Growing up, my mom always said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and she insisted I eat scrambled eggs and toast every morning. Although it’s now up for debate how important breakfast really is, I believe as a cardiologist and nutritionist that having a morning meal is good for your health. The catch is, you need to be mindful of WHAT you eat. Eating the wrong things can be worse than not eating at all.
What makes for a healthy breakfast? The key is selecting foods that deliver enough nutritional value to get you going and keep you feeling full, but without making your blood sugar soar. To do this, you just need to make sure what you’re eating has lots of fiber, healthy fat and protein, and isn’t full sugars, unhealthy fats and processed ingredients. This healthy egg sandwich hits all the marks, which is why it is one of my breakfast favorites!
Is bread a healthy breakfast food?
You might be wondering, why bread? I know many people have banned bread from their kitchens, but with bread it doesn’t have to be all or nothing – you can enjoy certain breads in moderation as part of a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
Not all breads are created equal. Bread that is stripped of nutrients and loaded with unhealthy, quickly digested carbs is not a healthy breakfast food. But whole grain bread that contains protein, fiber and nutrients, and that is free of added sugar and unhealthy fats is OK in my book.
Portions and pairings matter too. Whenever you’re consuming a carbohydrate like bread, pasta, or potatoes, you want to limit the amount you eat in one sitting, to keep your insulin from spiking. Opt for smaller slices of sandwich bread when you can, or limit yourself to one slice. Pairing bread with healthy fats like avocados and olive oil, as well as proteins like eggs or salmon also helps keep insulin levels at bay.
Lets take a look at what makes this egg breakfast sandwich a healthy one:
Organic eggs: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: eggs are the perfect food. They provide healthy protein, lots of important vitamins and minerals, and choline, a vitamin-like nutrient your body needs to produce cell membranes. I like buying organic eggs, or local free-range eggs that I know have been produced without the use of antibiotics, GMO feed, pesticides, or other toxins I just don’t want in my body.
Avocados: Packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, these rich green fruits pack an array of vitamins and antioxidants – including vitamins A, E, C, and K, glutathione, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium. Plus they’re also good sources of fiber. A win-win to keep you nourished and satiated for hours.
Jalapeño-Garlic Olive Oil: For so many reasons, olive oil is one of my favorite superfoods…healthy for the heart and whole body, I try to include extra virgin or cold-pressed flavored olive oils in my meals as much as possible. Though it’s only added here to lend flavor, every little bit helps!
Whole-grain bread: When you’re shopping for a hearty, whole grain bread, look for the highest amount of fiber and protein you can find per serving or slice, as well as higher vitamin and mineral content. Some breads made with seeds actually bring omega-3s to the table too. Go organic with bread when possible because conventionally grown wheat may come with pesticide residues. Remember, whole grain bread still has a lot of carbs, so moderation is the name of the game when it comes to a healthy breakfast sandwich.
Healthy Egg Breakfast Avocado Sandwich Recipe
- 4 organic eggs
- 4 thin slices of whole-grain bread
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 large or 2 small avocados
- 1-2 tsp jalapeño-garlic flavored olive oil
- natural salt, to taste
Slice the avocado(s) in half and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh out into a small bowl and discard the pit. Mash the avocado with a fork and add a few grinds of salt and the jalapeno-garlic olive oil, to taste. Fry the eggs in butter over medium heat, and toast the bread slices. Slather the mashed avocado mixture over each slice of toast, then top with a fried egg. Serves 2 as an open-faced sandwich.
And if starting your day with a dash of jalapeño-garlic olive oil is a bit too “zippy,” I’ve got 8 other flavors of cold-pressed flavored olive oil you can experiment with at Vervana. Is citrus is more your style in the morning? Try a bright, sunny lemon oil or a fragrant blood orange one instead. For a more herbaceous flavor, try a basil oil, and if you want a real pick-me-up, there’s blazing hot habanero – sure to wake up your senses!
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