Healthy breakfasts (for people who hate breakfast)

Get into the habit of eating breakfast with these simple breakfasts designed to whet the appetite of even the most habitual breakfast skipper.

Not hungry first thing in the morning? Pushed for time? Trying to lose weight? These calorie-counted treats will tempt you to rediscover the pleasure of breakfast.

From an energy-boosting "apple pie" porridge and protein-packed scrambled eggs, to a nutrient-rich green smoothie and sugar-free granola bars, there's something for everyone.

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"Creating the habit of eating in the morning is something you can build towards," says dietitian Alison Hornby. "Start off with a light bite such as a piece of fruit or a low-fat yoghurt.

"After a while, your morning appetite will naturally increase and you'll probably find you eat less throughout the day, including snacks."

Research suggests that people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less during the day, especially high-calorie snacks.

If you're short on time in the morning, think about ways of gaining time by keeping breakfast simple, either by waking up 10 minutes earlier or getting other chores out of the way ahead of time.

 

Energy-boosting breakfasts

'Apple pie' porridge

 

Serves: one adult
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories per portion: 345kcal (1,443kJ)

Ingredients:
50g porridge oats
200ml apple juice (with no added sugar)
100ml semi-skimmed milk
1 medium dessert apple, diced
1 pinch of cinnamon

A warm and comforting porridge spiced up with the classic flavours of a homemade apple pie.

Throw all the ingredients into a saucepan. Heat and stir until boiling, then lower the heat and simmer gently for five minutes, stirring often. Spoon the porridge into a serving bowl and add a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Or you could try:

  • muesli, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt – fruit added to your muesli counts towards your 5 A Day. Low-fat yoghurt provides calcium and protein and is low in fat. Watch out for the sugar content in low-fat yoghurt. Go for muesli with no added sugar.
  • porridge with mashed banana and dried blueberries – put oats and a handful of dried blueberries in a bowl and add semi-skimmed milk. Heat in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often. When cooked, stir in the mashed banana. The mashed banana is a healthier substitute for sugar or honey. For best results, use a very ripe banana.
  • baked beans on wholemeal toast – not only are they naturally low in fat, baked beans are also packed with fibre and protein, making them a vegetarian source of protein. Look out for reduced salt and sugar ranges.
  • breakfast cereals can be high in sugar, with some containing up to 37% of the white stuff. Try switching to lower sugar cereals or those with no added sugar, such as plain whole wheat cereal biscuits, plain shredded whole grain pillows and plain porridge. Find out more about reducing your breakfast sugar intake.

 

Protein-packed breakfasts

Scrambled eggs (with optional wholemeal toast)

 

Serves: one adult
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories per portion:
scrambled eggs: 247kcal (1,033kJ)
2 slices of wholemeal toast: 190kcal (795kJ)

Ingredients:
2 eggs
4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
2 slices wholemeal toast 
2 tsp low-fat spread
1 pinch of black pepper
Optional sprinkling of chopped chives (calories nominal)

The secret to perfect scrambled eggs is to fold them gently in the pan to get curds, rather than a dried, quivering mess.

Lightly mix the eggs and milk in a bowl. Melt the low-fat spread in a pan and add the egg mixture. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring slowly and gently until they're just set with big soft curds. Serve the eggs on the slices of toast, sprinkle over the chives and season with some pepper.

Tips:

  • To make green eggs, scramble your eggs with a handful (40g) of spinach (30kcal/125kJ).

Or you could try:

  • cold meat and cheese platter – for a lower calorie option, go for lean meats such as roast ham or turkey, light cheeses such as 30% less fat mature cheese or "light" medium-hard cheese. Accompany with fresh grapes and crackers.
  • low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with fresh fruit, such as strawberries and mixed nuts – packed with about 10g of protein per 100g, Greek yoghurt boasts almost twice the protein of regular yoghurt.
  • smoked salmon and low-fat cream cheese bagel – halve the bagel and toast it. Spread low-fat cream cheese on one side of the bagel and top it with salmon. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of black pepper.

 

Lighter bites

Green smoothie

 

Serves: one adult 
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: none
Calories per portion: 140kcal (586kJ)

Ingredients:
40g tinned mango slices (discard liquid)
40g tinned peach slices (discard liquid)
40g frozen spinach
1 medium banana
200ml water (or as required)

Smoothies are a great introduction to breakfast if you don't normally have much of an appetite at the "crack of yawn". They're also a good portable option for your morning commute.

Compared with some hardcore green smoothie recipes, our green smoothie is a softer version that is quite sweet and fruity, while still giving you a healthy serving of greens. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Add more water to achieve the desired consistency.

Tips:

  • Instead of tinned fruit, you can also use frozen or fresh fruit.
  • 150ml of this smoothie provides two of your 5 A Day. No matter how much you drink, smoothies can only make up two portions of your 5 A Day.

Or you could try:

  • banana and oats smoothie – transform your speckled bananas into an energy-boosting liquid breakfast. Blend one banana with 2 tablespoons of oats and 100ml of semi-skimmed milk until smooth. Can also be made using a soya drink.
  • 'very berry' smoothie – take one banana, 140g of frozen summer berries or forest fruits, 40g of low-fat natural yoghurt and about 100ml of apple juice. Blend the banana and berries until smooth. With the blades whirring, pour in apple juice to achieve the consistency you like.
  • pimp your toast – tired of your usual toppings? Toast doesn't have to be boring. Brighten up your bread spread with these healthier combos: mashed avocado and hard boiled egg, marmite and grilled 30% less fat mature cheese, or banana slices and peanut butter.

 

Five-minute breakfasts

 

'Grab and go' breakfast bar

 

Makes: 6 bars
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Calories per portion (one bar): 300kcal (1,255kJ)

Ingredients:
150g jumbo oats
2 medium very ripe bananas 
60g melted butter
60g cherries
60g cranberries
40g sunflower seeds 
40g pumpkin seeds

Sometimes mornings can be a bit of a rush. Make a batch of these granola bars, made with no added sugar, in advance for a healthy breakfast on the go.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C, gas mark 6). In a bowl, mix together the oats, cherries, cranberries and seeds. Pour in the melted butter and mix in thoroughly to make sure the oats are well coated. On a separate plate, mash the bananas into a pulp with a fork, add to the oat mixture and mix well. Spread the mixture into a 30cm x 20cm tin. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, transfer to a wire rack to cool, then cut into six bars.

Tips:

  • Press the mixture into the baking tin well to help the binding process, but not too hard or it may affect the flavour.
  • If your first batch is more crumbly than you'd like, try increasing the amount of mashed banana to moisten the mixture before baking.

Or you could try:

  • banana bagel sandwich – mash a ripe banana and serve it between two halves of a toasted (preferably wholemeal) bagel. Mashing instead of slicing the banana gives the filling a creamier texture, meaning you won't need low-fat spread.
  • quick porridge – making porridge is easier than you think. Combine 50g of rolled or instant oats with 200ml (or more for runny porridge) of semi-skimmed milk in a bowl and microwave on full power for two minutes. Top with dried fruit or nuts.
  • one-minute omelette – combine one beaten egg, a few spinach leaves and a some chopped lean roast ham in a bowl. Microwave on full power for a minute or until the egg is set.

 

Weekend treats

English breakfast muffin

 

Serves: one adult
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories per portion: 309kcal (1,293kJ)

Ingredients:
1 wholemeal English muffin, sliced in half
1 poached egg 
1 slice lean roast ham
20g reduced-fat or "light" medium-hard cheese
2 tsp low-fat spread
20g fresh spinach leaves
1 pinch of ground black pepper

Oozing poached egg on a layer of cheese and roast ham – what's not to love about this lower calorie version of the classic English breakfast muffin?

Preheat the grill. Toast the muffins on the cut sides only. Poach the egg in gently simmering water for 3-4 minutes until the yoke is set but still runny in the middle. Spread the toasted sides with the low-fat spread and lay on the spinach leaves, ham and cheese. Place the poached egg on one muffin half, season with black pepper and top with the other muffin half.

Tips:

  • If you prefer, you can scramble the egg with 4 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk. Pour the mixture into a heated pan. Cook and stir until the eggs are just set.

Or you could try:

  • overnight oats – combine oats and apple juice and let it sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning, add low-fat yoghurt, honey to taste and fresh fruit such as berries.
  • baked eggs – put an egg (with yolk unbroken) and some crème fraîche in a ramekin. Put the ramekin in a baking dish and fill with hot tap water so it comes 3/4 of the way to the top of the ramekin. Bake for 15 minutes or until the egg yolk is set to your liking.
  • healthy full English breakfast – for a healthy version of the king of the morning meal, combining eggs, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and baked beans, go to our Meal Mixer.

Page last reviewed: 10/12/2013

Next review due: 10/12/2015

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Comments

The 13 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

User363614 said on 26 January 2014

As Einstein might have said, it's all relative isn't it?
This information focusses on lowering fat, whilst ignoring the fact that fructose glycosylates haemoglobin seven times more than glucose for example (i.e. making blood sticky, contributing to blood vessel damage that causes heart disease).
Then there's the promotion of the use of high-glycaemic foods such as wholemeal bread, which is absorbed into the bloodstream as glucose faster than table sugar, contributing to hyperinsulinaemia and associated chronic health conditions.

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Shukor said on 13 December 2013

Hi,

The content in the above article was revised in December 2013 therefore many of the comments left below will not seem relevant.

Steven, Live Well editor

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Lyndaloom said on 21 September 2013

Delicious ideas but I agree with an earlier comment, portion sizes would be useful. I have type 2 diabetes and feel that eating regularly is helpful to keep it under control, so breakfast is a must for me and portion sizes important.

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Big Nathe said on 17 May 2013

The information in this article is misleading and not backed up by scientific research. It could be argued that skipping breakfast is beneficial: http://athlete.io/5084/why-breakfast-is-nothing-but-a-scam/

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ekk100 said on 04 April 2013

Whilst I think these are good suggestions I feel more information needs to be given about portion sizes. I think many people eat healthy enough food, just too much of it (myself included). A portion of cereal is about 40g, which is actually quite a small amount. If you are not careful it is easy to end up eating half your daily calorie allowance in one bowl full.

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SerendipityChild1983 said on 24 February 2013

I always used to skip breakfast but really going to try and use some or all of these suggestions. I think they all sound yummy and tbh 100% better than boring old cereal or toast by itself :)

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Bootz said on 26 January 2013

Thanks for these great Breakfast ideas they sound yummy! :)

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blobfish called jevery said on 17 January 2013

these are really useful but are there any ideas for packed lunches?

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Anonymous said on 14 August 2008

hi want to lose more than 10kg how would i start.


thanks

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V.Surat said on 10 July 2008

Very informative about breakfast.Many of us think that skiping breakfast is good way to loose weight.But i came to know that its not true.Thanks for the article

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Anonymous said on 07 June 2008

Hi
Thanks for these suggested breakfasts i sometimes dont have breakfast and if i do i only have 30g of cereal is this enough to get body working

Thanks

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grandma said on 15 April 2008

desperately want to lose two stone,not motivated,fall by the wayside after a few days,need something to strengthen my willpower.

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maryan08 said on 28 March 2008

thanks for these tips. i am a regular breakfast eater. these combinations have helped me a lot

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