What do you eat for breakfast on the Mediterranean diet?
It’s not hard to see why the Mediterranean diet remains as popular as ever. Rather than provide followers with a restrictive list of rules to follow, this food plan is anything but a finickity fad diet. Saying that however, it is still all too easy to fall into a breakfast rut when you are trying to eat in a healthy way. Don’t worry however: help is at hand! Keeping reading for some inspiring Mediterranean diet recipe tips that will make each and every morning something to look forward to.
Get to know the Mediterranean diet
The World Health Organisation recognises the Mediterranean diet as a healthy and sustainable eating plan1. The diet is based on a high-intake of plant-based foods including nuts, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. It also encourages a moderate intake of fish and poultry, a low-intake of dairy products (mostly yoghurt and cheese), as well as an occasional intake of meat and sweets. Aside from these core ingredients, the Mediterranean diet is also associated with a number of cultural practices that support a healthy relationship with food, including shared family meals and regular physical activity. The diet has been linked to numerous health benefits including a lower risk of cancer, cognitive disease and cardiovascular disease, as well as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes1-2.
Look for healthy fats and fibre
Have you joined the avocado fan club yet? If not, now is the time! Avocados have healthy fats that will keep hunger at bay, making them a wise choice at breakfast time. Layer a few slices onto wholemeal toast for a satisfying snack that is packed full of heart healthy monosaturated fat (the same type found in olive oil). Breakfast is also the perfect moment to eat high-fibre foods, which can help improve digestive health and comfort. Zespri Green kiwifruit contains both soluble and insoluble fibre3, which can help soften stools, increase the frequency of bowel movements, and help reduce the sensation of bloating4-14. Our recommendation? A bowl of overnight oats mixed with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a chopped kiwifruit. Simple and delicious, it will provide you with a substantial morning dose of fibre and antioxidants.
Prepare for the day with protein
There are many high-protein breakfast options that are quick and easy to make on the Mediterranean diet. One good idea is to make sure you always have a carton of Greek yoghurt in the fridge. Mixed with a handful of berries and a drizzle of honey, it makes for a delicious breakfast that is high in protein and probiotics. And if you prefer a hot option, there is nothing better than an egg-based breakfast. In the Mediterranean, fresh farm eggs are a common sight on the morning table and considered a healthy way to start the day. We love this dish for Zespri Green Kiwifruit Shakshuka, our take on a popular Middle Eastern and North African dish that the whole family will love. Quick to make (it only takes one pan), it combines poached eggs, spiced tomato, and kiwifruit, for a delicious breakfast that will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.
1. World Health Organisation. Fostering healthier and more sustainable diets – learning from the Mediterranean and New Nordic experience. (2018). Available online http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/news/news/2018/5/fostering-healthier-and-more-sustainable-diets-learning-from-the-mediterranean-and-new-nordic-experience
2. Martinez-Gonzalez, M.A, et al. (2009) Mediterranean food pattern and the primary prevention of chronic disease: recent developments. Nutrition Reviews, 67, 111-116.
3. The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited. (2015). New Zealand Food Composition Database: New Zealand FOODfiles 2014 Version 01. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from http://www.foodcomposition.co.nz/foodfiles.
4. Stonehouse W, Gammon CS, Beck KL, Conlon CA, von Hurst PR, Kruger R: Kiwifruit: Our daily prescription for health. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 2013;91:442-447. http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjpp-2012-0303?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&#.Wz4m_NgzbOR
5. Redgwell RJ, Melton LD, Brasch DJ. Cell wall dissolution in ripening kiwifruit (actinidia deliciosa): Solubilization of the pectic polymers. Plant Physiol. 1992;98:71-81.
6. Redgwell RJ, Fisher M, Kendal E, MacRae EA. Galactose loss and fruit ripening: high-molecular-weight arabinogalactans in the pectic polysaccharides of fruit cell walls. Planta. 1997;203:174–81.
7. Marlett JA, Kajs TM, Fischer MH. An unfermented gel component of psyllium seed husk promotes laxation as a lubricant in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:784-9.
8. Chan AO, Leung G, Tong T, Wong NY. Increasing dietary fiber intake in terms of kiwifruit improves constipation in Chinese patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13:4771-5.
9. Chang CC, Lin YT, Lu YT, Liu YS, Liu JF. Kiwifruit improves bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19:451-7.
10. Hiele (2010): three Zespri Green kiwifruit
11. Cunillera O, Almeda J, Mascort JJ, Basora J, Marzo-Castillejo M and the Catalan Kiwifruit Study Group. Improvement of functional constipation with kiwifruit intake in a Mediterranean patient population: An open, non-randomised pilot study. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet. 2015;19:58-67.
12. Ohsawa et al. (2010): two Zespri Green kiwifruit
13. Rush EC, Patel M, Plank LD, Ferguson LR. Kiwifruit promotes laxation in the elderly. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2002;11:164-8. (Pre-trial)
14. Rush EC, Patel M, Plank LD, Ferguson LR. Kiwifruit promotes laxation in the elderly. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2002;11:164-8. (Main-trial)