Ruthie Edwards is a mum to two real-food -crazy boys with endless appetites and a passion for rugby and fitness. Her day job is as an Integrative Nutritional Health Coach, on a mission to help the stressed and frazzled tame their busy-ness beast, one healthy, happy lifestyle nudge at a time.
Here is her take on a grab and go breakfast, packed with all they (and you!) will need for a top class start to the day.
2 WAY POWER BREAKFAST (and after school re-energisers)
Let’s be honest right up front – school mornings are tough going. That was my polite description …please insert your own here!
At the crack of the first morning sparrow, mums and dads all over the world launch a daily military operation to get children dressed, equipped and fed well for the day ahead, before roll call. Time for eating breakfast properly is hard to find, sometimes impossible, amidst the chaos of the school bags, the missing socks and sleepy grumpiness and always, the unexpected. Too often a quick slice of toast or a bowl of cereal gets bolted down as a nod to belly filling and brain fuelling, but there is no nutritional substance in toast and many boxed cereals are overloaded in sugars which are also often hidden.
I want to fly the flag for the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day with these little pots of power that feed and power up your children and the big kids (aka mum and dad) too. They take minutes to prepare and load in to the fridge for the days ahead and no time for each person to grab their own in the mornings and eat straight from the pot. What I like about them most is they satiate the appetites of the hungriest trooper whilst for those who really don’t feel like eating that early in the morning, they can be blitzed in the blender with extra milk and fruit as an easy going smoothie for supping between school prep logistics. Either way they will keep your family going without the need for meeting inevitable sugar cravings with visits to the nearest chocolate and sweet dispensary.
So, overnight our bodies have been without food for anything between 8 and 12 hours depending on when you last ate the day before. Break the fast and first flush out some toxins and wake up our body cells with a glass of water. Add this little habit in to everyone’s day and you may just smooth the early morning grumps which can be attributed, in part, to dehydration. After so many hours without fuel, it’s time to fill the tank with premium nourishment that boosts our family’s energy right off the daily starting block, keeps them running steady until lunch and supports their ongoing growth and health and happiness needs.
Nutritionally these little ‘power pots’ pack just such a punch, although please note, this recipe does not allow for any gluten, dairy or nut allergies. This recipe is a foundation to your own creativity so you can adapt to the likes and dislikes of the family. It is really a version of Bircher Muesli meets overnight soaked oats, except it has a double personality!
Organic Ingredients + Benefits
OATS – packed with more soluble fibre (beta-glucan) than any other cereal/grain, oats are digested more slowly and keep you feeling fuller longer. The inherent B Vitamins and magnesium in oats keep the body’s sugar levels balanced. That means reduced mood swings, spikes of hunger or energy crashes which lead to searching out sugar fixes and further dips in the day. For us mums and dads, beta-glucan helps soothe the nerves and keep cholesterol levels healthy!
SUNFLOWER AND PUMPKIN SEEDS – These seeds are small and mighty but combine them together and you get some turbo action. They are rich in Vitamin E, an anti-oxidant that helps maintain healthy hair and skin and protects cells from damage by removing toxins from the body, B Vitamins to support the immune system and balance hormones and mood, and heart healthy fats and protein. All ages in the family covered!
CHIA SEEDS – For our sporty children who need the extra fuel, take a leaf out of the Aztec warriors books and add the mighty chia seed in to their diet – they ate them for energy, endurance and strength. They are a power-house of protein, dietary fibre and pre-biotics with more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon. Heart and brain health get a boost, but amongst it’s many, many benefits, the fact that it can absorb up to 10x its own weight in water means that chia seeds can prolong hydration in the body and keep electrolytes in check . Super cool little warriors in their own right!
BANANAS – All hail the banana! A star in my Real Smart Food list, the humble banana needs a superhero sign on its little yellow cape in my opinion. Not only does it sport it’s own cool packaging, but it delivers the double whammy of quick release glucose and slow release fructose . That means it ticks the boxes for our sporty children and busy mums and dads alike when it comes to energy level boosting and maintenance. And that’s not all… it keeps the gut healthy with its prebiotic hidden treasures, resulting in maximum absorption of major nutrients we love for growing like calcium, which means super bone health.
FULL FAT MILK – Calcium and Vitamin D are what we all know to be the key benefits of milk, but full fat milk ups the anti in terms of looking after those growing brains, nervous systems and metabolism too. And did you know it can help regulate our sleep/ wake cycles? Now there’s a nugget of information worth working with…
YOGHURT – I love Yeo Valley’s full fat plain organic yoghurt for its creaminess and natural sweetness. It’s best to avoid adding in any flavoured or fruity yoghurts because of added sugars that we want to avoid. Yoghurt strengthens the immune system and looks after the gut which is where the health of the rest of the body begins.
CINNAMON – Not to everyone’s taste, so treat this one as optional, however just the scent of cinnamon has been said to boost memory and cognitive function. Just a little sprinkle on the top of these pots also adds an anti-viral and metabolic boost to the day.
MAPLE SYRUP – it has to be 100% organic to reap the rewards from this natural sweetener, other products on the market are usually made up of corn syrup and flavourings. Top the pots with a drizzle of this gold and you seal in a healthy alternative to sugar and 15 times more calcium than honey.
Let’s get started….
Measurements are based on filling one 340ml wide mouth jam jar. (Think Bonne Maman jam jar for size – I collect these jars and use them for such recipes as this but also for storing my spices, pulses and seeds). Make as many as you need for family members and for storing up to a shelf life of 4 days.
½ cup of oats
1tsp of chia seeds
¼ tsp of cinnamon
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
1 tbs sunflower seeds
1 cup of milk
2 tbs of yoghurt
1 – 2 tbs maple syrup
Build the pots….
- Place oats, chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in the pot and stir to combine evenly . Include the cinnamon here too if this is your preference.
- Pour in 1 cup of milk and stir
- Slice half a banana and layer on top of the mixture
- Pour over the yoghurt
- Drizzle the maple syrup on the top
- Seal with a lid and allow to soak overnight in the fridge
Soaked oats are so much easier on the digestion and together with the chai seeds they soak up the milk and expand to create a creamy thick porridge like consistency. It is essential to allow these to soak overnight – often if chia seeds have not been soaked long enough to absorb the liquids you can experience tummy ache as they expand inside you!
Eat straight from the pot in the morning or pimp them up in a bowl with added fruits such as berries or peaches.
Experiment with different fresh and dried fruits, toast the seeds in a little honey for added crunch and taste and swap the oats for gluten free alternatives like pre-cooked rice flakes or quinoa.
Or, convert to a smoothie…
Transfer contents of the pot in to the blender and loosen with added milk to consistency of your liking. No measurements here for that as it’s all down to personal preference. Add a dash of colour and added vitamins to the mix, with a handful of frozen berries in the blender and tweak the sweetness to your taste with additional maple syrup or more banana.