Winter months can make it a little harder to keep healthy habits on track and fight off the temptation to hibernate.
So, we’ve asked 10 leading dietitians and nutritionists from Australia and New Zealand to share their favourite healthy breakfast to help us all start the day right. From gluten free, to immunity supporting, to high protein, these tasty plant-based brekkie options are worth getting out of bed for, even on the coldest winter mornings.
Why you’ll love it: perfect for meal prep
Health benefits: high in protein and iron
This delicious shakshuka is high in protein and iron and a quick one pan breakfast that is loaded with flavour and nutrients.
“This hearty twist on the Middle Eastern classic is my favourite breakfast for mornings when you have a bit more wiggle room to play in the kitchen,” said Danijela Armitage, New Zealand Registered Nutritionist.
“I bulk up the traditional spicy tomato sauce with chickpeas, a cheap and super nutritious way to boost the protein and fibre content of the dish.”
Danijela considers this recipe the champion of vegetarian breakfasts with its balance of quality carbohydrates (chickpeas and wholegrain bread), protein (eggs and chickpeas), vegetables (spinach, capsicum, onions and tomato) and healthy fats (olive oil).
TIPS: To know when the eggs are done, check for egg whites that are largely opaque and that have a slight jiggle when you move the pan.
Breakfast for one, no worries. You can create this dish for a single serve and freeze the remaining sauce ready for another morning.
Why you’ll love it: chocolate, do we need to say more
Health benefits: gluten free and gut loving
Dietitian Marika Day loves making food that’s simple, less stressful and fun. That’s the basis for her gluten free choc cluster granola.
“This is my go-to batch recipe for a delicious crunchy granola that provides good fats and dietary fibre,” said Marika Day APD.
“The buckwheat groats and puffed quinoa provide a tasty gluten free base, which I need as a coeliac, and then I just build it up with whatever nuts I have handy.
“I love that I can use it to top off a smoothie bowl with some yoghurt or even sprinkled on porridge. It’s so flexible, you can just mix it up depending on how you're feeling.
“My favourite way to eat this is with yoghurt and fruit. I eat Greek-style yoghurt every day, not only because I love it but because it is so good for you.
“Natural, probiotic-rich yoghurt is a good source of protein and provides live cultures that help nurture a healthy and happy gut.”
TIP: Store in an airtight container and it will last for 1-2 weeks.
Why you’ll love it: tastier than a protein shake
Health benefits: 15 g of protein a serve, high in fibre and a good source of calcium too
Most Aussies get enough protein in their diet, but many of us could benefit from boosting our protein at breakfast.
“When it comes to protein, evidence shows that we get the biggest benefits when we spread out our protein intake evenly, across the whole day. This helps deliver the protein we need for optimal muscle repair and growth, and helps to keep hunger pangs at bay,” said Charlotte Moor, New Zealand Registered Dietitian.
“I’m not suggesting protein powders or eggs on toast every day. Boosting your protein at brekkie can be as simple as adding a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds to your favourite wholegrain cereal.
“This delicious porridge is also a great option for winter as it delivers 15g of protein a serve and is high in fibre too.
“What I love about this breakfast is that it combines a range of nutritious protein rich plant foods, like soy milk, nuts and wholegrains. Evidence consistently shows that getting more of your protein from plant sources is associated with better health.”
Some people argue that animal proteins are ‘better’ because they are ‘complete proteins’, which means they contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids that we need to get from our diet. But there are plant foods that are also ‘complete proteins’ including soy milk and quinoa.
“You don’t need to get too hung up on choosing foods based on their amino acid profile. By eating a variety of plant proteins across the course of the day, you will get all the amino acids your body needs,” said Charlotte.
TIP: You can swap the berries for any fruit that’s in season or budget-friendly frozen berries.
Why you’ll love it: a serve of veggies to start the day
Health benefits: uses up leftover veggies
Delicious on their own, or stacked with avo on toast, these veggie hash browns are a scrummy way to use up left over veggies.
Nutrition Australia dietitian Karen Stafford uses this recipe to get her kids cooking and enjoying a serve of veggies to start the day.
“I’ll often make up the batter base and divide that between my kids so they can each add in their own veggies. It gives fussy eaters ownership and the chance to choose for themselves. You can even encourage them just to add a little bit of a new veggie to try,” said Karen.
Subscribe to Wholicious Living to stay up-to-date with the latest health and nutrition advice.
“My favourite combination is capsicum, corn, carrot, spinach and zucchini – lots of colour and that means lots of different nutrients. I serve them with avo on wholegrain toast for a well-balanced breakfast that provides protein, good quality carbs, healthy fats and a serve of veg to start the day.”
TIP: The hash browns can be prepared in advance and quickly heated up for a time-saving brekkie on chaotic mornings or a great after school snack.
Why you’ll love it: the kids will clean their plates
Health benefits: supports immunity
This super quick and easy pikelet recipe is a great way to support your kid’s immunity and keep the sniffles at bay through the colder months, and that’s good for the whole family.
“It takes more than getting enough vitamin C to support a stronger immune system. Building our body’s natural defences also requires folate, zinc, iron, prebiotics and probiotics,” said Tayla Daniel APD.
“These pikelets are a fun brekkie for kids and they’re bursting with goodness to help support better immunity. Using a banana and Weet-Bix Little Kids Essentials as a base for this recipe delivers those immune boosting vitamins and minerals*, while topping the pikelets with natural yoghurt provides the probiotics too.
“These are also a great breakfast solution if you have a slow morning eater, as they can keep nibbling in the car.”
TIP: They make a great lunchbox addition too.
When it comes to brekkie the golden rule is simply don’t skip it. There are so many nutritious and tasty combinations it’s just a matter of choosing your favourites and options that fit in with your morning schedule.
*As part of a healthy diet.
Why you’ll love it: tasty winter warmer
Health benefits: good for the gut
Joanna Baker APD makes sure she starts her days with a high fibre breakfast, such as her favourite baked berry oatmeal.
Joanna has suffered with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and food intolerance her entire life and knows what it’s like to live with an unpredictable gut.
“As someone on a low FODMAP diet, getting enough fibre can be tricky so I’m always looking at ways to bump up the fibre,” said Joanna Baker.
“This recipe is a firm favourite and a deliciously healthy and warm start to the day – perfect for the colder weather.
“Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre with a long list of health benefits. As well as being good for digestive function and gut health, there’s a lot of evidence to show beta glucan can assist with lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and improving blood glucose levels.”
TIP: If you are following a low FODMAP diet you can adapt this recipe to meet your needs by adjusting the serves from 4 to 6. Reducing the amount of baked oats dished up and topping the oats with lactose-free yoghurt will meet low FODMAP criteria.
Why you’ll love it: delicious in a bowl or on-the-go
Health benefits: a good source of calcium and iron
This is a high fibre breakfast smoothie that’s a good source of iron and calcium too. It can be served up as a gorgeous smoothie bowl decorated with tasty toppings or in a drink bottle to sip from for breakfast on-the-go.
“Adding wholegrain cereal, such as Weet-Bix or oats, is my favourite trick to dial up the nutrients in the smoothie and keep you full for longer,” said Eliza Baird APD.
“There’s a lot to love about the humble wholegrain. As well as fibre, wholegrains provide B vitamins, zinc and iron and have been linked with a lower BMI and a reduced risk of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
“Use your favourite plant milk and always look for one that’s fortified with calcium.”
TIP: Add extra milk for a thinner consistency smoothie if you want to sip it from a drink bottle.
Why you’ll love it: a delicious healthy spin on jam
Health benefits: low GI and will keep you full until lunchtime
While Dr Sue Radd has many breakfast favourites, her current craving is chia jam on toast. Her recipe for chia jam has a thick, luscious texture and is low in added sugar compared to regular jams. It’s also big on health benefits.
“Berries are low GI and protect your cholesterol from being oxidised so it is less likely to stick to blood vessel walls. I believe they should be a daily addition for any cholesterol lowering diet,” said Dr Sue Radd Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and author of Food as Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health.
“This jam is also good for people managing their blood sugar levels. Not only is it lower in added sugar but the flavonoids in berries – natural plant compounds that given berries their intense colour – slow carb digestion and may help with insulin resistance and management of diabetes”.
“For breakfast I top grainy sourdough with cashew nut butter, or natural peanut butter, and a generous dollop of my chia jam. Yum!”
TIP: This is an ideal batch-friendly recipe to make when berries are in season and cheap. Store jam jars in your freezer until required.
Why you’ll love it: super quick and easy
Health benefits: high fibre and lots of vitamins and minerals
Trish Guy APD is a fan of cereal and is always looking for tasty ways to add extra goodness to her brekkie bowl.
“Ready to eat cereals are really nutritious, tasty and an easy breakfast for busy days. I always choose a cereal that’s low in sugar, high in fibre – 4g per serve or more – and has wholegrains as the main ingredient,” said Trish Guy.
“I also look for a cereal that’s fortified with iron to help me meet my iron needs on a vegetarian diet.
“I like topping my cereal with chia seeds for extra omega 3 and any fruit that’s in season. The fruit adds vitamin C and helps your body to absorb the iron from the cereal.”
TIP: Topping your cereal with nuts will slow digestion of the meal and lower the GI. A low GI breakfast helps to stop spikes in your blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full for longer.
Why you’ll love it: speedy breakfast
Health benefits: ticks the box on protein, quality carbs and good fats
If you’re a fan of snacking on peanut butter and apple slices, this twist on a toastie is a winner. Paediatric Dietitian Annabelle Carleton-Brown says it’s a must-try for the kids.
This simple and tasty recipe makes it easy to enjoy a nutritious brekkie even on those busy mornings," said Annabelle.
"Using just a few kitchen staples, you get a tasty toastie that is high in fibre, has up to 14g of protein, and provides quality carbs and good fats, too.
The combination of fibre, protein and good fats will help keep the kids fuller for longer and is a great way to help fuel little bodies to take on the morning." Serving familiar ingredients in different ways or shapes also prevents boredom and encourages food exploration.
TIP: Peanut butter goes well with so many flavours! Try it with banana or with avocado or tomato for savoury twist.