How to enjoy brunch without overindulging
By Emma Stubbs
As written in my ‘How do you enjoy being you’ blurb, I am often out with friends, engaging in the wonderful combination of both eating and talking about food. I will shamelessly say that a majority of the time I am brunching. Breakfast is my religion, and Melbourne cafes are without a doubt full supporting this life choice.
Anyone with access to Instagram will know that breakfast has come a long way since eggs anyway on two slices of toast. We now have every French toast combination under the sun and you can start your Sunday with some chorizo, smashed peas & feta on sourdough or chilli scrambled eggs. There are acai berry smoothie bowls, lavender yoghurt custard, and then there is that famous blueberry & ricotta hotcake. There is so much happening on the breakfast menus in Melbourne that you almost silly ordering a simple slice of sourdough with PB or poached eggs on toast.
However as a dietitian equipped with a natural ready reckoner in my head, I can quickly estimate the energy intake on a plate. Before you know it those two slices of café size sourdough slices topped with 2 poached eggs, half of an avocado and a rasher or two of bacon is adding up more than your usual porridge with fruit. Add on the small skinny latte, plus the second one because you and your BFFL shad so much to talk about, and you’re well on your way to meeting your energy requirements before the clock strikes midday.
So, how can we enjoy this fabulous mealtime and not overdo it in the nutrition stakes?
I’ve put together a list of a few simple, yet still delicious, changes you can make:
· Downsize your latte, switch to almond milk for a lighter calorie intake, or skip the latte and opt for a herbal tea or black coffee instead
· Choose protein rich options – think eggs (poached are the leanest), smoked salmon, and ricotta (if tolerated)
· Bulk up your meal with vegetable sides to help keep you full e.g. roast tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, mixed salad, sautéed or steamed greens.
· Share those delicious French toasts and hotcakes - they may be gluten free, grain free, or raw/vegan, but they're still energy dense and can easily add up, especially with all those toppings and extras!
· Eat before you drink - don’t feel pressured to order a milk-based coffee straight away and fill up before your food comes. Try having some water first, then your meal, then finish off with your coffee or tea.
· If brunch is a few hours after rising, have a high protein snack such as greek yoghurt if tolerated, or a small handful of nuts prior so you don’t go crazy and order a quarter of the menu.
· Skip the afternoon snack, or go light at dinner. Because brunch tends to be around mid-morning, you're often too full for a proper lunch, or after lunch, you're about to pop. Brunch requires you to really listen to your body. If you eat a bigger brunch, avoid following scheduled meal times, i.e. eating only because its 'that time to eat', and pay attention to your bodies needs. Eat when you're hungry again, and focus on how much you really need, not more.
· Schedule an exercise date with your brunch buddy. (A walk around the Tan and brunch at Top Paddock sounds like a pretty good Saturday morning to me) - Just make sure you exercise first because exercising post brunch won't be pleasant! Plus you'll prime your body for utilising the nutrients you'll eat, rather than storing much of them as fat for later use. Working out beforehand isn't an excuse to overdo your meal though!
· Ask for sauces such as hollandaise on the side because that way you can control the amount you use. Some people feel uncomfortable asking for changes to their dishes, but this is a common request and an easy enough task to do for the chef, so don't feel bad for asking! Just use what you need, without ingesting what you don't.
· Keep in mind that smoothies often contain many wonderful ingredients and can have the energy density of a meal. Decide if you want a smoothie or a meal. Don't have both unless you've really worked up your appetite with a hard training sessions before hand and need the extra energy!
And most importantly, be mindful. Savour the flavour, and take notice of the different textures. Enjoy the company of your friends, appreciate that people will line up (in rain, hail or shine) for a great brunch, and get lost in the aroma of freshly ground coffee. Listen to your appetite, and remember if you’re feeling satisfied, it’s okay to put down the knife and fork.
Have I missed any of your brunch tips? Let us know your favourite brunch tips in the comments below!