Friday, 27 September 2013

Healthy Breakfast Ideas - Introducing Complex Carbs and Protein

Now, I take the phrase 'eat breakfast like a King' very, very seriously.

It's a meal that I simply cannot miss and I'd quite happily walk out of a door with messy hair and a non made up face if it means that I'll have the time to prepare and eat it... and possibly arrange it to look nice for Instagram. I'm that person. If you know me in real life or follow me on Twitter/Instagram - I apologise for the amount of times I rave about my first meal of the day with its array of fruit/nuts/seeds toppings, it's a meal that just cannot be beaten and I've taken to having it for dinner on Friday evenings to round off the working week. Bliss in a bowl and a tradition I intend to cherish. Look at me being the ultimate wild gal. If you're looking to adapt to a healthier lifestyle change or want to shed a few pounds, look no further (and put down the bacon sandwich) because this is possibly one of the best breakfast dishes you can have - and it bids farewell to muffin tops and bingo wings too.

Breakfast facts:

The first meal of the day should technically be your biggest meal of the day. Breakfast splits into break and fast which quite literally means to 'break the fast' from the 6-8 hours that you've been asleep. It's the meal that kick starts your metabolism for the day, it refuels your body and supplies it with enough energy to keep you going for the day ahead. To sum it up, it's important and if you plan on losing weight and to maintain it, it's a must.

I normally kick start my day with a glass of cold water and normally aim to eat my breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up. Leave it any longer and your body will slowly head to starvation mode then proceed to cling on to any signs of fat - not good.

Complex carbs: low GI food

Aim to have a mix of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates with your breakfast. Carbs get a very, very bad rep due to its refined siblings but they're essential if you know the right types to eat! Ditch the morning pastries and aim for low-GI options instead. Low glycemic carbs is based on blood glucose levels and are food that slowly gets absorbed and released for energy. It avoids the instant sugar crash you get from croissants/pain au chocolats, doesn't spike your insulin levels and is a great way of enjoying carbohydrates without gasping in horror.

For lunch/dinner option - swap sweet potatoes from normal potatoes, use brown/red/basmati rice instead of white rice and switch to wholemeal bread.

The benefits of oatmeal/muesli:

Oatmeal is often hailed as a 'granny' dish - a bowl of grains that only the old can enjoy... or the Scottish. Whilst I'm all for living like a grandma (PJs, fruit tea and The Great British Bake Off, anyone?), it's a belief that I'd quite like to break. It's a complex carb and will keep you full until lunch without having to reach for a mid-morning biscuit. To save on calories, I normally opt to cook it with water and prefer to flavour it with cinnamon, sliced fruit and nuts/seeds. It's perfectly fine to have it with milk and it'll give a much creamier taste too. It's the same with muesli - the dry version of rolled oats usually combined with raisins/hazelnuts/almonds. I sometimes mix mine in with some natural/greek/strained yogurt too - my absolute favourite being Chobani. An added dose of protein with my complex carbs - perfecto! My preferences of them both depends on the amount of time that I have in the mornings combined with what I'm 'craving' that day. I then chuck in a looooooad of fruit in and aim to have 2-3 different types in depending on the size of the fruit although banana wise, I usually stick to a half.

My favourite toppings are a mix of:
blueberries, walnuts, almond flakes, goji berries, apple chunks, peach slices, pear chunks, banana slices, figs, grated apple and cinnamon. 

Don't worry, I haven't gone crazy. I don't add the whole shebang; I only pick 2-3 different fruits, a small handful of nuts and a dash (three dashes) of cinnamon. Fruit and oats also increases your fiber levels too which again, keeps you full as it takes longer for your body to digest (and keeps you going to the toilet regularly - sorry, gotta be said).
Note: Do NOT go for the instant oatmeal packets, whilst they're convenient and have flavours like 'golden syrup' - it's full of sugar and preservatives. Stick to the traditional rolled oats option instead. Ditch the brown sugar/swirls of syrup in too. If you're aiming to eat healthily, adding in a ton of sugar is not going to help matters (or your waistline). Stick to a small amount of honey if absolute necessary, or have fruit for natural sweetness instead! :)

Protein and healthy fats:
There are plenty of health benefits associated with protein and I try to include protein rich things into my diet to aid muscle repair/building. These are things like quinoa, nuts (almonds and walnuts are my absolute favourites), natural/greek yogurt and eggs to name a few examples. Avocados, smoked/normal salmon, avocado and egg yolks gives you much needed doses of healthy fats. Whilst they are higher in calories, they're still very healthy and ensures your body is topped with the right kind of fats. Want glossy hair and good skin? Keep those avocados comin'. 

Eggs BeneFit (geddit? full credit to Jordan for thinking of it)
Eggs, oh eggs. They're packed full of protein, keep you full and are mighty good for you. There's a rumour about ditching the egg yolks to avoid high cholesterol but the majority of the nutrients are actually in the sunny yellow counterparts! Don't throw it, eat it! Whilst I have no problem with having hard-boiled ones, it can get a little boring. Step in banana pancakes. A two-ingredient pancake with nothing but oodles of nutrients. I first saw this on Blogilates and it's been a staple since as it's super easy to whip up! It's 100% natural and is also a great pre/post workout snack too as banana is a potassium that supplies you with energy and helps muscle recovery too. For lunch, I usually slice up a boiled egg over a bed of lettuce, peppers and cherry tomatoes. Delicious!

I've think I've covered the basics of what I wanted to speak about! If you'd like me to expand on this further - let me know as I'd be more than happy to! I know this is primarily a fashion blog but I'd really love to expand into lifestyle/food posts too as it's become such a big part of who I am as a person now! I always receive comments to do more food related videos about my fitness routine/meal ideas so I hope this helps :)!

Judging from my snaps above (and my whole insta-feed), it's easy to make the mistake that I'm a food blogger rather than a fashion one. In fact, a few too many friends and colleagues have commented on this and even suggested for me to create a 'shulikesfood' YouTube channel. To their amusement, I actually went ahead and did so. You can find my channel here - banana oatmeal cookies and Thai red fish cake recipes are currently available to watch!

So voila!

If you've made it this far, thank you so much for reading (and phew!)
I hope you're having a great day so far :)

(definitely enjoyed a bowl of this today)



  1. Hey, Shu :) I used to follow you a while back, when you had just recently started blogging, but then I deleted my blog and took a big, long break from... everything, really.
    Now I'm back and started blogging again, adding blogs I'm following to, which includes you! Glad you see you've stuck to it and have grown so much from the very beginning, I'm happy for you! Congrats on the job and the amazing, positive changes in your style, your healthy lifestyle and everything else! I enjoy your youtube videos and even more so - the blog posts, because that's what I originally loved so much from the beginning.
    Anyway, just saw this post and read it with great interest, since breakfast is seriously the most important meal of my day and I've never skipped it in the last... 20 years at least :)
    I've recently been more focused on cooking and making more conscious choices (minus the nutella sandwich I just had, haha, bad timing for writing this, I suppose) and it was nice to read this and get some inspiration as well.

    Anyway, just popped in to say hi, great post and a great blog in general, that you have here, so - yeah! Have a nice weekend and if you decide to drop by my blog I'd get pretty excited, but if not - good luck with everything :)

    Renate from

  2. I find this kind of posts super helpful, so I would love to see more of them. And yay for a foodie youtube channel, I just subscribed! :)


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