Sometimes it can feel like a struggle to get through winter, especially when the post-Christmas blues take hold. Starting your day with a filling, nutritious breakfast can help. Eating a good breakfast has been found to help combat weight gain and reduced energy levels – both things we might feel susceptible to during January and February. Studies have also found that skipping breakfast can impair your cognitive function, making you feel foggy and less sharp.
Here we share some warming winter breakfast ideas, whether you're looking for a healthy way to start the day or a weekend winter brunch treat.
Baked spiced apple oatmeal
If you struggle to function before you’ve had your morning fix of coffee and can’t face cooking first thing in the morning this make-ahead spiced oatmeal with apples is a good option. It can keep for several days in the fridge and can easily be reheated in the microwave. This recipe has added seeds to give it a protein boost, and clocks in at 15g protein per serving. What’s more, apples are a great source of flavonoids, which are found to help lower cholesterol.
Recipe: Baked spiced apple oatmeal
Blackberry compote with quinoa porridge
If you want to try a different kind of porridge quinoa, which are edible seeds from the quinoa plant (a member of the amaranth family), can make a good alternative to oats. Quinoa is usually cooked in water when used as part of a savoury meal, but by cooking in milk and serving with yoghurt and a sweet blackberry compote easily made by cooking the fruit with honey and lemon.
Recipe: Blackberry compote and quinoa porridge
Cranberry and orange breakfast muffins
These gluten-free muffins can be enjoyed year round, but the gentle cinnamon flavor and the orange and cranberries particularly lend themselves to winter dining, since oranges are at their best this time of year and cranberries and cinnamon are so ubiquitous around the festive period.
Recipe: Cranberry and orange breakfast muffins
Date and walnut porridge
This porridge recipe is made without milk, so it’s a good option if you’re dairy intolerant or just running low on milk. The oats are cooked with chopped dates and walnuts to give them their flavor and sweetness, and you can serve with a chopped banana to make it more filling.
Recipe: Date and walnut porridge
Dried fruit compote and yoghurt
If you have ended up a surplus of dried fruit after Christmas you can turn raisins, sultanas, apricots, prunes and other dried fruit into this tasty slightly spiced compote to serve with yoghurt or porridge. You could even add a little brandy if you want to make it extra special.
Recipe: Dried fruit compote
Winter porridge with turmeric
It might seem like a strange mixture, but if you prefer a more savoury taste to fruity or sweet porridge recipes this winter porridge with turmeric, ginger and cinnamon makes a nice change. There are countless studies into the many health benefits of turmeric, and this is a great way to get it into your diet early in the day.
Recipe: Winter porridge with turmeric
Scottish potato scones
It’s bangers and mash season, and chances are you might sometimes end up with some leftover mashed potato. Combine with flour, baking powder and seasoning to create these easy potato scones which can be part of a traditional Scottish fry-up, or served with fried egg and baked beans for a vegetarian breakfast.
Recipe: Scottish potato scones
Shakshuka may be more likely to conjure up warm, dusty images of North Africa and the Middle East but the dish, which literally translates as ‘a mixture’, is almost a breakfast stew. Shakshuka consists of sweet, slightly spiced vegetables gently stewed in tomatoes, with eggs poached in the mixture and served while the yolks are still soft and velvety, spilling out into the tomato stew when. Delightful. If you’re trying to watch the cholesterol or don’t eat eggs you can swap the poached eggs for tofu scramble.
Sweet potato hash with fried eggs
This hash uses sweet potatoes, which have higher amounts of vitamin A and are lower on the glycemic index than regular white potatoes. This hash recipe also has the addition of chilli and chorizo to start the day with a little kick.
Recipe: Sweet potato hash with fried eggs
Toffee apple porridge
There’s no denying that from a health perspective porridge is one of the best ways to start the day. Eating 3g or more oats a day can help lower your cholesterol, and the oats release their energy slowly thanks to their complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, so you’ll be less likely to reach for the biscuits before lunch. Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring though, and this porridge recipe has a bit of a Bonfire Night theme with its decadent topping of caramelised apples and pecans.
Recipe: Toffee apple porridge
Tropical coconut milk porridge
If you’re looking for a breakfast to cheer up dark, rainy mornings and daydream about days in the sun and foreign holidays you could do a lot worse than this tropical take on porridge. The oats are cooked in a mixture of coconut milk and a little golden syrup, and it’s finished off with tropical mango, passion fruit and pomegranate.
Recipe: Tropical coconut milk porridge
Huevos rancheros, or ‘rancher’s eggs’, is a dish that originated on Mexican farms and spread out around the world, with many variations created along the way to suit different palates and lifestyles. The primary ingredient is ranch-style eggs and, much like shakshuka and menemen, served with a tomato sauce. This recipe uses diced potatoes instead of corn flour tortillas to give it a bit of a hash twist, but it still gets plenty of Mexican flair from the coriander, chilli and paprika. It’s a great way to start the day and makes a delicious weekend brunch.
Recipe: Huevos rancheros
Bacon, egg and spinach cups
These eggs baked with cheese and spinach in little cups made from a rasher of bacon inside a muffin tray make a good alternative to a full English fry-up, and they’re less greasy and heavy too. If you’re trying to eat more healthily but desperately wanting a fry-up they could help stave off those cravings.
Recipe: Bacon, egg and spinach cups