We’ve always been told by health experts that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But it isn’t enough for us to eat just about anything in the morning, it’s also essential to get started on the right foot, eating something that’s nutritious, wholesome and healthy. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done – for instance, a recent study reported on by The Sunday Times, London, found that several brands of cereal contained more sugar per serving than a bowl of ice-cream.
So is there a way to make breakfast both healthy and tasty? Recipe guru Nita Mehta agrees that cornflakes and muesli do not make for a good breakfast. “But not all processed foods are unhealthy,” she says. Our other expert, celebrated chef Sanjeev Kapoor, says that healthy and tasty meals are especially close to his heart.
Says recipe guru Nita Mehta, “Ordinary oats are a good option, but if you find porridge boring, then powder the oats in a mixie and turn them into a pancake by adding fresh coriander, onion and turmeric or haldi. You can also add some kasoori methi or garam masala for flavour.”
Says chef Sanjeev Kapoor, “This is made from six to eight grains like wheat, rice, bajra and chana. You can buy thalipeeth mix in most stores (a popular brand is called Sakas); some are even pre-spiced. Take the mix and add onion, coriander and green chillies to it and form a dough. Make this into a thick chapati and cook on a tava. You can eat this with green chilli thecha or homemade curd. It’s a big favourite with people up north. We even cook our thalipeeth minus oil, applying some water, covering and cooking it.”
Chilla or sprouts
Mehta also recommends chilla made from saboot or whole dals like hari moong ki dal. Soak the dal, grind into a paste, and make a chilla, she says. “This is a good breakfast option as it contains both carbohydrates and protein,” reveals Mehta.
Her other tips: lightly steamed sprouts with mushrooms and veggies, and wholemeal bread spread with hung curd mixed with mustard sauce or a mix of salt, pepper and mustard for flavour. “You can also add fresh herbs like finely chopped basil or parsley,” says Mehta.
Eggs and smoothies
“If you like eggs, cook them without oil,” says Mehta. Finally, for an on-the-go breakfast, she recommends a milkshake, minus sugar. “Blend an apple, a cup of milk and some ice,” she advises, “or drink a glass of lassi in the morning.”
“This is a favourite at our house,” says Kapoor. “We use a mix of veggies and seasonal fruits and spice the juice up. The idea is to make it both khatta and meetha.”
He explains, “Take tomatoes, carrots, seasonal fruits – including melons, oranges, apples, and a small piece of beetroot or pomegranate. Take a little ginger, mint, black salt and lemon juice. Keep the inner skin of the fruit, but take out the seeds. Cut into chunks and blend in a blender after adding some water. If you don’t want it too fibrous, pass the juice through a thick strainer.”
This is a dish for one, says Kapoor. Take a microwavable glass bowl, one or two leaves of spinach and break two eggs (or just whites) in it. Add a chopped tomato, chopped capsicum, salt, freshly crushed pepper, and cook it for about a minute.
Make these with wholewheat flour. Skim buttermilk through it and add a handful of oats and some Bournvita. Add eggs, baking soda and baking powder and cook in a non-stick pan.