The coming of summer marks the start of longer days, weekends spent soaking up the sun and even jetting off to far-flung beaches in search of relaxation. But it also gives rise to creeping concerns about our figures; without the protection of winter jumpers there are many situations when lingering pounds (from that Christmas binge we never quite work off) can bring about self-consciousness. If you’re looking to get in shape for summer, it’s essential to be careful about what you have for breakfast. Healthy options are always good, but you need something substantial that will give you the power to get through the day and avoid mid-morning snacks. There are many options for healthy, protein and nutrient rich breakfasts, from the simple to the more adventurous, such as:
\#1 – Egg and salmon sandwich on an English muffin
Use smoked salmon for this recipe, and to make things extra-healthy, you can also use two egg whites rather than whole eggs. Add some diced red onion to the pan before frying the egg whites, and make the sandwich on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin. Slice up some tomatoes for the sandwich, and add fruit or juice on the side to make it a little more filling.
Related: Eating Well: Egg and salmon sandwich
\#2 – Citrus berry smoothie
Smoothies are easy to make, and give you the option of having all manner of low-fat, fruity concoctions. Mix two parts orange juice into three parts low-fat (plain) yoghurt, adding a good helping of berries and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can also add some toasted wheat germ and honey to bulk it out and improve the flavour. When you’re satisfied, simply blend until smooth.
\#3 – Porridge with mashed banana and blueberries
Porridge is oat-based, providing a good source of iron and fibre, and although it may seem a little drab is actually extremely diverse as a breakfast. Try cooking porridge with blueberries, and when it’s done adding in some mashed banana to sweeten it without resorting to sugar or honey. This is also a good way to use up your more ripe bananas.
\#4 – Spinach and feta frittata
Spinach and feta cheese is a great pairing, and with the addition of some red pepper you can make a tasty, quick and simple breakfast frittata. Mix one whole egg with two or three egg whites, adding feta cheese and seasoning with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a frying pan, adding some red pepper and cooking until tender. Add spinach, and pour on the egg mixture when the spinach leaves start to wilt (after around two minutes). Reduce the temperature and serve when the egg has set.
Related: Ask Men: 5 power breakfasts
\#5 – Breakfast burrito
A healthy, vegetable packed burrito is a unique way to start the day, and can be whipped up pretty quickly. Fry some red onion, mushrooms, some chilli pepper (only a small amount, unless you want it a little fierier), spinach and eggs, then serve on a whole-wheat tortilla with feta cheese, salsa and seasoning to taste.
\#6 – Granola parfait
Granola is a fantastic source of whole-wheat, B vitamins and iron, and can be eaten in a wide variety of breakfasts. Try a parfait for breakfast, using low fat yoghurt, some dried (or fresh) fruit of your choosing and topped with granola. Make sure to choose a low fat granola as part of this recipe, with Special K. Granola being a good example – since it has 30 percent less fat than the average granolas on the shelves.
Related: Special K Granola
\#7 – Spinach and parmesan omelette
This healthy omelette is in many ways similar to the frittata, but incorporates parmesan cheese to produce notably cheesier dish. Sauté the spinach and some spring onion in a large pan or skillet, and mix two eggs with a tiny touch of chilli sauce (optional) before pouring the mixture into the pan. Add two teaspoons of parmesan after flipping and serve with a slice of toasted wholemeal bread and grapes.
\#8 – Whole wheat pancakes
Make some pancakes using whole wheat flour for a filling and wholesome breakfast, flavouring the mixture with cinnamon and incorporating granola for texture, if desired. Serve with fruit as a healthier alternative to butter or maple syrup.
\#9 – Lemon blueberry scones
If you’re looking for something special for breakfast – or want something you can prepare ahead of time and just grab and go – lemon blueberry scones are both delicious and bursting with healthy ingredients. Make the mixture using yoghurt, oats, whole grain pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, lemon juice (and zest), honey and blueberries and bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (around 400 Fahrenheit).
\#10 – Cinnamon raisin bread
Another more unique option for breakfast is some homemade raisin bread, flavoured using cinnamon. It’s made using whole wheat flour, raisins, cinnamon, egg, unsalted butter, fat-free milk, sugar and salt, with yeast added for rising. It’s a little more time consuming than the other options on the list, but can be pre-prepared so all you have to do in the morning is grab a slice or two.
\#11 – Raspberry banana smoothie
Create a simple, quick and nutritious breakfast smoothie by mixing equal parts raspberries and banana with some Greek yoghurt and skimmed milk before blending until smooth. Add some more substance to the meal with a slice of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter.
\#12 – Granola with Greek yoghurt and fruit
Provided you choose a low-fat, fibre-rich and vitamin-laden granola such as Special K Granola, you can make numerous healthy breakfasts based on it as a main ingredient. One improvement on the simple skimmed milk and granola combination is to use Greek yoghurt, adding fresh pieces of fruit to sweeten it further without the need for honey or sugar.
\#13 – Summer berry muffins
Low-fat muffins are a great way to start the day, and incorporating berries (such as raspberry and blueberries) both improves the flavour and gives you a more nutritious breakfast. Use three parts whole-wheat flour to two parts white flour, and substitute reduced-fat margarine and fat-free milk to keep the finished product both healthy and delicious.
\#14 – Peanut energy bars
Energy bars are another grab-and-go breakfast you can prepare beforehand to pick up on a busy morning. Combine dry roasted peanuts, raisins, oats, sunflower seeds (or other nuts) and toasted wheat germ, and pour over a heated mixture of peanut butter, brown sugar and corn syrup (honey can be substituted for this). Mix it all up, press it down firmly and leave out for an hour to harden.
Related: Eating Well: Peanut energy bars