A Greek nutritionist who has followed the Mediterranean diet all her life shares her 5 go-to breakfasts

A composite of a bowl of baked spinach, feta and egg next to a headshot of smiling Elena Paravantes.

Paravantes recommended savory breakfasts like this spinach, feta, and egg bake.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 savory breakfast to keep you going until lunch.

  • Paravantes shared her five favorite Mediterranean breakfasts.

Elena Paravantes grew up eating the Mediterranean diet in Greece and is now a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in it. She previously told Insider about nine mistakes people make when following the diet and also shared her favorite breakfasts.

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

The diet focuses on healthier food choices rather than restricting calories and features lots of vegetables, legumes, and olive oil with minimal amounts of processed foods and red meat.

The Mediterranean diet generally features savory breakfasts with smaller portions, Paravantes said. She recommended savory breakfasts because she said they wouldn’t cause blood-sugar spikes — which can cause energy crashes — like sugary breakfasts.

Here are Paravantes’ favorite breakfasts — you can find the full recipes on their website.

Pan con tomato

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

Pan with tomatoes on a wooden chopping board with bowls of tomatoes, salt and olive oil

Pan con tomato.Elena Paravantes

“The good fats and vegetables will help you reduce your sugar intake, plus it will keep you full and your blood sugar levels balanced,” Paravantes said.

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

Baked eggs with spinach and feta

This breakfast consists of spinach, feta and egg baked with olive oil and seasoning. Paravantes said that this was a great breakfast for long and busy days because it provided three servings of vegetables in one meal and that was also filling because of the protein in the eggs and feta.

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

A bowl of baked spinach, feta and eggs on a wooden chopping board.

Baked spinach, feta, and eggs.Elena Paravantes

Tahini and feta toast

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

She recommended using whole-grain bread, which contains lots of fiber and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. This toast is rich in protein, good fats and fiber.

Two slices of whole-grain toast that have been topped with tahini, feta and pine nuts.

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

Greek yogurt with honey, walnuts and dried fruit

If you can’t resist the urge for 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 helps you reach your five a day, while walnuts are rich in omega-3, which promotes heart health.

Bulgar wheat oatmeal

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

She recommended adding raisins and almonds with a drizzle of honey over the top.

Read the original article on Insider

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