Start your day the healthy way with our fabulous clean eating breakfast ideas! These recipes are packed to the rafters with healthy vitamins and nutrients to help power your day.April 27, 2022 4:27 pm October 05, 2021 6:13 pm
Breakfasts of yore
When we were kids, breakfast options were a bit more limited than they are today. Usually, it was white toast with butter and jam, or sugary breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk.
We’d head off to school and then wonder why we were getting hunger pangs at 11am!
Sadly, the breakfast options from our childhood weren’t that great from a nutritional perspective. For instance, white bread has developed a profoundly bad reputation. In fact, one doctor and radio host famously claimed: “the whiter your bread, the sooner you’re dead.”(1)
He was probably exaggerating; in fact, a recent groundbreaking study found that the best type of bread to eat (out of white bread of sourdough) might actually depend more on the individual than the grain.(2) However, we could all do well to eat more whole grains, and swapping to brown bread is an easy way to do it.
Jam and processed breakfast cereals also present their own issues, mostly in regards to their sugar content. The British Heart Foundation released a list of breakfast cereals ranked best to worst in terms of health, citing chocolate granola as the least healthy option. A 50g serving came in at an astonishing 24g of sugar – almost a third of your daily recommended maximum in one bowl!(3)
(Side note: if you love your chocolate granola, keep scrolling for an excellent healthy option to make your own!)
Not to mention that the breakfast goodies we used to enjoy only supply us with certain nutrients (predominantly carbs and fibre). We were missing out on an opportunity to include protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals from fruit and veg.
A bowl of goodness
So, it looks like the breakfasts of our childhood are hardly ideal. What should we replace them with if we are to make healthier choices?
There are a few simple rules to follow.
Firstly – can you balance your breakfast? For example, instead of simply eating carbs and sugar (from white bread or breakfast cereal), can you add other healthy food groups? Something as simple as adding fresh fruit to your cereal bowl adds vitamins, minerals and fibre. A scattering of nuts and seeds introduces protein. Suddenly, with minimal effort, your breakfast has become more nutritionally diverse.
Secondly, can you swap refined grains for whole grains? We’re always bemused by the popularity of microwaveable instant porridge, for example. Generally speaking, lots of the healthy fibre has been lost and a lot of unnecessary sugar added. And yet, making your own porridge with whole grain porridge oats is just as quick and easy, and much, much healthier.
Thirdly, how about breaking free from the sugary breakfast items of Western culture? In many parts of the world it’s traditional to eat savoury foods for breakfast. In Latin America, for example, rice and beans, served with plantain or eggs, are popular. Meanwhile in China, you might find steamed buns, dumplings or noodle soups on the breakfast table.(4)
A note on ‘clean eating’
Just before we get into our favourite clean eating breakfast ideas, a note on the term.
If you’re reading this article, you probably have an interest in health and wellness. Perhaps you’re looking for breakfast ideas that offer a healthy alternative to processed breakfast cereals and pastries. Or, maybe you’re looking for ways to pack healthier foods like fruit and whole grains into your diet.
All of this is great stuff. After all, scientists think that in general people from Western countries should aim to eat more whole grains, vegetables and fruit. We tend to eat more processed and junk food than is good for us, and it’s wreaking havoc with our health.(5)
So, if you’re looking for ways to make healthy changes to your diet, you’re in the right place! These breakfast recipes were designed with our good health in mind.
However, ‘clean eating’ is a controversial term. In fact, we’ve written another article on it, and Erbology’s stance on it, over at ‘What is ‘clean eating’?’ It’s a great place to start if you’re coming to clean eating for the first time, and talks about why the term has come in for some criticism in recent years.
In a nutshell, people use the term ‘clean eating’ to mean different things. For some, it’s about making healthier life choices and avoiding overly processed foods. We’re all for that.
But some people interpret it to mean cutting out whole food groups without medical advice, or even moving towards disordered eating in pursuit of unrealistic health and beauty goals.
At Erbology, that’s not what we’re about, and we don’t want to contribute to that culture. The recipes we’re sharing here are designed to be part of a healthy, balanced diet that makes you feel fantastic and cares for your body.
OK, now that’s sorted, let’s get into the breakfast ideas!
Clean eating breakfast ideas
How did the dishes in this article make the cut? Well, they all feature:
- Whole grains in place of refined ones
- No refined sugar
- Plenty of fresh fruit or veg
- Ingredients bursting with vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients
- Healthy fats
- Only natural, whole-food ingredients
And, they’re all vegan-friendly to boot!
1. Yoghurt parfait with poppy seed oil
Our yoghurt parfait can be made with any yoghurt of your choice, but here we’ve chosen coconut. Why? We love the flavour of it alongside the fresh blueberries which sit coddled beneath its silky layers. Make sure you look for a ‘live’ coconut yoghurt as this acts as a probiotic, sending healthy bacteria to join your microbiome.
Most of the sweetness required for this recipe comes from fruit; it includes berries, apple and fig. If you have a particularly sweet tooth, a drizzle of maple syrup offers a lower GI option than sugar. Add a teaspoon of crushed hazelnuts for texture and protein.
Here, we get our healthy fats from our Organic Poppy Seed Oil. You might not have thought to try a drizzle of cold-pressed oil on your breakfast bowl, but it’s a great way to boost your nutrient intake. For example, poppy seed oil is high in vitamin E, which fights free radicals and is great for your skin, hair and nails. It also contains unsaturated fatty acids which support your brain health.
What’s more, a bit of healthy fat may even help you get more out of your fruit and veggies. A 2004 study found that a little bit of fat helps you better absorb healthy nutrients such as carotenoids (antioxidants present in blueberries and other fruits).(6)