From what I’ve experienced, there are two extremes of people when it comes to selecting what will constitute a ‘healthy start to the day’.
Some people choose what they think is ‘ultra-healthy’ and go for green smoothies or paleo and gluten-free options.
Other people continue to eat what was once considered healthy — everyday staples such as gluten-containing toast and processed cereal. There has to be some happy medium between these polar positions.
Why not just eat last night’s leftovers for breakfast two to three times a week? Leftovers are quick, easy, versatile, and they ensure you have a varied and complete breakfast. Leftovers also stop waste and they’re economical.
Join the breakfast club
Many people are confused as to what constitutes a ‘healthy breakfast’. To the ‘health conscious’, traditional options are off limits as they contain gluten (toast, cereals, and porridge).
They are also often processed or contain a lot of sugar. So, instead they cram as many veggies and fruit as possible into a morning smoothie (and then wonder why they have digestive complaints). Other people are happy to chomp away on toast (and Vegemite, honey or jam) or Weet-Bix (and dairy milk) on a daily basis.
They think that these types of foods are perfectly acceptable everyday solutions to break-the-fast and maintain their good health.
Leave it out
When making breakfast decisions, keep in mind that not everyone has Coeliac disease, nor does everyone have a gluten or wheat intolerance.
The majority of people can eat gluten and wheat products in moderation. And thank goodness for that, as the majority of people couldn’t afford to feed their family the expensive substitutes on a daily basis (e.g. Paleo or gluten-free breads and cereals).
And, if you’re someone who feels obligated to have a green smoothie for brekky every day, please realise that we don’t actually need to consume extra veggies and fruit in our diets.
We just need to make sure we consume the required amount (5+ servings daily — preferably organic).
Many of us are too busy getting into our cereal, bread, pasta, dairy products, rice and processed foods, that we forget to eat enough fresh foods.
Last night’s leftovers for breakfast
You could eat leftovers every day if you wanted to (because they will be varied), or you could just use this as a meal idea a few times per week.
You could include two other options to have on the days you don’t have leftovers.
For example, on these days you could have a couple of pieces of toasted sourdough with nut butter and tomato, or a bowl of gluten-free cereal and fruit and non-dairy milk.
If you do this, not only are you keeping the gluten low in your diet, but you’re also keeping down the number of expensive gluten free products you might need. By eating last night’s leftovers, you also get more veggies into your breakfast regime – if this is your goal.
Note: If you’re used to taking your leftovers for lunch, you’ll now simply make yourself something fresh to take with you e.g. a chicken salad sandwich, throw together some tuna salad, or make yourself a ‘wrap’.
Reconstruct your leftovers
Get creative and have a play around with the following:
• Omelettes or frittatas
• Veggie hash/fritters. Make sure you include some protein (eggs/salmon/sardines/beans/lentils/haloumi or meat)
• Bubble and squeak. Shallow-fry leftover vegetables and add some protein to this (eggs/salmon/sardines/beans/lentils/haloumi or meat)
One pot wonders
You could gently reheat these on the stove or in the oven…
• Soup or stew
• Stir-fry or risotto
• Homemade pizza
Other breakfast options
While you might not have time to prepare these ‘fresh’ breakfasts during the week, make sure you do so in the weekend.
• Eggs — any style. Add fresh veggies (cooked tomato, courgette, spinach, or mushrooms)
• Beans. Add fresh veggies and a good quality piece of buttered rye toast (if you’d like)
• Salmon. Add fresh veggies
• Sourdough toast. With nut-butter/sardines/miso paste or tahini + tomato or avocado
• A simple home-made muesli. Add fresh fruit + non-dairy milk
• Porridge or grits. Add fresh fruit and non-dairy milk. Note: Grits is a dish of coarsely ground maize kernels boiled with water or milk
• Various types of smoothies. Because smoothies do not promote correct digestion (as you don’t chew them) be sure to drink these slowly to improve your digestion, and assimilation.
With leftovers, you don’t have to think about what you’re going to eat for breakfast, as it’s already prepared (ideally ‘from scratch’). It will also be custom-made to suit your particular dietary requirements. All you need to do is gently heat it, crudely reconstruct it, or eat it ‘as it comes’.