A Greek nutritionist who has followed the Mediterranean diet her whole life shares her 5 breakfast staples

Elena Paravantes, Greek dietician, with her recipe for baked spinach, feta and eggs

Paravantes recommends savory breakfasts like spinach, feta and baked eggs.Elena Paravantes

  • Elena Paravantes has been following the Mediterranean diet since she was a child in Greece.

  • She recommended starting the day with a light but tasty breakfast to keep you going until lunchtime.

  • Paravantes has shared his five favorite Mediterranean breakfasts.

Elena Paravantes grew up following the Mediterranean diet in Greece and is now a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in it. She previously told Insider the top nine mistakes people make when dieting and she also shared her favorite breakfasts.

The Mediterranean diet has been named the healthiest way to eat by US News & World Report for six consecutive years, with research suggesting it has benefits including improving heart health, the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels, promoting brain health and longevity, and potentially delaying the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

Focusing on healthier food choices rather than restricting calories, the diet features plenty of vegetables, legumes and olive oil, and minimal amounts of processed foods and red meat.

Generally in the Mediterranean diet, breakfasts are savory and not a huge meal, according to Paravantes. He recommended salty breakfasts, because they don’t cause blood sugar spikes that sugary breakfasts can cause energy crashes.

Here are Paravantes’ favorite breakfasts, find the complete recipes on his website.

Bread with tomato

Pan con tomate, which translates to bread with tomato, is a classic Spanish dish that can be eaten with any meal and even as part of tapas. It’s easy to do: just grate the tomato and put it on top of wholemeal bread. You can also add garlic, olive oil, and onion for flavor and maximize nutrients.

Pan con tomate on a wooden cutting board with bowls of tomato, salt and olive oil

Bread with tomato.Elena Paravantes

Paravantes said, “Good fats and veggies will help reduce your sugar intake, plus they’ll keep you full and your blood sugar levels balanced.”

Greens contain fiber, which moves through your digestive system slowly and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Feta

This breakfast consists of spinach, feta and eggs, cooked with olive oil and seasoning. Paravantes said this is a great breakfast for long, busy days because it provides three servings of vegetables in one meal and satisfies you with the protein in the eggs and feta cheese.

It’s also a great source of fiber, iron and vitamin C, because it contains a healthy serving of spinach, from which the fat in the olive oil helps the body absorb nutrients, she said.

Baked spinach, feta and egg

Baked spinach, feta and egg.Elena Paravantes

Toast with tahini and feta

“This quick and easy breakfast is filling and delicious,” Paravantes said. To prepare this breakfast, spread tahini, which is basically sesame seed butter, on toast and top with pine nuts and some feta cheese.

She recommended using whole-wheat bread, which is high in fiber and linked to a lower risk of heart disease. All together, this toast is packed with protein, good fats, and fiber.

Tahini, feta and pine nuts on whole-wheat toast.

Tahini, feta and pine nuts on whole-wheat toast.Elena Paravantes

Greek yogurt with honey, nuts and dried fruit

If you can’t resist the temptation of a sweet breakfast, Paravantes recommends the classic Mediterranean breakfast of Greek yogurt topped with fruit and nuts.

Greek yogurt is healthier than other types of yogurt because it contains more protein, vitamins and minerals. And adding fruit will help you reach your five a day, while nuts are rich in omega-3s, which promotes heart health.

Bulgarian wheat oatmeal

Oatmeal is also a classic Mediterranean breakfast, but if you want to change that up, Paravantes said try bulgur wheat or barley, which are great sources of fiber so they’ll help keep you feeling full until lunch.

She recommended adding raisins and almonds, with a drizzle of honey on top.

Read the original Insider article

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