The latest breakfast trend has a celebrity following but is also loved by nutritionists
Tired of your regular slice of toast for brekkie? Sooo over your baked oats? Never fear, for there is a new, hip morning meal that’s making the headlines. Salad. Yep, you read that right. A pile of green leaves that, to be honest, is more often than not on the boring side of the culinary scale. On Instagram the hashtag #breakfastsalad has 25,000 posts and counting. Meanwhile, on TikTok, singer Lizzo's vegan seitan and tofu breakfast salad is exceeding 80k views. The singer went into Hugo's restaurant "and I saw something on the menu called a breakfast salad," she says. "I like that type of shit!" for that matter.
Of course, we’re used to munching down on a salad for lunch or dinner, but why are we suddenly having to rethink it as our first meal of the day?
It is perhaps unsurprising that this is a trend that has its roots (or should that be 'shoots'), in the celebrity world. In a recent interview with US magazine, People, the singer John Legend revealed he eats a salad he describes as “leafy with a little vinaigrette” every meal, including his breakfast. He was advised by his doctor to increase the number of antioxidants in his diet and green leaves are a great way of achieving that.
Then when actress and reality star of The Hills, Lo Bosworth took to her Instagram account to see how many of her followers loved tucking into breakfast salads as much as she did, the trend was cemented.
However, you know a trend has really made it when it trickles down into the real world. And a quick type of 'breakfast salad' on any social media platform results in an avalanche of recipes to copy, restaurants suggestions to try them and Instagram pics of people eating them.
We spoke with nutritionist and weight loss expert, Kim Pearson to get her opinion on why we should all be jumping on the breakfast salad bandwagon.
Breakfast salads: why they’re good, how to make them and what to avoid
Why are breakfast salads a good idea?
"Many of us have quite a narrow view of what we consider ‘breakfast foods’. But as a nutritionist, I don’t recommend starting the day with toast and jam or your typical cereal. Breakfasts high in sugar or based on high glycaemic carbohydrates (which break down quickly into simple sugars) lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which is soon followed by a drop. When this blood sugar dip occurs, it is likely to result in craving more surgery snacks and feeling hungry well before lunchtime.
"A salad based on whole foods (i.e not processed food) can be a rich source of vital vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. When structured in the right way it can fill us up and keep us satisfied until lunch. And salad can taste great too, I promise!"
Summer + breakfast salads = perfect time to start
"If you’re considering swapping to a salad for breakfast, there’s never been a better time. The time of year lends itself perfectly to a fresh start to the day. My clinic specialises in weight loss and this is the busiest time of year for us with enquiries from people looking to lose weight. If you’re keen to lose weight heading into summer, opting for a breakfast of salad will absolutely support your endeavours."
How to make a breakfast salad
"There is far more to a good salad than lettuce, cucumber and tomato. A nutritionally balanced, satisfying salad requires three essential components: protein, healthy fat and fibre. If these come from whole foods your salad should be naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants."
Sources of protein include:
• Fish - smoked salmon is a great breakfast option
• Organic meat
• Pulses such as beans, chickpeas and lentils
Healthy fats can be found in:
• olive and avocado oil
• unroasted nuts
For your fibre try:
• roasted Mediterranean vegetables
How to dress your breakfast salad
"Many shop bought salad dressings are highly processed and full of undesirable additives. If you’re buying your dressing, be sure to scrutinise the label and make sure the ingredients are ones you recognise. I’m a fan of Dr Will’s dressings. Their Miso Tahini Dressing works especially well on an Asian style slaw. Or if you’re after a creamier option, try their Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. If you prefer a more DIY approach, find a glass jar and shake together good quality olive oil with vinegar or lemon juice."
Don’t forget toppings
"A crunchy topping adds another dimension to your salad. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds are all great options. Or you can make croutons from leftover rye or sourdough bread. Cut the bread into crouton-sized chunks, lay them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and bake in the oven at 180C/160C fan for 8-10 mins or until golden. Chopped fresh herbs like basil, mint and parsley are another flavoursome choice of topping.
"Chopped fresh herbs like basil, mint and parsley are another flavoursome choice of topping."
Try these breakfast salad swaps
"Want to give breakfast salads a go? Here are some tips from to make the transition as smooth as possible
If you normally have toast, try…
A salad with crunch. Topping your salad with seeds or croutons made from rye bread adds a satisfying crunchiness.
If you normally have a fruity breakfast, try…
Adding fruit to your salad. Sliced strawberries or pomegranate seeds work particularly well.
If you normally have eggs and avocado on toast, try…
Eggs and avocado on a spinach and tomato salad. Eggs are a great source of protein and can be boiled in advance. If you’re used to eggs on toast and not ready to fully transition, consider adding a salad on the side. A few halved cherry tomatoes combined with rocket leaves and dressed in olive oil works well.
If you normally have peanut butter, try…
An Asian slaw with a peanut dressing.
If you normally have a grab and go breakfast, try…
A salad-filled summer roll. These are great made the night before as the rice paper wrap will help keep your salad fresh."
5 breakfast salads to try
1. Watermelon, strawberries and spinach breakfast salad
2. Blueberries, sweet potato, boiled eggs, walnuts, grains and avocado breakfast salad
3. Pear, cheese and lettuce breakfast salad
4. Broccoli, banana, apple and egg breakfast salad
5. Salmon, pepper, tomato and egg breakfast salad
Kim Pearson is a qualified nutritionist and runs a weight loss clinic on London’s Harley Street. Kim and her team consult clients in London and internationally via her virtual clinic. For more information about the weight loss solutions Kim offers, visit kim-pearson.com .