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Healthy breakfast options

For those of us who want the warmth of a beautifully home cooked, hearty breakfast without the fat and calories, what are the options? Surely there are fun things to eat that won’t hurt our hearts?

I am a freelance journalist dedicated to travelling and keeping fit and healthy. A tragic (but proud) cat lady, I believe in the importance of staying strong, active and healthy in the most practical ways possible. I’m also committed to laughing every day, even if that means at myself…which is usually the case. Robyn Box

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures: a gorgeous, comforting breakfast in the midst of winter. The glorious fragrance floats through the house, drawing everyone – even those who dread the early morning hours – towards the kitchen where they know a delicious feast awaits. 

Unfortunately, these breakfasts are usually laden in excess fats, oils and calories. Everything is cooked in a pan, and generally smothered in all things we think are totally acceptable ‘in moderation’. Truth is, we’re all eating too much of the fun stuff, and it’s starting to show.

According to the Heart Foundation, Western Australians have the highest proportion of overweight and obese people in all the states and territories. A shocking reality check that perhaps we’re in denial about the food we eat.

But for those of us who want the warmth of a beautifully home cooked, hearty breakfast without the fat and calories, what are the options? Surely there are fun things to eat that won’t hurt our hearts?

Bacon is one of those foods we all love, but dread to eat. And rightly so. Bacon, when cooked in a fry pay with only a splash of oil is not a great option for those of us who lead relatively sedentary lifestyles. “The protein sucks up the fat,” says Dr Duncan, “so frying in a pan is the worst way to prepare bacon”.

Ah ha! The protein trap! How many times have we heard the call to ‘eat more protein!’? But now we find out some of the protein we love is a bully to our health? What is safe to eat?

 “Substitute meat for a vegetable like spinach, grilled tomato or low-sodium baked beans,” says dietician Emma Stirling, “plus poached eggs are a wonderful source of protein”. And let’s face it - it only takes a touch of avocado or sprinkling of fresh herbs to forget we ever knew what bacon was. “Bacon who? Kevin Bacon? Oh yeah, I loved him in Footloose.” That sort of thing.

If you’re keen to steer clear of the pan altogether (good for you!), then porridge is the way of the world. ‘Boring!’ I hear you bleat? Well, then you’re doing it wrong.

“Porridge is great with some stewed fruits, nuts and fresh berries” says Stirling, suggesting even the pre-mixed wholegrain variety is a great, convenient hot breakfast option.

If you’re dealing with family members who threaten to hold their breath and stomp their feet until they get their traditional bacon and egg feast, try this one: use prosciutto instead. Grab a slice or two and wrap it loosely in paper towel. Pop it in the microwave until it becomes deliciously crunchy, then pull it out, pat it dry, break it into crumbs and sprinkle it over a poached egg on wholegrain toast.  And since a common issue with children (or grown-ups who occasionally behave like children) is that they don’t like the grain in sandwiches, once the bread is toasted grains go unnoticed because it’s tucked within a hard piece of toast. Problem solved. 
 
So it seems it’s not always what you eat, but how you prepare it. Eat a beautiful hot breakfast, just don’t eat your daily calorie count in one sitting – and with these tips, there’s no need to anyway.

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