Tip: I cook this without the baby spinach the day before. The next morning, I heat it through on the stove before throwing as much baby spinach as we can eat that meal on top. That way any leftover baked beans can be reheated in the same pot with freshly wilted baby spinach the next time.
4 cups rolled oats
¼ cup oat flour (whizz rolled outs in processor/grinder) or can use plain wheat flour instead
¼ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup raw honey
For later addition:
½ cup seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, hemp)
½ cup or more of nuts (a mix of almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, cashew) chopped
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit (or more if you prefer)
Optional: handful of dark choc chips
We hear a lot of things about breakfast – some claim that it’s the most important meal of the day, a smaller number feel that just a coffee is enough. Too many simply shovel food into their mouths quickly without much thought. Whether or not one does eat is mostly based on how your body functions most efficiently – some need fuel before they tackle the day, a smaller number of people have digestive systems that just prefer not to get going til much later in the day. But what is important is what does go into your mouth whether you feed yourself first thing in the morning, or later.
The first meal of the day should be fuel to kick start your body and brain. Your body has had sleep to rest, heal and grow your body (growth more so for children and teens) – it takes resources to do all that -the body will need to replenish those resources as well as to provide energy to do all the things you need to do for the day.
There are so many different philosophies related to food out there, this article is not about that. There are also different cultural foods that people have been thriving on for hundreds of generations – those work best if there has been little change in the source of ingredients. Unfortunately farming practices and food storage and processing has changed significantly especially in developed nations.
Let’s get down to basics. What does the body need? What does the brain need? Our brain and bodies need energy and the quickest form of short-term energy will come from glucose. Yes, it is a form of sugar. Our brain hungers for glucose – when it gets it, it is able to raise cognitive abilities. Suddenly sweetened cereal drowned in chocolate milk sounds like an exciting possibility. However, there is a catch. Research has shown that repeated consumption of simple refined carbohydrates and sugars decreases the brain’s cognitive abilities due to our bodies ability to release insulin to lock up excessive circulating sugar. Your body does not want too much sugar racing around the body. When that happens consistently, diabetic symptoms develop. Signs of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, hunger even after a meal, fatigue, tingling sensations in hands or feet, visual loss and slow wound healing. Left untreated, diabetes leads to many complications that can be life threatening. So we need to feed our bodies glucose, but we need to avoid exposure to excessive glucose - what does that look like?
Now, I could go into all the complexities of biochemistry, nutrition and physiology, but most people who come to me do not want to know that. They simply ask “What do YOU and your family eat for breakfast?”
So here is a list of foods/drinks we regularly have for breakfast. We rotate it according to cooler or warmer seasons. Except for the sardines, my children are happy to consume any of the following:
Eggs & avocado on wholegrain/sourdough toast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Homemade granola with plain yogurt, almond milk or kefir (click here for granola recipe)
Plain yoghurt with fresh seasonal fruit and nuts and seeds
Homemade baked beans (click here for recipe)
Canned sardines with avocado on wholegrain/sourdough toast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Smoothie (typically with banana, berries or avocado, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, plain yoghurt, flaxseed oil, almond milk and raw honey)
Wholegrain toast with nut butter & sliced banana
Licorice root tea (this is surprisingly delightful despite the fact that our family dislikes licorice)
Green drink with diluted fresh orange juice (currently using Vital Greens all in one)
Raw honey lemon drink
As you can see, we don’t follow strictly with any diet, just what is easily available, makes sense and feels good to our bodies. If you like the sound of some of these, do experiment with spices and seasonal ingredients. For example, scrambling eggs with water, salt, pepper and a little turmeric is something that is surprisingly pleasant.