Breakfast can be the easiest meal to skip. Mornings are very hectic. Trying to get kids ready for school and everyone else, including ourselves, out the door. It is unfortunate because eating breakfast is the healthiest way to start the day. Since most of us don't eat something at least a couple of hours before bed, when we sleep, we are actually fasting. Sleeping is when our immune system is most active. It is working to repair the damage that occurred during the day.
Breakfast is a great time to load up on antioxidants. Since the immune system worked overnight, giving it foods with high antioxidant activity will keep you healthy. One way to know if a food has high antioxidant activity is to look-up it's ORAC value. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measurement of lab test that identifies the total antioxidant capacity of a food. (Source: Scientific American) Knowing the total antioxidant activity of a food or spice will help you make smart choices to eat foods that promote optimal health.
There is a comprehensive ORAC table available here. Below I provided breakfast recipes, calculated their ORAC values and give suggestions on how to increase the ORAC. For perspective, Cloves have the highest ORAC value at 300,000. This gives you a benchmark of the total ORAC values I calculated for the recipes shared. If you try any of the below, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heather_lee_donahue and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share!
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It shouldn't be a surprise that smoothies are at the top of the list for a antioxidant packed breakfast. Buying frozen organic fruit keeps the cost of a smoothie affordable. Plus, I always add in vegetables to get a robust start to the day.
Berries are one of the most powerful fruits and we should eat them everyday. Blueberries promote brain health, may reduce the chance of developing cancer and may lower blood pressure. Strawberries support the immune system, help regulate blood sugar and have antimicrobial effects. The best part is both are available frozen so they can always be in the house.
Fresh ginger is a great add-in to smoothies. It is good for digestion, has anti-inflammatory effects and can help lower blood sugar. Even if a recipe doesn't call for it, I still chop some up and put it in a smoothie. You can't even taste the difference! Cinnamon is another healthy spice for smoothies. Cinnamon has an ORAC value of 131,000. I will put cinnamon into a smoothie even if the recipe doesn't call for it. I find I can taste cinnamon easier than ginger so I add a teaspoon to keep it mild.
Simple & Delicious Blueberry Smoothie from Elizabeth Rider ORAC 11,546 - add grapeseed extract to get to 119,676
Blueberry Spinach Smoothie from Alaska from Scratch ORAC 11,453 - add cinnamon to get to 142,873
Beginners luck Green Smoothie from 100 Days of Real Food ORAC 4,167 - add Chaga Mushroom Powder to get to 150,100
Detox Spinach Green Smoothie from Vibrant Plate ORAC 6,150 - add Grape Seed Extract to get to 114,280
Blueberry Banana Avocado Smoothie from Well Plated ORAC 141,449
WAFFLES & PANCAKES
Breakfast is a great way to increase your vegetable intake. Amazingly, there are very unique ways to eat vegetables for breakfast that you may not have thought of. What about Sweet Potato Waffles? Or spinach pancakes? The great thing about waffles and pancakes is they are easy to reheat. Plus, the add-ins are endless. Try some of the below:
Sweet Potato Waffles from The Lean Green Bean ORAC 133.935
Gluten-Free Spinach Oatmeal Pancakes from Joy Food Sunshine ORAC 137,756
Vegan Carrot Coconut Pancakes from the Minimalist Baker ORAC 14,328 - add in Ground Flaxseed to get to 14,671
Cinnamon Oatmeal Blender Waffles from Don't Waste the Crumbs ORAC 133,758
Breakfast bowls are a natural way to include vegetables. But you don't have to include eggs. If you are following a mostly plant-based lifestyle, sauteed veggies with potatoes (sweet or white) make a filling breakfast. Below are some ideas.
Veggie Breakfast Bowl from Love and Zest ORAC 5,639 - add black pepper to get to 39,692
Healthy Breakfast Bowl with Egg and Quinoa from As Easy As Apple Pie ORAC 6,516 - add dried parsley to get to 80,186
Country Breakfast Bowls from Budget Bytes ORAC 30,676
Southwest Protein Breakfast Bowl from Good Life Eats ORAC 15,565 - add cilantro to get to 20,706
Overnight oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts. It takes about 15 minutes to make it and it stays fresh in the refrigerator for the entire week. Plus, you can put high ORAC add-ins to maximize the antioxidants per serving. Here are some recipes:
Almond Butter Overnight Oats from Loving It Vegan ORAC 140,718
Healthy Overnight Oats from Elizabeth Rider ORAC 10,051 - add in acai powder to get to 112,751
Banana Nut Overnight Oats from The Healthy Maven ORAC 23,044 - add in dried blueberries to get to 71,364
Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats from Fit Foodie Finds ORAC 13,840 - add in pecans to get to 31,780
I am serious, toast. Have you jumped on the avocado toast bandwagon? I have! And that is just the start. There are Sweet Potato toasts, Mushroom toasts and Berries and Cream toasts. A savory toast like Mushroom toast can be topped with an egg, if you feel you need something more. I buy organic frozen bread since I don't eat toast that often. I usually have a toast breakfast once a week. Get ready to eat toast!
Mushroom Toast from Show Me The Yummy ORAC 41,799
Sweet Potato Toast from DetoxInista ORAC 2,824 - sprinkle turmeric on top to get to 129,892
The Ultimate Avocado Toast from The Spruce Eats ORAC 24,611
Strawberry Avocado Toast from Recipe Diaries ORAC 13,645 - sprinkle on dried basil to get to 74,708
I hope this post inspired you to make and eat breakfast more often. As I mentioned, it is important to start the day by nourishing your body. If you try any of the above, let me know what you think.
Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heather_lee_donahue and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on my recipes!
If you want to receive healthy living advice and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to see what I am up to.