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5 Breakfast Upgrades

2 weeks ago / by Bindu Gopal Rao

Have a healthy start to your day

Dish of millet pancakes with bananas and strawberries
Photo via Shutterstock

The first meal of our day can set the tone for our physical and emotional wellbeing for several hours after we have eaten.

Most commercialized breakfast foods like cereals, muffins, and pancakes are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats. These foods spike blood glucose levels for a moment and then lead to an inevitable crash. “Choose whole grains over refined flours – they retain more fiber, protein, and nutrients than all-purpose varieties,” says Swimmy, executive sous chef, Park Inn by Radisson, IP Extn., New Delhi. “Also choose fruits and/or veggies with lots of color. The natural colors of foods demonstrate different phytonutrients.”

September being Better Breakfast Month, SEEMA suggests easy breakfast switches to replace refined foods with fiber, protein, and good fats. Found in vegetables, legumes, eggs and nuts, these nutrients keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range and keep you full longer.

Replace Cereals With Millets

Millets are a great alternative to cereals. You can  make dosa, cookies, cakes, porridge, upma, biscuits, idli, pancakes, salad, or breads with millets. Millets have many nutritional, nutraceutical, and healthy properties, especially high fiber content.

Add Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are commonly used as a replacement for eggs especially if you are vegan. The formula is simple – just use one tablespoon of chia seeds with two and a half tablespoons of water. This is equivalent to one egg. “One of the most popular ways to use chia seeds is in chia pudding. The seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients and can be consumed daily for myriad health benefits,” says Swimmy.

Include Vegetables

A quick and satisfying way to start the day with veggies and protein is a great breakfast upgrade. “An avocado sandwich is always satisfying. You can use spinach and feta for flavor and top with mashed avocado for your breakfast sandwich,” says Tenzin Phuntsok, executive sous chef, JW Marriott Chandigarh. “There’s no need for bacon or sausage here, the flavor holds up on its own,” Phuntsok adds.

Additionally, breakfast sandwiches can be easily customized and prepped, and you can even eat them for other meals. You will be surprised by the amount of flavor packed in by different ingredients.

Eat Fruits

Instead of plain baked oatmeal, go for a banana-based vegan spin. “A banana-based vegan oatmeal suits most palates and is a decadently wholesome treat. Plus, it works as an energizer early in the morning,” explains Phuntsok.

Focus On Nutrients

Breakfast can be the best meal to maximize the nutrients that your body needs throughout the day. Bulk up your meals by making them as nutrient dense as possible. The body requires various minerals and vitamins which are available in a variety of foods.

“For example, oats contain fiber, which is great for the digestive system. But oats don’t provide enough protein and micronutrients to sustain us,” says Patience Sangwa, naturopath, Chiva-Som. In this case, we need to mix and match. Adding nut butter to your bowl of oats can increase the protein content. Similarly, chia seeds contain good fats, berries are high in antioxidants and cinnamon is anti-inflammatory. Adding these to your breakfast enriches the nutrient content, enhances the flavor, and is aesthetically pleasing as well.