Not hungry first thing in the morning? Pushed for time? Trying to lose weight? These calorie-counted treats will tempt you to rediscover the pleasure of breakfast.

From energy-boosting “apple pie” porridge and protein-packed scrambled eggs to a nutrient-rich green smoothie and granola bars, there’s something for everyone.

“Creating the habit of eating in the morning is something you can build towards,” says dietitian Alison Hornby. “Start off with a light bite, such as a piece of fruit or low-fat yoghurt.

“After a while, your morning appetite will naturally increase, and you’ll probably find you eat less throughout the day, including snacks.”

Research suggests people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less during the day – particularly fewer high-calorie snacks.

If you’re short on time in the morning, think about ways to keep your breakfast choice simple. You could also try waking up 10 minutes earlier or getting other chores out of the way ahead of time.

Energy-boosting breakfasts

‘Apple pie’ porridge

porridge

Serves: 1 adult
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories per portion: 315kcal (1,318kJ)

Ingredients

50g porridge oats
200ml semi-skimmed milk
1 medium dessert apple, diced
Pinch of cinnamon

This is a warm, comforting porridge spiced up with the classic flavours of a homemade apple pie.

Throw all the ingredients into a saucepan. Heat and stir until boiling, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Spoon the porridge into a serving bowl and add a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Or you could try

Muesli, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt: fruit added to your muesli counts towards your 5 A Day. Low-fat yoghurt provides calcium and protein, but watch out for the sugar content. Go for muesli with no added sugar.

Porridge with mashed banana and dried blueberries:** put oats and a handful of dried blueberries in a bowl, and add semi-skimmed milk. Heat in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring every so often. When cooked, stir in the mashed banana, which is a healthier substitute for sugar or honey. For the best results, use a very ripe banana.

Baked beans on wholemeal toast: not only are they naturally low in fat, but baked beans are also packed with fibre and protein, making them a vegetarian source of protein. Look out for reduced-salt and reduced-sugar ranges.

Breakfast cereals: cereals can be high in sugar, with some comprising up to 37% of the white stuff. Try switching to lower-sugar cereals or those with no added sugar, such as plain wholewheat cereal biscuits, plain shredded wholegrain pillows or plain porridge.

Protein-packed breakfasts

Scrambled eggs (with optional wholemeal toast)

scrambled eggs

Serves: 1 adult
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories per portion: scrambled eggs 247kcal (1,033kJ), 2 slices of wholemeal toast 190kcal (795kJ)

Ingredients

2 eggs
4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
2 slices wholemeal toast
2 tsp low-fat spread
Pinch of black pepper
Optional sprinkling of chopped chives (calories nominal)

The secret to perfect scrambled eggs is to fold them gently in the pan to get curds, rather than a dried, quivering mess.

Lightly mix the eggs and milk in a bowl. Melt the low-fat spread in a pan and add the egg mixture. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring slowly and gently until they’re just set, with big, soft curds.

Serve the eggs on the slices of toast, sprinkled with chives and some pepper.

Tips

  • to make green eggs, scramble your eggs with a handful (40g) of spinach (30kcal/125kJ)

Or you could try

Low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with fruit and nuts: try strawberries and mixed nuts.

Smoked salmon and low-fat cream-cheese bagel: halve the bagel and toast it. Spread low-fat cream cheese on one side and top with salmon. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of black pepper.

Lighter bites

Green smoothie

smoothie

Serves: 1 adult
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: none
Calories per portion: 140kcal (586kJ)

Ingredients

40g tinned mango slices (discard liquid)
40g tinned peach slices (discard liquid)
40g frozen spinach
1 medium banana
200ml water (or as required)

Smoothies are a great introduction to breakfast if you don’t normally have much of an appetite at the crack of dawn. They’re also a good portable option for your morning commute.

Compared with some hardcore recipes, our green smoothie is quite sweet and fruity while still giving a healthy serving of greens.

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Add more water to achieve the desired consistency.

Tips

  • you could use frozen or fresh fruit instead of tinned
  • limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a combined total of 150ml a day

Or you could try

Banana and oats smoothie:  transform your speckled bananas into an energy-boosting liquid breakfast. Blend 1 ripe banana with 2 tablespoons of oats and 100ml of semi-skimmed milk until smooth. This can also be made using a soya drink. Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a combined total of 150ml a day.

Very berry smoothie:  take 1 banana, 140g of frozen summer berries or forest fruits, 40g of low-fat natural yoghurt and about 100ml of apple juice. Blend the banana and berries until smooth. With the blades whirring, pour in apple juice to achieve the consistency you like. Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a combined total of 150ml a day.

Pimp your toast:  tired of your usual toppings? Toast doesn’t have to be boring. Brighten up your bread with these healthier combos: mashed avocado and hardboiled egg, marmite and grilled 30%-less-fat mature cheese, or banana slices and peanut butter.

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