More proof of the importance of breakfast and a recipe for shakshuka


If you’re a breakfast skipper and struggling to eat better through the day, science has just provided more evidence  as to the connection. British researchers  found that there is more brain activation in response to high-calorie items when a person has skipped breakfast, compared with when a person has had their morning meal.

I’ve just returned from Israel where every morning we enjoyed the country’s typical hotel breakfast: an amazing array of  delicious dairy products (lower fat cheeses like I have never tasted before),  all kinds of salads from beet and goat cheese to the standard Israeli salad of diced tomatoes and cucumbers, luscious fruits and whole grain breads along with a variety of local specialties such as an egg dish called shakshuka .

The problem after eating such a feast at breakfast is that we weren’t able to partake of many of the food finds we came across through the day at various markets and such.  It was indeed a tough job to have an appetite to eat – even if we tried to get in as much activity as possible.

Needless to say, I agree with the British study wholeheartedly – not that I didn’t before my trip.

Here’s a breakfast to help you on the road to enlightened eating – especially if you’re not a breakfast eater. It’s an Israeli specialty that elevates eggs to irresistible fare. This shakshuka is  an adaptation from chef Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus Restaurant in Jerusalem.


Serves 2

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups diced plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 – 4 eggs
Fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat; add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Add red pepper and continue to sauté another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cumin; stir to mix. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Add the eggs and continue to cook, covered,  until the eggs are set, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately with herbs, if desired.


Nutrition information per serving:
• Calories: 217
• Protein: 12 grams
• Fat: 12 grams
• Saturated fat: 3 grams
• Carbohydrate: 19 grams
• Dietary fibre: 4 grams
• Sodium: 120 milligrams

Are you a breakfast eater? If not, what are your reasons? Please share in the comments section below.

Tags: , ,

Categories: Recipes, Research Roundup

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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2 Comments on “More proof of the importance of breakfast and a recipe for shakshuka”

  1. Barb raven
    October 27, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I take a thyroid medication when I wake up. Can’t eat for an hour & by then, I’m out of the house. Sometimes take a bar with me, but usually don’t eat until lunch.

    • October 27, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Barb, thanks for bringing the issue up! It is a common problem that I see in my nutrition counselling practice. Together, we usually spend some time figuring out if there is another time to take the medication. For example, some people have to urinate during the night. I then suggest keeping a glass of water and the meds beside the bed and to take it then. Other people wake up and lie in bed for a bit before getting up. For them, I suggest taking it immediately when they wake up and then by the time they are finished getting ready to leave the house, the hour has passed.

      Look for such a window either early in the morning or during the night so that you can become a breakfast eater. If that doesn’t work, pack a breakfast like lower fat cheese, crackers and fruit and eat it after the hour is up.

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