Skipping a healthy breakfast can lead to all sorts of health problems. During the colder months when our body needs to work extra hard to keep us healthy, a nutritious breakfast is particularly important. Here are our tips for a healthy breakfast in winter, as well as 4 delicious and nutritious recipes!
You may have heard it already: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is true all year round, but even more so in the wintertime. After all, this is the time of year when our body needs to fend off illness so that we can stay fit and healthy.
Nutrition experts have said for the longest time that skipping breakfast can lead to all sorts of health problems. Not eating a healthy breakfast has been linked to low energy levels, and it can increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. With breakfast so important for good health, let us take a look at how you can have a healthy start to your day in the wintertime. Here are some tips for a healthy and nutritious winter breakfast!
Stock up on fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an important role in a healthy immune system. In winter, our immune system is often weakened, as it needs to ward off the flu and other illnesses. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and helps minimise the risk of getting sick. A strong immune system that needs to work less to keep you healthy will also increase your energy levels during the colder months of the year.
Which foods are rich in vitamin C? Look to broccoli, tomatoes, winter squash, spinach, red peppers, and citrus fruits such as grapefruit, kiwi, orange, and lemon. Strawberries are also a good source of vitamin C.
A healthy, slow-release breakfast such as a bowl of corn flakes or oats at the start of your day provides you with energy and nutrients until lunch. But don’t just settle for a bowl of corn flakes and milk. Boost your breakfast cereal with apples, strawberries, pears, and cranberries to give it not just a great fruity taste, but a whole lot of added nutrients. For healthy proteins and minerals, you can also add nuts and seeds to your breakfast bowl!
Zinc is another mineral that’s important for a healthy immune system. Together with vitamin C, zinc can help you get through the colder months of the year with a lower risk of catching the flu. Seeds and nuts, such as cashews and peanuts, are particularly rich in zinc, and so are green leafy vegetables like spinach, as well as whole grains. So eat plenty in winter and you can boost your immune defences!
Iron is yet another essential mineral that our immune system requires so it can function. In the winter months, it can make sense to take an iron supplement, but of course you can also get your iron from food! Which foods are rich in iron? Topinambour, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables, but also tofu, beans and lentils, as well as potatoes and cashews. Likewise, there’s a good chance that your favourite breakfast cereal is fortified with iron. This way, you can get the required dose of iron for a healthy start in the morning.
Certain fish, such as salmon and cod, but also eggs and cheese are good sources of vitamin B12. This is another essential vitamin that supports our immune system in the winter. Vitamin B12 also helps increase energy levels—great if you feel tired during the coldest months of the year!
Wintertime is when we crave foods that are rich in carbs and sugars. Even worse, these “comfort foods” are often lacking other important nutrients. So try to cut down on your carb intake and substitute wintery comfort foods like noodles and breads with something a bit healthier. If you want to warm up in winter the healthy way, a hearty vegetable soup can be the ideal meal!
If you want some ideas for healthy and nutritious breakfasts, here are 4 amazing and simple recipes that you can try out this winter!
Just combine your favourite pancake mix with the wholesomeness of spinach to make these awesome breakfast pancakes. If you or your children don’t like the taste of spinach too much, no worries: you won’t really taste it in these deliciously sweet and green pancakes!
2 cups fresh spinach
¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp. peanut butter or almond butter
1 small ripe banana
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of your favourite pancake mix
Non-stick cooking spray
1. Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and put over medium heat.
2. Using a blender, combine all the ingredients except the pancake mix. Put the blender on high and blend until the mix is smooth.
3. Put the blender on low speed and add the pancake mix until just combined.
4. Pour the pancake batter into the skillet, making a couple medium-sized, round cakes at a time. Cook the pancakes for about 5 minutes until they start to bubble and the bottom is lightly browned. Flip the pancakes and continue cooking for another minute on the other side.
5. Serve with syrup and fresh fruit.
This delicious oatmeal with baked apples makes a wonderful breakfast, but it’s also great as a dessert or as a healthy snack between meals. The spices and the baked apples give this oatmeal a wonderful holiday flavour. Very yummy, and you can enjoy this one hot or cold!
2 large baking apples, cored
1 cup rolled oats
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1½ cups almond milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 dates, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp. chia seeds
¼ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ tbsp. maple syrup, and some for garnish
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
2. Wash and core the apples. Make sure that the holes are about 3cm in diameter so there is enough room for the filling. Put the cored apples in a lightly oiled baking dish that has a rim.
3. Take a mixing bowl and, using a whisk, mix together the rest of the ingredients.
4. Fill the apples with the oatmeal mixture. Pour the leftover oatmeal mix onto the dish, surrounding the apples.
5. Bake uncovered for about 35–50 minutes, depending on the size of the apples. Make sure to check on the apples several times. If you pierce them with a knife and the knife goes through easily, your baked apples will be done. When done, the oatmeal should be somewhat firm and the almond milk should be absorbed.
6. To serve, drizzle the oatmeal with maple syrup. Alternatively, you can use non-dairy ice cream, yogurt, apple butter, or pumpkin butter.
Easy and quick to make and super tasty, these ham and spinach quiches are great as a healthy breakfast, but you can eat them any other time of day as well!
2 cups baby spinach
¾ cup ham, diced
12 egg whites
1 tsp. dried basil
⅛ tsp. black pepper
6 tbsp. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
Large muffin cups
Non-stick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray 6 large muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place the spinach in a large pan coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Put the pan on medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the spinach is dark green and wilted. Remove spinach from heat.
3. Take a large bowl, and using a whisk, whisk the egg whites for 1–2 minutes until frothy. Continue whisking and add the basil and pepper, then the spinach, cheese, and ham.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25–30 minutes.
5. Allow the muffin cups to cool for about 10 minutes before you remove the muffins.
Tip: If you have any leftovers, you can store the muffins in your fridge. To serve, simply reheat in the microwave for 10–15 seconds.
Chia seeds are particularly rich in protein, fibres, valuable omega fatty acids, and antioxidants, which makes them a perfect superfood—great to kickstart your day in the winter!
½ cup chia seeds
1½ cups milk
½ tbsp. cacao powder
½ cup almond flakes
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 cup berries, fresh or frozen
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, mix the chia seeds, milk, and cacao powder. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
2. Take another bowl, and mix together the almond flakes and maple syrup. Spread the mix onto a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Bake for about 2 minutes until golden.
3. Remove chia seeds from refrigerator and stir well.
4. Portion chia seeds into serving bowls and top with almonds and berries.
5. Serve and enjoy!
Tips: Prepare the night before for a healthy breakfast in the morning! If you have leftovers, you can put them into airtight containers and store in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.