Whether you want to build muscle, torch fat, embrace your inner caveman or quit meat altogether, it pays to make breakfast the most important meal of the day. Skip the cereal and toast and kick-start your morning with these mighty recipes.
Based on the foods our Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed before the advent of farming, this eating plan excludes entire food groups, including dairy and grains. Supporters claim that “going Paleo” can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
Fed up with mental fog clouding your mornings? This caveman-inspired recipe contains high levels of omega 3, which helps to improve cognitive function, as well a dose of harissa, an aromatic chilli paste used in north African and Middle Eastern dishes that’s guaranteed to fire you up for the day ahead.
- 1tbsp coconut oil
- 2 red peppers, cut into chunks
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 yellow peppers, cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1tsp harissa paste
- Pinch of smoked paprika
- 400g canned chopped tomatoes
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 1tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 8 eggs
- Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 2-3. Warm the coconut oil in a frying pan and add the onion, peppers, garlic and spices. Cook slowly for ten minutes until the peppers are soft. Add the canned tomatoes and simmer the mixture for a minute or two, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the spinach and parsley. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish or individual ramekins. Hollow out some space in the vegetable mixture and break the eggs into the hole. Season with pepper and bake for six to eight minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still creamy.
Recipe from The Paleo Healing Bible by nutritional therapist Christine Bailey (Apple Press, £9.99), buy on Amazon
Mushroom and Tofu Scrambled Eggs for the Sirtfood Diet
Sirtfoods contain nutrients that activate your sirtuin genes, which regulate metabolism to stimulate fat burning and promote muscle gain. The diet includes them in every meal, and claims that you can lose up to 7lb (3.2kg) of body fat during its initial seven-day fasting phase.
It’s 2016’s trendiest new eating plan – endorsed by everyone from Olympic sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie to UFC champ Conor McGregor – but the good news is you’re probably eating sirtfoods already without realising. Case in point: this delicious mushroom and tofu scramble, whose active sirt ingredients include cupboard staples such as turmeric, red onion, parsley and chilli.
- 100g extra-firm tofu
- 1tsp ground turmeric
- 1tsp mild curry powder
- 20g kale, roughly chopped
- 1tsp extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
- 50g mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 5g parsley, finely chopped
Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper and place something heavy on it to help drain the moisture. Mix the turmeric and curry powder and add a little water until it forms a light paste. Steam the kale for two to three minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion, chilli and mushrooms for two to three minutes until they start to brown. Crumble the tofu into bite-size pieces and add to the pan, then add the spice paste and mix. Cook for two to three minutes until the tofu starts to brown. Add the kale and cook for one more minute. Add the parsley and serve.
Recipe from The Sirtfood Diet by Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten (Yellow Kite, £7.99), buy on Amazon
Breakfast Burrito for a Vegan Diet
Vegans abstain from eating any form of animal produce, including eggs and dairy as well as meat. Studies have shown that this plant-based approach can improve weight loss and help combat high blood pressure and heart disease.
No animals were harmed in the making of this vegan-friendly breakfast burrito, which provides 18g of muscle-building protein – more than a pint of milk – via hefty servings of beans (black and kidney), along with a hit of immunity-enhancing tomatoes. And even if you do eat meat, it’s tasty enough to tempt you away for a morning.
- 2tbsp olive oil
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 140g button mushrooms, sliced
- 1tsp dried sage, crumbled
- ½tsp sea salt
- ½tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 200g cooked black beans
- 200g cooked kidney beans
- 2x 25cm wholewheat tortillas
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, halved, seeded, and sliced
- 4tbsp prepared salsa
Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sage, salt and black pepper, and cook for two more minutes. Stir in the beans and cook, turning and pressing the beans to break them up and brown them, for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Lay each tortilla on a plate and spoon half the mushroom filling down the centre of each, then divide the tomato, avocado and salsa between them. Roll the burritos by folding two sides in first and then folding one long side inwards.
Recipe from Plant-Based Cookbook by Trish Sebben-Krupka (DK, £14.99), buy on Amazon
Salmon Omelette for a Low-Carb Diet
The absence of carb-heavy foods such as bread, rice and pasta in this lean eating plan causes your insulin levels to drop, which allows you to burn fat efficiently rather than store it.
Struggling to keep carbs off your plate? Omelettes are a versatile brekkie option, packed with filling protein to help you avoid the dreaded mid-morning slump. This recipe from nutritionist Jono Smith also includes fibre-rich spinach and focus-boosting salmon to help curb sugar cravings.
- 1 large whole egg
- 3 large egg whites
- 40ml skimmed milk
- 40g spinach
- Light cooking spray
- 30g smoked salmon
Slice the salmon and leave it at room temperature. On a medium-low heat, wilt the spinach in a dry, non-stick pan. Remove the spinach, drain and place to one side. Add the eggs and milk to a bowl and whisk. Coat your non-stick pan with cooking spray and turn up the heat to high. Pour the eggs into the pan, reduce the heat to medium and slowly mix the eggs until they begin to cook. Add the wilted spinach and salmon and continue mixing until the eggs are cooked through. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste, then serve.
Chocolate Blueberry Porridge for a Bulking Diet
There are variations, but virtually all muscle-building diets have two things in common: shedloads of protein – at least 2g per kg of your bodyweight daily – and lots of carbohydrates to help fuel new tissue growth.
This super-sized porridge recipe doubles up as a perfect pre-gym snack, with the carbs from the oats helping to fuel your training and the antioxidants and caffeine from the berries and cacao giving you a sustained energy boost – perfect for a heavy weights session (or a lengthy commute to work).
- 1 serving of rolled oats
- 300ml milk
- 1 scoop of berry or chocolate whey protein powder
- 1tsp raw cacao powder
- 1tbsp cocoa nibs
- 1 handful of blueberries
Place your oats in a small to medium-sized saucepan, cover with milk and put on the hob. Make sure you’re constantly stirring your oats as you cook so they don’t burn or stick. While cooking, add your cacao powder and cocoa nibs. Once the oats have cooked through a little, but are still runny and fairly liquid, add the scoop of your chosen protein powder. Cook through for another minute, throw a handful of berries on top and serve.