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A savoury choice for breakfast

If you’ve never had a shakshuka before Catherine Burns says you should give her recipe a try

When I was little I was so sugar-addicted I used to steal loose change from my dad’s coat pockets to buy sweets at the corner shop.

Sorry, dad! (Don’t worry, I have confessed and apologised many times over.) I used to buy as much as I could but then share it with my friends to make me feel better about eating something that wasn’t good for me. I know I know, everything in moderation, but I was a sugar fiend and had all the symptoms of sugar highs and lows: bad skin, poor concentration, unbalanced hormones, fatigue … the list went on!

My actions were a classic example of a common problem though – encouraging others to join in with poor nutrition choices. In clinic, this often presents as “partner sabotage” where one partner routinely throws another off track to make themselves feel better about their own choices. This isn’t meant as a criticism, more an observation on the complexities of human behaviour that make healthy eating fairly difficult to sustain!

Nutrifit (our six-week optimum nutrition programme) gets consistently great results, but it’s especially effective when couples (or friendship/workplace groups) take part together. If those within your immediate environment are on the same path with you, it makes it so much easier to stay on track. We often have groups of friends baking and sharing healthy recipes, plus workplaces that rethink their office catering and snack policies. Supportive surroundings are such a bonus when it comes to positive, sustained, lifestyle choices.

Recently I was asked for recommendations for a cooked weekend breakfast that felt like a treat, but was secretly healthy. The request came while we were brainstorming more savoury breakfasts. Starting the morning with sugary cereal, jam on toast, honey-sweetened oatmeal or a fruit-packed smoothie sets your taste buds up for sweet expectations for the rest of the day.

Conversely, eating something savoury makes it easier to avoid sugar later on. The thing is, that people often get stuck when it comes to hot breakfasts that are actually healthy. The traditional bacon and eggs is often a saturated fat-ridden disaster!

So what can you have instead? Eggs are a great place to start – but choose scrambled, poached or boiled instead of fried. If you make an omelette, pack it with veggies and skip the cheese – choosing a little avocado on the side for better fats if you wish.

Savoury oatmeal is now becoming a thing (we have an amazing option at The Cloud) and I’ll share a recipe for that in the coming weeks. But you could also try smoked salmon with sweet potato and zucchini rösti (I’ll share the recipe for that on social media today – so good)! I’ll also give you a savoury option when we talk healthy pancakes for next week (with Shrove Tuesday incoming).

For now, when it comes to eggs, this is one of my absolute favourites. If you’ve never had a shakshuka before, you should definitely give this a try. The tomato sauce is rich, spicy and an amazing source of the prostate-protecting antioxidant, lycopene (also good for your eyes and heart, ladies). It takes a little time to make this so it’s perfect for a lazy weekend when you have a more gentle start to the day. Enjoy!

Healthy Shakshuka (serves 2)


1 tbsp light olive oil

1 red onion, cut into thin wedges

1 red pepper, seeds removed, finely sliced

1 yellow pepper, seeds removed, finely sliced

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed (optional)

1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

14oz can cherry or chopped tomatoes

Large handful fresh baby spinach

4 medium eggs

1/2 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped (replace with basil if you hate coriander!)


1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and peppers and sauté over a medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until the veg softens.

2. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika and sauté for 1 minute more.

3. Add the tomatoes, spinach and 100ml water. Heat until the spinach has wilted, then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Season to taste.

4. Next, make four indentations in the tomato mixture and carefully crack an egg into each one. Cover with a lid or foil and cook over a gentle heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the eggs are just set.

5. Uncover, scatter with the fresh herbs and serve.

• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published February 10, 2023 at 8:04 am (Updated February 10, 2023 at 8:04 am)

A savoury choice for breakfast

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