinox every single day. They just make fruit & vegetable prep much simpler and faster.

A wooden chopping board makes a huge difference to how quickly you can do your meal preparation. I find that wood absorbs the shock of the knife better than plastic and stops the food slipping around, helping to make chopping faster and safer.

Photo by Jen Rich

Healthy Bread & Toast Breakfasts

The key to a healthy toast-based breakfast is to start with a nutritious and minimally refined bread, ideally one that includes whole grains and/or seeds. I really like this rye bread from Biona.

Finding a properly fermented sourdough (which also gives it that wonderful tang) is another nutritional trick, as the fermentation process can help to reduce the impact that the flour may have on blood sugar levels, as well as increase the bioavailability of nutrients, such as zinc, to make them more readily available. I love this one from Riverford, which takes 48 hours to prepare and bake.

If you are gluten free, then these are the best GF breads that I have found, both in terms of taste and texture, and nutrition:

Next, we need to think about making the toppings nutrient dense too. The possibilities are enormous, but again, the key is to think about adding some sort of protein, vegetables (or fruit) and healthy fats.

12 favourite things on toast

Herby green bread

Carrot & caraway gluten free bread

Beetroot, rosemary & walnut soda bread

The hangover sandwich

Avocado & broad beans on toast

Sweet potato toasts with scrambled tofu

in my books

There is a whole chapter of healthy and nutritious toppings for toast in Simply Good For You. I called them my ‘hero toppings’ as they really help to pack in nutrition and taste for anyone feeling exhausted and time-poor. You can definitely still have your toast and eat it with these ideas!

Favourite products for bread and toast:

A sharp, effective bread knife is a necessity if you’re baking-your-own.

A good loaf tin can make all the difference to how your bread bakes, and how easily you can remove it.

This beautifully simple bread bin, with ventilation holes for air circulation and optimal freshness, a lovely integrated bamboo chopping board and linen storage bag for extra fresh bread.

Handmade in the UK, simply wrap this around your bread and store it away in a cool, dry place to keep it fresher for longer.

If you’re on the lookout for a beautiful, handmade breadboard that will very much stand the test of time, take a look at these stunning boards from Temper Studio, handmade in English Beech, Oak or Sycamore.

This is the toaster I have had for years. I love how it looks and how simple it is to operate.

Photo by Jen Rich

Healthy Vegetable Breakfasts

Savoury breakfasts are my absolute favourite and I encourage you to challenge your comfort zone if vegetables at breakfast feels weird to you. Familiarity often leads to enjoyment, so keep at it and your tastebuds will adapt.

One of the easiest ways to add vegetables to breakfast is to add a few cherry tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms or wilted spinach to your eggs, toast or other savoury breakfast. Or blend a portion of veg into a smoothie (spinach, kale, cucumber, courgettes and even cauliflower can work well). But it’s also fun to think outside the breakfast box and try a few less-typical vegetable-packed breakfast dishes. There’s a good few ideas below.

Some of these dishes take a little extra preparation so I’d opt to make them for a leisurely weekend brunch rather than a hectic morning.

Sweetcorn fritters with a yoghurt herb dip

Warm breakfast salad

Avocado and broad beans on toast

Smörgåsbord platter

Green ‘wake me up’ broth

Brunch vegetable fritters

Grilled sardines & tomatoes with crunchy herb dressing

Beetroot parsnip fritters

Celeriac rosti

Amelia’s Favourite Breakfast

in my books

Butternut baked beans (vegan) – pg. 61 of Simply Good For You. Perfect for batch cooking, and just as lovely at lunch or supper too.

Favourite products for vegetables:

I use these super sharp paring knives from Victorinox every single day. They just make vegetable prep much simpler and faster.

A wooden chopping board makes a huge difference to how quickly you can do your meal preparation.

I use my microplane grater for everything from garlic and ginger to adding a little lemon zest flavour boost. When you’re done give it a quick rinse or put it in the top rack of the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

This mandolin slicer is the quickest way to prepare vegetables, I use mine daily.

A sharp peeler makes light work of vegetable preparation, which is exactly what we need on rushed mornings.

For the most beautiful sharing platters at breakfast, you need a good-sized plate. This beautiful oval platter is made from Portugese clay, with a classic white glaze. It’s a classic.

Amelia Freeer's Buckwheat Breakfast Pancakes with Stewed Blackberries
Photo by Emma Goodwin

Healthy Pancake Breakfasts

There is something pretty wonderful about pottering about the kitchen, radio on, mixing and frying pancakes. Perhaps it’s because they are a breakfast dish I only make when there is a gentle start to the day and enough time free to do them justice. So, in my mind, they’re associated with all sorts of happy memories. Birthday mornings, celebratory weekends, breakfast-in-bed. It’s why I love them so much.

But pancakes don’t have to only be saved for special occasions. The mix can be whipped up quickly in the morning or made in advance and kept in the fridge overnight, and if you do a big batch, they tend to keep well for a few days (perhaps just warming them through gently before serving).

I often use buckwheat flour in my pancakes for the wonderful nutty taste, and top with unsweetened yoghurt (protein), fruit and nuts, seeds or a dollop of nut butter (healthy fat and added protein) to provide all of the nutrients I need for a healthy balanced breakfast.

Here are a couple of gluten free pancake options, but you can use regular wholewheat flour if you wish.

Buckwheat breakfast pancakes

Coconut flour pancakes

in my books

The easy Protein Pancakes on pg. 51 of Simply Good For You have been so popular with readers and they really are super quick to make.

Favourite products for pancakes:

If there is one thing that makes successful pancakes a whole lot easier, it’s a good pan. Big enough to accommodate a few mini pancakes at a time, but not so big that you can’t make a single crepe without it breaking apart.

I try to mix up my nut butters to help broaden the variety of healthy fats in my diet. I love this delicious cashew nut option.

I’m a huge fan of these lightweight, set of 5 nesting stainless steel mixing bowls. They are virtually indestructible, you can choose the exact size you need according to the recipe you’re making.

To make good pancakes, you need a good whisk to get rid of lumps and make a beautifully smooth batter.

Could there be a more divine way to wake up, than taking this beautiful tray back to bed, complete with steaming mug of tea (or coffee), stack of pancakes and the weekend newspapers? The best of simple pleasures.

This delicious organic maple syrup is the perfect addition to a stack of scrumptious pancakes.

Healthy Breakfast Oats

A comforting bowl of hot steaming porridge is a wonderful staple breakfast, particularly during the colder autumnal and winter months. I love it topped with a little yoghurt (dairy free is fine if you prefer), some diced apple or pear, a sprinkle of these and a drizzle of honey or scattering of chopped dates.

I also love oats in the warmer months too – they are a nutritious and simple whole grain to incorporate into our diets at any time of the year. Overnight oats, or Bircher muesli are easy summer options. They are a useful recipes to have to hand if you’re often busy in the mornings, as you can mix together one big batch that will do you for 2-3 days.

As always, remember to add some protein (milk, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, nut / seed butter, protein powder) to help you feel full and keep blood sugar levels stable. It is often this food group that is missing if you find that you’re ravenous just a couple of hours after breakfast.

Crunchy nut & seed granola

Quinoa porridge

Crunchy amaranth granola

Creamy coconut strawberry chia breakfast porridge

Apple crumble oats

Overnight almond oats with poached pears

Chocolate Orange Porridge

Raspberry and Lemon Porridge

Tropical Mango Porridge

Cherry Bakewell Porridge

Apple and Cinnamon Porridge

in my books

The Bircher Muesli on pg. 36 of Simply Good For You is my go to breakfast for busy days and can be infinitely varied according to the toppings.

Coconut Muesli, pg. 39 of Simply Good For You.

As for granola, my favourite one to make from scratch is on page 141 of Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Favourite products for oats:

I have a stack of these robust bowls, which to me are the perfect size and shape to wrap your hands around on a frosty morning, especially when filled with enticing and steamy porridge.

I was sent this Apple & Cinnamon granola, from Bio & Me, which contains added prebiotic fibre alongside wholegrain oats, a mixture of seeds and some dates for sweetness. This is a great option if you don’t have the time to DIY.

Convenient sized clip-top glass storage jars and so useful to have in the kitchen. I have dozens of these and use them for everything from making overnight oats to storing portions of fruit compotes or sauces.

If you eat gluten-free oats, I’ve found that buying online (especially in bulk, if you eat a lot) can be a cheaper option.

An ancient grain that I love to use in my granola, this makes a welcome change from oats.

The prettiest little scalloped bowls made from Portuguese clay in a classic white glaze. I use these almost every day and always get lots of questions about where they come from.

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