Breakfast: There’s a reason many tout this meal as the most important of the day. From stabilizing blood sugar levels to providing a much-needed boost of energy first thing in the morning, eating breakfast has many benefits for your overall health that shouldn’t be ignored.
But because mornings can feel so hectic, a nutritious a.m. meal doesn’t always get the time or respect it deserves. That’s why smoothies — blended with quality ingredients — are one of my favorites. They’re delicious, filling, and fast when you’re in a time crunch, and you can load them up with all the greens and healthy fats that you want. (Both food groups that nurture your brain and your mood.)
And, if you crave a heartier first meal or love a lazy weekend morning as much as I do, the truffled farm eggs with smoked salmon or shakshuka recipes that you’ll find here will be favorites — I promise. So set your alarm a little earlier each morning (or batch prep two to three days of smoothies by storing pre-blended ingredients in a quart container in the freezer), and try some of the recipes excerpted here from Drew Ramsey M.D.’s Eat Complete.
There’s something about starting my day with a beautiful meal that really makes me feel like I’m winning at self-care.
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MINTY BLUEBERRY SHAKE Serves 2
This is a breakfast that hits the mark for protein and taste, and it also happens to come with its own aromatherapy treatment. Mint calms and refreshes, so start your day by tearing up the mint leaves and taking a deep mindful breath. Pairing blueberries with greens covers a lot of bases for your vitamin needs. The juicy wild blueberries plus an added subtle sweetness from the mint pair well with the taste of the greens.
– 2 cups fresh or frozen (a great way to trim your grocery budget) wild blueberries – 1 cup plain, 2 percent yogurt or plain kefir – 1 cup assorted greens such as spinach, baby kale, or collards – 1 banana- 1⁄4 cup fresh mint leaves – 1⁄4 cup hemp seeds- 1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds 4 ice cubes- 3⁄4 cup cold water
Place the blueberries, yogurt or kefir, greens, banana, mint leaves, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds in a blender along with the ice cubes and cold water and process until smooth. Divide evenly between two glasses and serve immediately.
SHAKSHUKA Serves 2 (by Samantha Elkrief, LMSW)
This is a flavorful and rich dish eaten in North Africa, Israel, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries (though it has different names and varieties). It’s usually eaten for breakfast, but it can also serve as a light lunch or dinner. The great thing about this dish is you can individualize it as much as you like. The basics are tomatoes, onions, peppers, cumin, garlic, water, salt, pepper and eggs. Other than that, it’s up to you. You can add paprika, or sometimes I cook it with a dried pepper like chipotle to give it a smoky kick. You can add hot sauce or whatever herbs you like. I personally use green peppers as that’s the way they do it in Northern Africa, but in Israel they often use more tomatoes and red peppers. It’s very versatile.
– 2 tbsp olive oil – 2 cloves garlic, chopped- 1 yellow onion, diced- 1 green pepper, diced1 tsp cumin – 1 tsp paprika – Salt and pepper to taste- 3 tomatoes, I prefer plum, large dice- 1/4 cup water, more as needed- 4 eggs
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot, sauté the peppers and onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic after about 5 minutes, as you don’t want it to brown. Then add cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and the water. Cover the pan and let it all cook for about five minutes. Add more water if it gets dry.
Once the veggies have cooked down a bit and start to look saucy, make three indentations in the cooking pan with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs into them. You want to keep them separate. Add a little salt and pepper and cover. You are basically steaming the eggs in the tomato sauce. I cook them until the yellows are slightly cooked, about 10 minutes. For a true shakshuka, cook just until the egg whites have set.
Serve on it’s own, with a side salad, pita or bread. Add chopped herbs at the end (cilantro is a good match).
KIWI GREEN SMOOTHIE Serves 2
You might be skeptical about starting your day with four cups of greens, but that’ll quickly pass. Mixing greens into your smoothies is an easy way to boost nutrient intake. The fiber in the greens plus the protein in the kefir will keep you full longer. To avoid bitterness, be sure your kiwis are ripe, which means they should be soft to the touch. Leave hard kiwis on the countertop for two to three days to ripen.
Ingredients:- 2 cups raw fresh spinach – 2 cups raw kale- 2 ripe kiwis, peeled and quartered – 1 cup plain 2 percent yogurt or plain kefir – 1⁄4 cup almonds1⁄4 cup chia seeds- 2 tablespoons honey- 4 ice cubes- 1 cup cold water, plus more as needed
Place the spinach, kale, kiwis, yogurt or kefir, almonds, chia seeds, and honey in a blender along with the ice cubes and cold water. Blend until smooth, adding a few tablespoons more of cold water to adjust the consistency if necessary. Divide evenly between two glasses and serve immediately.
TRUFFLED FARM EGG W/ WILTED WATERCRESS AND SMOKED SALMON Serves 4
As a trio, seafood, greens, and eggs in this dish deliver all of the essential 21 nutrients, which you can learn more about in my book. For even more omega-3s (and no food dyes), choose wild salmon, which is sometimes harder to find than smoked salmon. Another option is to make your own cured salmon. Watercress tops the rankings of fruits and vegetables for overall nutrient density. To take this brunch-style breakfast on the go, wrap your eggs and fixings in a large collard leaf, which boosts the nutrient density of the dish. Serious foodies can swap the truffle oil for two teaspoons shaved fresh truffle, black or white, added to two teaspoons olive oil.
– 1 tablespoon olive oil- 4 pasture-raised eggs – 2 teaspoons truffle oil- 1 teaspoon paprika1 shallot or 1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced- 8 ounces watercress- 2 tablespoons balsamic or apple cider vinegar- 8 ounces smoked salmon
Coat a large skillet with half of the olive oil and warm it over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet, drizzle with the truffle oil, and sprinkle with paprika. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the whites are cooked through but the yolks are still soft.
While the eggs are cooking, prepare the watercress. Coat a separate large skillet with the remaining olive oil. Add the shallot or onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shallot starts to soften. Add the watercress and cook for 1 minute until wilted. Sprinkle with the vinegar.
Divide the mixture among four plates and top each with an egg and 2 ounces of the smoked salmon. Serve immediately.
BUTTERMILK STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE Serves 2
Buttermilk, a cultured dairy product, adds zip to this berry delicious smoothie that’s high in vitamin C and key minerals. Including cultured dairy in your diet benefits your health by adding good bacteria to your microbiome. If you can’t do dairy, try cultured coconut yogurt instead.
– 1 cup 2 percent buttermilk 1 cup plain kefir- 3 cups fresh strawberries- 1⁄4 cup almonds- 2 tablespoons pumpkinseeds- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract- 8 ice cubes
Place the buttermilk, kefir, strawberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and vanilla in a blender along with the ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of cold water to adjust the consistency if necessary. Divide evenly between two glasses and serve immediately.
Unless otherwise noted, all recipes are excerpted from Dr. Drew Ramsey’s Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health (Harper Wave, 2016).
Dr. Drew Ramsey is also the creator of Eat To Beat Depression.
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