I find that if I don’t eat a proper breakfast within an hour or two of waking up, I feel like I have blood sugar issues all day. It doesn’t matter what or how much I eat, I cannot feel satiated. Breakfast is essential! Enough of my opinion and eating habits, what does science say? Going without breakfast has been shown to impact negatively on mental performance as well as on physical endurance – there are countless research studies proving the link between a good breakfast and performance in exams and tests. Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that getting in more of your calorie need earlier in the day is beneficial metabolically. Fuel your day with a great breakfast!
It isn’t always easy in the morning rush of any family household to make the healthiest choices. Mass market cereals and cereal bars are not good breakfast choices – they are laden with sugar and contain very little protein or fibre so they are rapidly digested by the body resulting in a big spike in blood sugar levels, followed by an energy slump afterwards which will have you reaching for coffee and desperate for even more sugar.
One thing I always have in my cupboard is a big jar of my homemade granola. Most shop bought granolas are as bad for you as breakfast cereals and not far from biscuits and cookies in nutritional analysis. It is so easy to make your own granola without any of the naughtiness. Using a small amount of natural sweetener (such as coconut blossom nectar, maple syrup, honey or dried fruits) and combining with nuts (think protein and beneficial fats) and seeds (more good fats and fibre) ensures a slower, steadier energy release. You can use your own combination of nuts and seeds; play around with the amounts to make your favourite mix of goodness. Serve with your favourite milk or yogurt, layer with fruit and live yogurt for a breakfast pot or take it out in portion sized containers for snacking or mixing with milk at work. As you can see from these pictures, I really play around by adding shredded coconut, bee pollen, fresh fruit or whatever I can find in the kitchen. If I’m going to the gym later that morning, I often add vanilla protein powder and/or oatbran, which is high in fibre and ensures a sustained energy release.
500g gluten free jumbo oats
50g desiccated coconut
150g nuts (I use almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts)
75g seeds (I use sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia and linseed)
25g dried fruit (I use goji berries, sultanas, dried cherries and chopped dried apricots)
1/2 cup honey, coconut blossom nectar or maple syrup
Optional: add ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cacao, maca, bee pollen or protein powder. I do this at the time of eating so the main mix can be kept simple.
Coat oats, nuts and seeds with the syrup/honey. Place in a large oven tray.
Bake at 140 degrees for 20-30 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring regularly. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Add dried fruit and coconut.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Granola stays fresh for 2-3 weeks. I always make a big batch at a time.
Recipe credit: I was first taught to make granola by my good friend, superfood chef Paulina, who has been a huge kitchen inspiration to me. This recipe is an adaptation of hers. She is one of the only chefs whose food I trust to be completely clean and wholesome. I cannot recommend her restaurant Eat Is Life (Ibiza) highly enough.