A good breakfast should set you up for the day, keep you going until lunch without the need for a mid-morning snack. One of the great revelations for new converts to low-carb eating is disappearance of hunger pangs between meals.
A lot of research indicates that a high protein breakfast is the key to satiety and can help you lose weight as part of a low-calorie diet [see our piece Calorie Counting vs Meal Timing] That means basing breakfast around eggs, meat and fish and if you tolerate dairy, cheese and cream. For variety a small amount of fruit and lower-carb nuts such as almonds, hazels and macadamias can be useful.
Whilst good old eggs and bacon might seem like too much trouble first thing in the morning, once you get your kitchen organised it is far from a hardship, opening up many delicious morning meal opportunities. The suggestions below take only a few minutes to prepare. Give them a go and see what a difference they make to your morning energy levels. Enjoy!
#1 Almond pancake (takes 5 minutes)
This is a one of the favourites in our house – quick, tasty and sustaining. It complements a tall glass of breakfast coffee so well.
Melt coconut oil, butter or ghee in a small frying pan. In a bowl beat together two eggs and one tablespoon of ground almonds. Pour into the medium-hot frying pan and cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Turn with a spatula once the surface is sufficiently set to safely turn – then watch it rise!
Serve with cow, goat or coconut cream, or natural yogurt and a handful of blueberries, or a little honey or maple syrup. Our daughter adds cocoa powder to the batter, and melts a chunk of 80% cocoa solids chocolate on the top.
#2 Seafood (2 minutes prep)
Crayfish tails, prawns and rollmop herrings can be purchased pre-prepared and have a long shelf life so can sit in the fridge ready for action. The roll mops we use come in an onion and dill marinade – a bit sweet* but tasty and nutritious.
Simply dish out and eat. A dollop of mayo goes well with this, and I recommend making your own with good quality cold pressed oils or the brand called ‘Mellow Yellow’ which uses only cold pressed rapeseed oil, which, in this uncooked condiment, is not harmful or too high in omega 6 fatty acids.
(*If you are on an especially low-sugar diet soak the roll mop herring overnight in fresh water, discarding it next day)
Variation: Try smoked salmon, mackerel, crab or cockles. They are all excellent choices.
#3 Boiled egg and keto bread soldiers (5 minutes – if you’ve already made the bread!)
A traditional English favourite, now possible on a low carb, gluten free or ketogenic diet. Note: it is compulsory to serve this with with a nice cup of tea.
If you don’t know how to boil an egg, please google it. The recipe for keto-bread can be found here. My patients have reported great results with this recipe.
Variation: If you can’t be doing with the keto-loaf, try dipping cooked asparagus in the yolk. Alternatively, simply mash two boiled eggs in a bowl with butter and a little salt and pepper and eat them straight.
#4 Cold meat, cheese and pickles (3 minutes prep)
Cold meats often have a distinctive flavour all of their own and can make a great breakfast in a jiffy. Its always a good idea to cook a large enough joint (or bird) so there are leftovers for another day or two, alternatively you can buy ham or cold meats from the deli.
- Cold beef, (try chicken breast or cured meats like tongue too)
- A chunk of cheese (cow, sheep or goat for variety or dietary constraint)
- A dollop of home-made very-low-sugar chutney (or sauerkraut or coleslaw)
- Pickled mixed vegetables and celery (apple slices or fresh fig is good too)
#5 Bacon cheesies with shiitake mushrooms (10 minutes prep)
A different way to cook your bacon.
Preheat the oven (150 deg C). Place strips of bacon on a lightly oiled baking tray. Cut thin slices of cheese and lay on top of the bacon. Bake for about six minutes, until cheese is golden brown. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and fry in ghee. When the bacon cheesies are done, remove them and let the cheese cool a bit. Use a fish slice to transfer them to the plate.
For variety: Read our review of exotic mushrooms here.
#6 Pancetta and tomato omelette (10 minutes prep)
Omelettes are so versatile. If you have not mastered them, now is the time!
In this omelette I used Waitrose deli counter pancetta which has a delicious spice/herb rub. I ask for it sliced very fine, and it comes out almost transparent. It cooks so well and so fast.
Here’s the basic method in four steps:
#7 Yoghurt + cream + berries + nuts (3 minutes prep)
Remember muesli? That dead bowl of blood-sugar-spiking, cardboard flavoured grains and dried fruit that we used to think was the very basis of healthy eating in the 1990’s? Well here is the low-carb grain-free update – alive and kicking with probiotics, fresh with succulent berries.
I mix live organic sheep’s yoghurt 50/50 with goat’s double cream to make it more sustaining (both from Waitrose only). Add some nuts – walnuts, pecans, sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts are all good. Keep it to just a few berries so you don’t spike the blood sugar – my favourites are cherries, blackberries, raspberries, black or red currants, strawberries, gooseberries, tayberries – whatever’s in season in my garden 🙂
If you find this breakfast doesn’t keep you going till lunch time, try upping the protein by using cream cheese, or add more double cream.
#8 Grilled pork loin steak (10 minutes prep)
Instead of bacon why not try a pork loin steak? Cooked in a frying pan with just a little ghee or lard on a medium-low heat, give it two to three minutes on each side until the juices runs clear. Meanwhile grill half a tomato and a couple of mushrooms on the other side of the pan. Absolutely delicious even without seasoning.
For more about pork as part of a healthy diet read our in-depth article ‘Pork – tradition and nutrition’. For a nutritional comparison of fresh pork (chop) v processed pork (bacon) take a look at Loren Cordain’s post here.
#9 Go to work an egg – or three! (10 – 15 minutes prep)
You can’t beat eggs for breakfast. A versatile powerhouse of nutrition. Guaranteed to quell mid-morning munchies. I’ve already shown them boiled and as an omelette. Here are two more ways to enjoy them…
(Serves three) Chop mushrooms small and fry in a large pan in ghee, lard or dripping. Crack 9 medium eggs into a bowl and pour into the pan. Immediately use a spatula to push the yolks into groups of three – carefully so as not to break them. Sprinkle with piri-piri seasoning (above) or some fresh herbs or seasonings of your choice. Serve with bacon, sausages, or simply as they come.
I know what you are thinking: “Wow, how come those yolks look so amazing?” – simple – they came from ducks – and, as sure as eggs is eggs, duck eggs look and taste just great! We duck-and-hen-sit for our neighbours and the reward is eggs.
Lardons, garlic and sheep’s Wensleydale make this scrambled egg extra delicious. Chopped bacon and tomatoes in this instance provide a hearty accompaniment but scramble eggs is great on buttered keto bread or almond/hazel loaf too.
Be creative! Anchovies? Smoked salmon? Avocado slices?
#10 Variations on the Full-English (15 minutes prep)
Making a low-carb grain-free fry up is easy, but with no toast, hash-browns, or black pudding (which often has oats, wheat or rice) a bit of creativity may be called for…
So lets start with the good news – sausages!
Gluten-free sausage can be found – like these chipolatas. Both Sainsbury’s and Tesco sells grain free sausages now, but check the ingredients of each product/flavour, as some in a particular range might have rice in, while others do not. We always cook an excess and keep the left overs in the fridge where they make a quick snack or lunch addition. Cook them at lowish temperatures to reduces spitting fat and protect the them from oxidation.
Variations: Try deep fried halloumi (if avoiding cow’s milk, but are ok with goats or sheep dairy, always closely check the halloumi options), gluten free burgers, pancetta, fried onions and lardons, herb rubbed fried tomatoes, wedges of cheesy almond pancake (see idea #1 – but add grated cheese, salt and pepper to the mix – which is great in a lunch box, cold as a savoury bread substitute by the way)
I hope these are enough to keep you going for now!
And if you only time in the morning for a cup of coffee before dashing out the door I suggest you add a couple of tablespoons of double cream to it, and that will see you through most of the morning too. The even more impressive version of this is coffee with butter and/or coconut oil stirred in, a la Tibet, which has been updated by the Bulletproof executive here.
Hooray for breakfast!
(All photos in this article were of real family breakfasts taken in our kitchen)