A few years ago my breakfasts were very brown in colour, mostly consisting of toast with marmite or a wheat based cereal with milk, sugar and a cup of tea. This might sound like a normal breakfast for many people. But knowing what I know now about nutrition, I have no idea how my body coped through breastfeeding my first child on this morning staple. Maybe the spots and mouth ulcers I developed during this time were a clue I wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed!
Starting the day with my drab and carb-tastic breakfast did fill me up, but not for long. Processed carbohydrates in the form of bread and cereals are quickly broken down by the body into sugar. A sugar rush is followed by a crash, leaving you running on empty and starving way before lunch. Not only that, but most supermarket bought bread and cereals are so processed there will be very little in the way of vitamins and minerals (the raw materials your body needs to function effectively) left in them. With high levels of sugar and salt added to create some ‘flavour’ and various other toxic ingredients to keep these foods ‘fresher for longer’, what you are actually consuming is a delightful medley of non-food – as your first meal of the day. Nice!
Government research shows that increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables reduces your risk of chronic disease.
The reason why brightly coloured plant foods are SO good for you is because, in addition to the vitamins and minerals, they also contain thousands of compounds called phytonutrients. These chemicals give the plants their bright colour whilst providing them with a protection system from environmental dangers such as UV rays and insect attack. When we consume these plants, the phytonutrients provide us with protection too.
They are the antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting compounds that protect us from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Interestingly, the harder the plant has had to work to survive, the more phytonutrients it will contain. Plants that have been grown using pesticides to protect them from insects have less phytonutrients than a hardy organic plant.
As my knowledge of nutrition has grown, so my breakfasts have brightened up considerably. These days, my vegetable consumption is no longer limited to lunch and dinner as I aim to ‘eat the rainbow’ at breakfast too! And eating a more balanced meal containing protein and fat as well as carbohydrates, easily keeps me going until lunchtime.
Balancing blood sugar is key to supporting the body through stress, weight loss and it also protects us from chronic disease.
Eggs are a great way to start the day and I usually have one every morning. But it’s avocados that I really love, being so versatile they can be eaten as a savoury or a sweet. They are ridiculously anti-inflammatory (great for arthritis), high in heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats (same fat found in olives) and they help balance blood sugar too. So for a mega dose of phytonutrients at breakfast, you could try this delicous Blueberry Avocado Superfood Mousse, which also provides you with protein, essential fats and an awesome boost of brain nourishing nutrients and antioxidants. It takes minutes to make, tastes amazing and you may even persuade the children to try it!
Blueberry Avocado Superfood Mousse
2/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 ripe large avocado
1/2 ripe banana
Juice of half a lime
Splash of plant milk (almond, oat or coconut milk) to loosen mixture and enable blades to turn
Tiny pinch of Himalayan salt
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- Mixed seeds (pumpkin, linseeds, sunflower seeds)
- Walnuts, almonds
- Chia seeds
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Quinoa pops
- Drizzle of raw honey or pomegranate molasses
- Thin slices of avocado or papaya
In a good blender, combine the avocado, blueberries, banana, lime, milk, salt and coconut oil until smooth, stir through the ground flax.
Remove the seeds from a papaya and squeeze some lime juice onto the fruit, then pile the mousse into the middle and decorate with your choice of topping. Or just eat it straight from the bowl. This is perfect for babies and children, just omit the salt and the whole nuts/seeds depending on the childs age and chewing ability!
Take a look at my other breakfast recipes and smoothie recipes for more nutritious ways to start the day. I would love to hear which ones you enjoyed so please comment or even better, take a picture and post it on facebook / instagram!