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Holistic Take On Healthy Breakfast

Updated: Nov 27, 2022


A wholesome breakfast is the most powerful way to start your day. What could be more power-packed than the dish of a naturally sweet or savory delicious meal to energize your morning? A nutritious breakfast not only makes you full until lunch, but it also refrains you from overindulging in unhealthy snacks in between meals.


Whether it's bowlful oatmeal with fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, or savory oats, buckwheat, semolina, or millet porridge with fresh veggies and herbs, it's a perfect choice to keep you nourished. The whole grains combined with nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables are excellent dietary fibers, proteins, minerals, and quintessential phytonutrients. There are hundreds of healthy and innovative ideas to introduce in the bowl of energy in your mornings. When you start a day with a portion of unprocessed or minimally processed healthy plant-based food without refined sugars and oils, you certainly do not need to count calories. It automatically makes you more active, alert, and joyful throughout the day.







As good fuel keeps a vehicle's engine running, so is healthy food for your body. Several experiments have been done on what is the best breakfast to keep you filled, energetic, and alert for the day. Though breakfast containing more fat and less fiber is more appealing and palatable, protein and fiber-rich breakfast are associated with more satiety and higher alertness. Breakfast that consists of more fat and less fiber provides less satiety for more calories. So-called fancy breakfast like croissants, jams, jelly, doughnuts, etc., consists of refined flour and sugar. This breakfast high in sugar and refined carbohydrate can spike your sugar level up. Your body will face a sudden glucose spike; hence, maintaining a consistent sugar level body will release insulin to lower glucose levels. You'll get an instant sugar crash that will leave you feeling irritable, anxious, grumpy, and hungry, and you'll crave more calorie-dense unhealthy food. It is essential to keep your blood sugar stable. Breakfast made with whole grains is rich in fiber and other nutrients. Besides, it is associated with better diet quality and improved nutrition intake. (1)



Nutritious breakfast



Fiber (whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables)

+

Proteins (dairy or non-dairy yogurt, plant-based milk, tofu)

+

Healthy fats (nuts, seeds)


Simple and effective breakfast basics to follow:


  • Maintain a regular schedule. Apart from a few "messed up schedule days," Try to keep a standard time to break your nightly fast.

  • Enjoy your breakfast without any distractions; for a while, keep your newspaper, phone, and laptop aside. This mantra serves many purposes. Eating your breakfast in a relaxed environment will result in better digestion and absorption.

  • Should you always eat breakfast like a king? not necessarily. If you are physically active, keep yourself up and running all the time, fitness, or sports lover, you need more energy. You can indulge in a fatty protein-rich breakfast. If your daily routine consists of sitting in front of a computer the whole day, having a big breakfast is not a good idea. Listen to your body.

  • Are you skipping your breakfast to lose weight? Skipping or eating breakfast does not make any difference when you are trying to lose weight but eating healthily throughout the day and having a good lifestyle certainly does. There is one thumb rule, Respect your body's signal. Do not deprive your body when it is urging for food.



Say goodbye to processed cereals:


Sugary cereals are considered a low-quality breakfast no matter how good the brand you are using. The only advantage of processed cereal over a bowl of oatmeal or any breakfast porridge is that it takes just one minute to get ready with your breakfast. One of my friends once asked me why she should refrain from her eight-year-old with easy-to-serve cereal as kids love it, especially in the busy morning when everyone has to rush to work or school. Why make so much fuss over giving colorful cereal as any so-called whole grain healthy pancake also contains some form of sugar? That question made me research more about how ready-to-eat cereals are made. Most of the vibrant-looking cereals are mainly made up of genetically modified grains(GMO's), laden with sugars (high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin), dangerous artificial colors, hydrogenated oil, preservative like BHT( butylated hydroxytoluene), and harmful flavors (created in a laboratory).





Additionally, if you are misled by the idea of getting fortified cereals with essential minerals, Let me tell you, synthetic vitamins and minerals can't get readily absorbed by our bodies. So your body is not utilizing it and excreting it quickly as it recognizes it as a toxin. Not just cereals, this is the case with almost all ready-to-eat, highly advertised breakfast food. Do not get fooled by the "All natural" label. It is nothing but a marketing strategy. We certainly need real food to thrive that comes directly from nature. In short, If you are still in a dilemma, It's high time to DITCH YOUR BOXED CEREAL.(2)



1. Everyday oat bowl


Got oats? If the miraculous whole grain is still not part of your meal, do not wait. Give this incredible grain a chance. In general, whole grains provide many health benefits, and whole oat grain is the star of all whole grains. Oatmeal is high in fiber, improves diet quality, reduces cholesterol,(7)is a natural immunity booster, and is rich in several vitamins B1, B3, B5, and Folate and minerals like iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Eating oats ensures healthy gut bacteria, controls blood glucose,(6) maintains a healthy weight, and protects against colon cancer. (3)Thanks to beta-glucan fiber that makes this grain so unique (4) (5). You can find three types of oats in stores. Steel-cut oat, Rolled oats, and instant oat. Among all these, steel-cut oats have the best taste and texture. Rolled oats are steamed and flattened oats and can be used if you want breakfast in a few minutes. Besides, rolled oat is suitable for overnight oatmeal preparation. I grind rolled oats in a blender if I need oat flour for a quick recipe. I avoid using instant oats because they lack both taste and texture.






It's no secret, oats are a great way to start a day, so food manufacturers came up with a chemical-laden sweet and savory variety of instant oats. Always check the ingredient list before buying oats. Make sure you purchase non-GMO, Whole grain oats without added preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors. Mostly all boxes and bags of oats come with cooking instructions on them. You can always follow the instructions and cook accordingly and add your favorite toppings of colorful fruits, nuts, and seeds to suit your palate. I love to cook my oats in water. You can use any plant-based milk of your choice. I usually omit adding sweeteners as fruits like bananas and berries naturally sweeten it up. This lovely breakfast is endlessly customizable. Go ahead, explore and enjoy.






Preparation time - 5mins

Cook time – 10 mins

Total time – 15 mins

Serves- 2


Ingredients:

Rolled/ steel cut oats - ½ cup

Water/ plant-based milk – For Rolled oats - 1 cup

For steel-cut oats- 2 cups

Cinnamon – ¼ tsp (powdered)

For toppings:

Banana – 1 (sliced)

Apple- 2 ( chopped)

Walnuts- 7-8 ( chopped)

Chia seeds – 1 tbsp.

Flaxseed – 1 tbsp. (powdered)

Sweetener

(Maple syrup/ jaggery/ coconut palm sugar / honey ) – 1 tsp (optional)


Directions:

1. Boil water or milk.

2. Stir oats in it.

3. Add cinnamon powder.

4. cook rolled oats for 5 mins or steel-cut oats for 15 mins.

4. Serve in a bowl with your favorite toppings.



 

2. Whole yellow pea breakfast salad:


As a kid, I used to confuse whole yellow peas with Garbanzo beans. They are similar in appearance and nutrition content, but you can easily distinguish both in taste. Both peas are a nutritional powerhouse, a good source of plant-based protein, contain polyunsaturated fats, and are high in B vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and a trace amount of other vital minerals as well. (8) The whole yellow pea is creamier and more earthy in taste. I like it so much; I prefer its use in many soups, salads, curries, and stews. To make this morning's salad, you have to soak whole yellow pea for min 4-5 hrs. I usually soak it overnight. For cooking whole yellow peas, you can use a pressure cooker or any heavy base pot. I prefer a pressure cooker, as it takes significantly less time to cook. I add all my flavorful, colorful veggies to make them beautiful and palatable. You can add any of your favorite vegetables to be eaten raw to ensure more nourishment. I use red onions, cucumber, tomatoes ( cherry/Roma/grape), and chilies for the basic recipe. Sometimes, I add bell peppers, celery, radishes, broccoli, depending on availability. There is no definite measure of added vegetables; add as much as you feel. I add roasted sesame seed. In India, Whole yellow pea salad is used as a snack. I love to have it in the morning, and why not? With all the goodness it possesses, it is a perfect candidate to fuel my mornings.







Preparation- 20 mins

Cook time- 20 mins

Total time 40 mins

Serves- 2


Ingredients:

Whole yellow pea – 1 cup ( raw)

Onions- 1 small

Cucumber- ½ cup ( chopped)

Cherry tomatoes- 4-5 ( halved)

Ginger- ¼ inch (grated)

Green chilies- 1 grated ( optional)

Bell peppers - chopped ( 1/4 cup)

black salt- ¼tsp

Turmeric powder- ½ tsp

Pink Himalayan salt- ½ tsp

Black pepper- 2 ( crushed)

Roasted cumin seeds - 1 tsp. (crushed)

Lemon juice- 1 tbsp.

Cilantro- 1-2 tbsp. ( chopped)

Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp. (roasted)


Directions:

1. Boil soaked Whole yellow pea with turmeric powder and salt in a pressure cooker for one whistle. If you cook peas in a pot, cook it for about 15- 20 mins until it is cooked well. We are looking for well-cooked peas but not mushy.

2. Sieve the residual water. Take out boiled peas in a big bowl.

3. Add all the vegetables, spices, and lemon juice. Mix it nicely.

4. sprinkle sesame seeds.


 

3. Breakfast smoothie:


Drinking fruits and veggies is a fun way to boost fruits and vegetables in your diet. Nothing can be easier to kickstart your morning than a glass of breakfast smoothie. It is easy, refreshing, and packed with nutrients. Choosing tons of options from veggies and fruits makes it easy. Just grab any fruit and vegetables of your choice and blend them to perfection. It would be best if you had it to assemble ingredients before time, and you'll get your healthy, nutritious breakfast instantly. It is like having a rainbow in a glass.


You can drink it straight or be more creative by adding nutrient-dense seeds, chia, sesame, flax, and hemp. You can add Nuts like walnuts, soaked almonds, cashew, Or nut butter. Adding health-boosting powder like moringa, amla(Indian gooseberry), cocoa, turmeric, and matcha will enrich it with more nourishment. You can always experiment with it. In my smoothie, I love to add little oatmeal to provide its body. It gives my breakfast some complex carbs and makes it more satiating. You can soak the oat overnight instead of cooking it to reduce time. Adding sprouts and microgreens will give it an added nutritional punch.


One should always refrain from adding sugar to it. Add Banana or date instead if you are craving the sweet-tasting smoothie. Your smoothie is supposed to provide you with healthy carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and added sugars reduce its nutrient density of it. Besides, consuming it daily will increase chronic diseases like diabetes, kidney, and coronary heart disorder. Homemade smoothie is always a better choice over store-bought as it gives you more control of elements; if not, be cautious about its ingredient before making a choice.


Green smoothie




Spinach in the smoothie is a straightforward way to have this nutrient-packed vegetable. Spinach is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins folate, zinc, copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and many more. As spinach is rich in flavonoids, it protects our body from free radicals. There are many vegetables and greens you can consume raw. Spinach is not one of them. In raw spinach, the oxalate level is pretty high. Oxalic acid or oxalate is an antinutrient that interferes with the absorption of nutrients by binding with minerals and preventing the absorption of nutrients, especially calcium. It is always a good idea to consume spinach in the cooked form to absorb calcium. If you want to enjoy this power-packed green in a smoothie, it is advisable to add spinach, either steamed or boiled. In this smoothie, I am using steamed spinach and kale. I love to add oat (overnight soaked/ cooked). It gives the smoothie body and keeps me full till lunch.



Preparation time – 15 mins

Cook time- 10 mins

Total time- 25 mins

(Serves – 1)


Ingredients:

Spinach/Kale – 2 cups (steamed)

Banana- 1

Oats- 2 tbsp. (cooked)

Date- 2

Orange -1(deseeded)

Water – if required

For toppings:

Walnut- 3-4

Dried cranberry- 6-7

Chia seeds- 1 tsp


Directions:

1. Blend all the ingredients and serve with your favorite toppings.



Tropical sunbeam smoothie





There are endless reasons to add tropical fruits to your diet. Tropical fruits like pineapple, papayas, and pomegranate are reservoirs of bioactive compounds and have immense health-promoting properties(14). There are several diseases whose progression is linked with inflammation. Tropical fruits like pineapple and papayas (15) are inked with anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Both these fruits are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Pineapple has a unique flavor and sweetness, the digestive enzyme bromelain, whereas Papaya has papain enzyme. Also, add naval orange and ginger to the smoothie. Ginger has potential therapeutic effects on our bodies. Among many properties ginger poses, to name a few, it is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous and works as an antioxidant(16).


Preparation time – 15 mins

Cook time- 5 mins

Total time- 20 mins

(Serves – 1)

Ingredients:

Pineapple- 1 cup (chopped)

Papaya – 1 cup (chopped)

Ginger- ½ inch

Orange – 2 (deseeded)

Toppings:

Hemp seeds – 1 tbsp.

Directions:

1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and serve with hemp seeds.



 

4. Savory Waffle with greens


I tried experimenting with a nutritious Indian flavorful breakfast in a western way. Savory Waffle is one lazy weekend yet nutritious breakfast without refined flour or butter. But it has a healthy twist of healthy vegetables and spices. I do believe tasty does not mean compromising on the nutrition part. This Waffle has pretty simple ingredients, chickpea flour for the base, lots of green, and a little spice. I have used little oil to grease the waffle pan. Aren't we presume to oil a tastemaker? The star of the recipe is greens and spices. This recipe is customizable. You can always add vegetables like zucchini, grated carrots, cabbage, grated cauliflower, etc.





Prep time- 10 mins

Cook time- 15 mins

Total time - 25 mins

Serves (2-3)


Ingredients:

chickpea flour- 1 cup

spinach kale mix- 2 cups (chopped)

cumin seeds- 1 tsp

asafetida- ¼ tsp

turmeric powder – ½ tsp

salt- as per taste

green chili- 1 finely chopped (optional)

Water – ½- 1 cup (to make the batter)


Directions:


1. Take one large bowl. Mix all the ingredients except water.

2. Add little water at a time and whisk it properly to have a smooth batter.

3. Preheat the waffle plate according to the instruction manual. Pour batter and let it cook for 5 mins.

4. Cook for a few more mins if you want a crispier Waffle.

5. Serve it with salsa.


 

5. Finger millet pancake




Times and again, millets are considered one of the most nutrient-dense grains, (11) (12)but unfortunately, they come under the most underutilized grain list. Millets have the highest calcium and potassium content among all the grains. Finger millets have the highest calcium content ranging from 162.0-358.0 mg/100 g among all. Besides calcium and phosphates, Finger millets are rich sources of many essential minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. It is a gluten-free grain and has a low glycemic index. That means it can be consumed by people having celiac disease and diabetes as well. Consumption of Finger millets is associated with blood glucose regulation, reduced cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and other chronic diseases. Several polyphenols like flavonoids are also present in Finger millet that are linked with immunity-boosting properties. Due to the slow release of glucose into the bloodstream after ingestion of finger millet. It is quite satiating and keeps you full for a longer time. With so much goodness, Finger millet deserves to be on your breakfast menu.


Pancakes are everyone's favorite. The healthful nutrients present in the recipe give one extra reason to love it furthermore. I have added ground flax seeds for an extra punch of nutrients. If you are using a non-stick pan, you need not add any oil. In the case of the heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan, you have to grease it once, and you'll make an entire batch of pancakes without using extra oil. Serve these pancakes with pure maple syrup and fresh fruit toppings.


Preparation time- 10 mins

Cook time- 20 mins

Total time - 30 mins

Serves (2-3)


Ingredients :

Oat flour – ½ cup

Finger millet flour/ Ragi – ½ cup

Coconut milk- ¾ cup

Banana – 1 (mashed)

Vanilla essence - ½ tsp ( optional)

Flax seeds powder – 1 tbsp

Baking soda- ½ tsp

Salt – 1 pinch


Directions:

1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and make a smooth batter. Your pancake batter is ready.