My pregnancy due-date is encroaching, and whilst I’m in a semi-deliberate anxious denial about the fact there will soon be a newborn in our lives; I’m doing nesting the only way I know how – by making food. (Last time round I cleaned behind one radiator before giving up – much to T’s amusement).
We didn’t really struggle for nutritious meals when A was tiny – taking advantage of night-feed Ocado shops and ready-prepared vegetables; but breakfast was my downfall. My response to bitter exhaustion is to reach for the nearest, sweetest foodstuff available as soon as it is legitimately morning. Sometimes junky cereals. On more than one occasion: Mini Eggs. I want to give myself a bit of a better start this time, so here are some of my favourite nutrient-packed breakfasts to prepare ahead. Perfect whether you’re feeding a newborn or in a rush to catch the train for work. I’m going to need a bigger freezer…
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with oats: I love them, but in any great quantity, my body hates them! I enjoy a good bircher muesli (overnight oats if you’re trendy) and my favourite versions are this beautifully flavoured Ottolenghi one, or my coconut & berry version. Both take seconds to prepare and can be kept in the fridge for a few days soaking ready for a hasty breakfast.
For an oat-free version I like to turn to alternative gluten free grains such as quinoa or buckwheat. The flakes can have a bit of a gritty texture, but pre-cooked whole grains can cooled to make into a bircher-esque pot full of fibre and plant-based protein.
My version here is just cooked grains mixed with calcium-fortified coconut yogurt, lime zest, vanilla and topped with fresh seasonal fruit. Dried or frozen fruit makes a lovely addition in the winter.
Not just for body-builders – protein powder can provide a useful alternative source of protein when you just can’t face meat or fish in the morning. A big batch of pancakes will freeze well, then defrost a few at a time in the microwave ready for yogurty, fruity, nut buttery (or yes, syrupy) toppings. I’ll probably let myself off on the edible flowers for a few weeks when baby arrives 😉
My go-to batch recipe is:
- 1 cup egg whites
- 2 medium banana (or equivalent amount of sweet potato or cooked beetroot)
- 1/2 cup whey powder (I use the pure plain whey from Protein Pow)
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
blended together then fried 1-2 tbsp oil until golden and fluffy.
The version pictured has a little cocoa substituted for some of the flour to make a black forest version, layered with cherry compote.
With apologies to my egg-allergic little one (thankfully not so badly affected that we can’t have them in the house), I am partial to snacking on a stash of ready-boiled eggs from the fridge.
For something more interesting, a wedge of last night’s ‘bung it all in’ frittata makes a perfect breakfast the next morning – also good for getting some of your 5 (10?) a day in first thing!
Waffles needn’t be sugary affairs, and a small investment in a waffle iron offers lots of potential for alternative to ubiquitous toast. In fact, waffles reheat perfectly from the freezer in the toaster.
This savoury idea from Ceri inspired my little girl’s favourite (egg free) broccoli waffles – topped with baked beans you have a plate full of whole grains, fibre and complete protein. Boom.
- Florets from a medium steamed head of broccoli (I use the microwave)
- 200 mls almond milk mixed with 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 220g gluten free flour blend (I like the wholegrain blend from Free From Fairy)
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, nutritional yeast or dried herbs + seasoning
- 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
and cook in the waffle iron according to instructions.
What are your favourite easy and nutritious breakfasts? I’d love to know!