It’s important to start the day with a healthy breakfast. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day. But healthy breakfast doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a great tasting breakfast. In any case, when it comes to breakfast, I’m a creature of habit, but in this case, I like to think it’s a good habit.
Begin with Greek yogurt. Particularly for those of us with blood sugar that bears a little watching, not all Greek yogurts are created equal. My particular favorites are Wallaby, Whole Foods’ own organic Greek yogurt, and Stonyfield. All of them are low in carbs (which is a smart thing to watch if you’re watching your sugar) and high in protein (think 9g of carbs and 23g of protein per serving). While they typically have non-fat, low fat and whole milk versions, I go for the non-fat. Frankly, I buy whichever of the three is cheapest, which is typically the Whole Foods brand and occasionally one of the others if they’re on sale–but try them out to see which you prefer. Occasionally, I’ll buy Fage, which isn’t organic, but it’s made from milk of cows that aren’t treated with rBST or rGBH (you don’t want to drink milk that has these either!).
Once the Greek yogurt is in a bowl, time to add the cinnamon. I stick with Ceylon cinnamon, sometimes called “true cinnamon.” It’s a little more expensive than the more common cassia cinnamon, but the latter has much higher levels of coumarin, a naturally occurring chemical that isn’t going to hurt you in small quantities, but studies have shown that continued consumption of large quantities can potentially affect your liver. Being risk averse, therefore, I stick to true cinnamon, which has been shown to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar, and it tastes good too. Sprinkle it generously atop your Greek yogurt. You’re on your way to an even more healthy breakfast.
Now comes the fun part, which varies by the season in most places: the fruit. For me, it might be a mix of berries (right now it’s strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries–occasionally even mulberries). But now that we’re coming into stone fruit season, there might be nectarines or peaches, and later on in the year, grapes might join the party. Pomegranate seeds are awesome when you can get them. It’s really a matter of personal taste and what’s in season. I’m generous with the fruit, particularly when it comes to berries, as they’re high in vitamins and antioxidants, but low on the glycemic index. Not only does fruit say “healthy breakfast” all the way, but it’s a great contrast to the tartness of the yogurt, and let’s face it, fruit tastes good and all of those colors make your bowl super appetizing.
But I’m not done yet (so neither are you!). Next come the nuts. For me, this typically means either walnuts or almonds. Just put maybe a half handful of them on the cutting board and chop them into small pieces (but not so small that they lose their texture), then sprinkle them over top. Not only are you adding texture, but nuts are good for you in a whole bunch of ways.
You could stop now, but I add one more thing: cocoa (or cacao) nibs (think chocolate, but without the sweetness). A sprinkling on top adds just a little more texture and another color, but in addition to that, cocoa nibs are considered a superfood, high in antioxidants and iron, manganese and copper. Your healthy breakfast just keeps getting healthier. Ready to enjoy it? Dig in!
Ingredients for Jonathan’s Healthy Breakfast
Greek yogurt, 1 serving (typically about 8 oz)
Ceylon cinnamon (several generous sprinklings, at least)
Fruit of your choice, enough at least to cover the yogurt surface (berries recommended in season for their low glycemic value)
Walnuts or almonds, chopped (a handful)
Cocoa nibs (a very large pinch)