If your go-to breakfast looks like an invisible bowl of nothing, a cereal bar, or a sugary cereal, it’s time to re-think how you’re fuelling your body. It sounds cliché but we really are what we eat. Many of the issues we face as a society today like chronic inflammation, obesity and diabetes are largely down to diet and lifestyle choices, which means what we eat matters, and can be used as preventative medicine.
Although intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast is praised in the ‘health’ and biohacking world, skipping meals in this way is actually detrimental to women’s health. When we go for a really long time without food (unless you’re taking part in a specific planned fast for a specific reason), our metabolism slows down, our bodies move into a state of stress, and our energy, hormone and mood levels plummet. Even if intermittent fasting seems to sculpt your body into the physical shape you’ve been chasing, does it really matter if no one wants to be around you because you’re moody and tired? Many studies also show that when we skip breakfast, we’re much more likely to over-eat throughout the rest of the day, especially in the evening when our digestive system benefits from less food as it prepares for rest and sleep.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge and heavy meal, but you’re likely to experience huge benefits when you start eating a good quality breakfast, including:
- Balanced blood sugar (no more ‘hangry’ moments)
- Improved metabolism
- Enhanced energy levels
- Healthier hormones
- Less stress and more resilience
- More calmness
- Better fertility
- Enhanced brain power
- Healthier adrenals, which means you’re less likely to feel chronically overwhelmed
Sound good? Of course, the recipes below aren’t just for women, men can definitely enjoy them too. The point is that whilst men may benefit from skipping breakfast or fasting, women really really need to eat a good quality breakfast in order to feel our best. The key ingredients to include nutritionally are good quality fats (absolutely essential for women’s health), protein and complex carbohydrates, which these recipes all have a pretty balanced amount of. I hope you enjoy experimenting with these recipes, and that they help you move towards feeling great! Choose the breakfast that suits you depending upon how much time you have in the morning.
- Overnight Oats
Let’s start with a simple classic recipe that I’m sure everyone is pretty familiar with. The reason it’s so important to include this type of breakfast a couple of times as week however, is because oats contain specific nutrients that help prevent and remedy anxiety and depression. Oats are even recommended often to new mothers to prevent post-partum depression too. They’re a complex carbohydrate that help keep mood, energy and hunger levels balanced for hours, and are a great source of fibre. I know a lot of women who consume dry cereals like muesli for breakfast, and tell me their hormone and mood levels are suffering – if this sounds like you too, then give this breakfast a try instead. Make it the night before, as soaking the oats makes them easier to digest. This recipe is high in anxiety-reducing ingredients, healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, potassium, and hormone-balancing goodness.
- ¼ cup oats
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- ½ banana
- 1 tbsp nut butter
- 1 handful berries (blueberries or black berries)
- Roughly 1 cup milk of choice
- Add all ingredients to a bowl or jar (a jar is useful if you’re going to be eating your breakfast at work or on your commute)
- Stir well, and leave over night
- Top with the other half of the banana, sliced the next morning, a tbsp seeds, or a dollop of yoghurt.
2. Eggs and avocado on sourdough toast
To make this recipe even quicker to make in the morning, boil the eggs the night before, and you could even mash up the avocado the night before too – store it in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice on top to prevent it from going too brown. This recipe is great if you’re looking for more healthy fats, protein, vitamin D, and complex carbohydrates to keep your mind and body satisfied.
- 1 or 2 slices sourdough toast (keeps blood sugar more balanced than regular toast, and is better for gut health)
- 2 organic eggs
- ½ large avocado
- 1 tbsp seeds (pumpkin / sunflower / sesame)
- Organic full-fat, regular butter to spread on the toast
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- A squeeze of lemon juice if you want to be fancy
- It’s pretty self-explanatory. Top your toast with the rest of the ingredients and enjoy! A savoury breakfast can leave you feeling satisfied for longer, and is very effective for reducing sugar cravings. If you’re making this breakfast in the morning, try to boil the eggs for a shorter amount of time so the yolks are runny, which makes them more nutritious.
3. Bone broth breakfast soup
Bone broth is a true superfood. Full of collagen, protein, natural electrolytes and with detoxifying benefits, traditional cultures have been consuming this healing liquid for thousands of years. When we eat real, whole foods, our bodies instantly recognise it and know what to do with the nutrients, whilst consuming overly processed foods all the time kind of confuses the body, and we don’t necessarily absorb all the ‘nutrients’ we think we’re getting. Use THIS recipe for the broth, or purchase a ready-made bone broth online. Adding the herbs to this recipe makes it truly healing and incredibly nourishing, whilst being very light and easy to digest. This recipe is full of protein, collagen, healthy fats, anti-inflammatories, digestion-boosting herbs, and herbs to helps detox heavy metals.
- 1 cup bone broth
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 handful fresh coriander
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- Pinch of black pepper
- Tsp miso (optional)
- Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer, then switch off the heat immediately. Serve in a bowl or mug, with a slice or sourdough and organic butter if you like.
4. The Green Smoothie
I love smoothies for their ability to contain an abundance of nutritional ingredients, but they shouldn’t necessarily be an everyday breakfast. We also need lots of foods that require us to chew, in order to maintain healthy teeth, digestion and jaw structure. A couple of times a week however, this is a great way to add more green goodness to your day. This recipe is high in vitamin C, vitamin K (essential for bone health), liver-loving ingredients, healthy fats and protein.
- 1 handful kale
- 3 sprigs frozen broccoli
- 1 apple
- 1 scoop protein powder (Use code EMMA10 for 10% off yours at Love Life Supplements)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger or ½ tsp dried
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp nut butter
- Use milk, kefir or water as your liquid base
- Blend and enjoy!
5. Chocolate Chia Cardamom Pudding
If you’re plant-based, chia seeds are probably in your cupboard. Used as a replacement for eggs, to thicken recipes, or swirled into smoothies, chia seeds are full of omega 3 fats and protein, which make them a great breakfast food. Make this breakfast the night before to allow enough time for the chia seeds to soak up all the liquid. This recipe is high in protein, healthy fats, magnesium and antioxidants.
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup milk of choice (Note: I’d never advise soy milk as this isn’t necessarily healthy for hormone and oestrogen levels)
- 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 handful berries (blueberries, black berries or raspberries)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Seeds of 1 cardamom pod
- 1 tbsp cacao nibs or 1 square of dark chocolate (try 80-90% dark chocolate)
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
- Add everything to a jar or bowl (a jar is handy if you’re going to be eating your breakfast at work or on your commute) and stir well.
- If possible, stir again about an hour later (which will allow the chia seeds to set better)
- Pop in the fridge overnight, and top with more berries or nut butter the next morning.