Not everyone is a morning person – far from it! Which means that a lot of the time that snooze button might be tempting to hit more than once, leaving us in a rush to get out the door. But breakfast is a meal worth making time for, and gives us an opportunity to stock up on the nutrients and vitamins we need to get our bodies going and our energy levels up for the day ahead.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Look After Your Body
While you are sleeping, your body fasts naturally. Eating a healthy breakfast helps to boost your blood sugar which is important in helping your muscles and brain to function properly.
If you’re in the habit of having a couple of slices of buttered white toast or a sugary cereal in the morning, you’ll probably find that you get hungry again soon after. That’s because you’re not getting much in the way of fibre, protein or vitamins. Choosing a nutrient-rich breakfast gives you the chance to top up your vitamin intake by incorporating some delicious ingredients like eggs, avocado, salmon and spinach into your first meal of the day.
1. The Best Breakfast Foods for Nerve Health
Your nervous system is highly complex and plays a huge role in major bodily functions like breathing, muscle contraction and sensing pain.
Incorporating vitamin B into your diet is a great way to look after your nervous system. The best way to do this is by consuming foods like salmon, milk, eggs and spinach.
Long-term deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to nerve damage and though the primary sources of this vitamin are animal based, vegans can boost their intake by consuming plant-based fortified milk and nutritional yeast. You can also get B vitamins from legumes like black beans, chickpeas, lentils and edamame beans.
Magnesium-rich foods like seeds, avocado and spinach are also a great way to look after your nerve health, boost your energy and reduce inflammation. Oftentimes we don’t get enough magnesium in our diets and this can lead to an increased risk of depression.
Try this healthy breakfast recipe for superfood scrambled eggs which is packed with B vitamins and magnesium.
Prep time: 3 mins; Cook Time: 7 mins; Serves: 2
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 100g spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 150g smoked salmon
- Toast to serve (we recommend whole grain for an extra magnesium boost)
- Toast the pumpkin seeds until they start to pop, then put them aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the spinach, tomato and garlic. Cook until spinach wilts (1-2 mins) then add the remaining ingredients.
- Scramble the eggs over a medium heat – take the pan off the heat before the eggs dry out and serve with the pumpkin seeds and salmon on toast.
2. The Best Breakfast Foods for Bone Health
Our bones do a lot of work to hold us up and protect our internal organs but bone mass declines as we age, especially in post-menopausal women. Getting a good dose of calcium through foods like yoghurt, rhubarb and figs and keeping omega-3 fatty acids topped up by eating fatty fish and seeds is a great way to build strong bones.
This healthy porridge bowl can be adapted to include calcium-rich fruits like apricots and the almond butter, milk and chia seeds included in this recipe are full of calcium. You can even make it ahead of time, overnight oats-style, if you know you’ll be in a rush the next morning.
Prep time: 10 mins; Cook Time: 5 mins; Serves: 2
- 100g frozen raspberries
- 1 orange, ½ sliced and ½ juiced
- 150g porridge oats
- 100ml milk
- ½ banana, sliced
- 2 tbsp smooth almond butter
- 1 tbsp goji berries
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Tip half the raspberries and all of the orange juice in a pan and simmer for 5 mins.
- Meanwhile, stir the oats, milk and 450ml water in a pan over a low heat until creamy. Top with the raspberry compote, remaining raspberries, orange slices, banana, almond butter, goji berries and chia seeds.
3. A Vitamin D-rich Breakfast
The right levels of vitamin D may help to reduce the likelihood of suffering from respiratory infections, cognitive decline and bone diseases like osteoporosis. Our bodies create most of our vitamin D from direct sunlight. You’re basically a houseplant with more complex emotions after all! But when the sun don’t shine, you can top up your levels by eating a vitamin D-rich diet.
Breakfast foods with vitamin D include egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified products like milk, orange juice and cereals.
To give yourself a boost on those grey days, why not try this delicious mushroom hash with poached egg recipe for breakfast? This one takes about half an hour in total to prepare and cook but it’s well worth it for those mood-boosting, disease-fighting D vitamins. Enjoy with a glass of fortified orange juice for an added vitamin boost.
Prep time: 10 mins; Cook Time: 17 mins; Serves: 4
- 1 ½ tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 500g closed cup mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 500g fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 tsp seed mix (sesame, sunflower and pumpkin)
- 4 large eggs
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Fry for a few mins and then cover the pan to let the onions cook in their own steam for a further 5 mins.
- Tip in the mushrooms and thyme and cook until softened, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and paprika, cover the pan and cook for 5 mins until ingredients form a pulp. Stir through seed mix.
- Poach the eggs and serve on top of the hash with a sprinkling of thyme and black pepper.
Enjoy with a glass of fortified orange juice for an added vitamin boost.
4. An Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast with all the Classics
Inflammatory joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are a common cause of chronic pain. Ramping up your intake of foods rich in omega-3-fatty acids, antioxidants and curcumin is a great way to fight inflammation.
Try this burrito breakfast, packed with tasty nutrient rich ingredients like avocado, eggs and kale which have great anti-inflammatory properties. Using whole grain tortilla wraps is a great way to enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of this breakfast as they have a lower glycaemic index. Foods lower down on the glycaemic index are digested more slowly, meaning blood sugar levels won’t rise and fall as dramatically, which can help to reduce inflammation.
For an extra anti-inflammatory effect, add a touch of turmeric and black pepper to your burrito, and that’s a wrap!
Prep time: 5 mins; Cook Time: 10 mins; Serves: 1
- 1 tsp chipotle paste
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp rapeseed oil
- 50g kale
- 7 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ small avocado, sliced
- 1 wholemeal tortilla wrap
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the kale and tomatoes. Cook until the kale is wilted and the tomatoes have softened.
- Whisk the egg and chipotle paste in a jug. Push the kale and tomatoes to one side of and add the egg mix to the other side of the pan and scramble.
- Layer everything into the centre of your wrap, topping with the avocado. And that’s a wrap!
For an extra anti-inflammatory effect, add a touch of turmeric and black pepper to your burrito.
5. An Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast for Anyone with a Sweet Tooth
As noted above, consuming foods packed with nutrients and antioxidants is a fantastic way to fight chronic inflammation naturally. An anti-inflammatory diet should have a balance of protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water – but this doesn’t necessarily mean missing out on sweet treats.
If you prefer a sweet breakfast over a savoury cooked meal, try this irresistible cocoa and cherry oat bake. Dark-coloured berries like the cherries in this recipe and dark chocolate are great at helping to reduce inflammation. You could even add some cinnamon for extra anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s like a healthy pudding for breakfast – the dream!
Prep time: 15 mins; Cook Time: 30 mins; Serves: 6
- 75g dried cherries
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 500ml hazelnut milk
- 200g jumbo porridge oats
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp cocoa nibs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g blanched hazelnuts
- fat free yoghurt and sugar-free cherry compote (optional)
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cover the cherries with boiling water and set aside for 10 mins. Meanwhile, mix the chia seeds with 3 tbsp warm water.
- Drain the cherries and put in a large bowl with the soaked chia and the remaining ingredients, except the hazelnuts. Tip into an ovenproof dish and scatter over the hazelnuts, then bake for 25-30 mins until piping hot in the middle. Serve with yogurt and cherry compote.
Start your day the right way and give yourself a breakfast worth getting out of bed for! At To Better Days, we understand that it can be really challenging to live with chronic pain, and although these breakfast ideas may not solve all your problems, altering your diet to include nutrient-rich ingredients gives your body a fighting chance of feeling strong and healthy.
What’s your favourite nutrient-rich breakfast go-to? If you found this blog helpful, join our community on Facebook and share your own nutritional tips!