Healthy breakfast ideas when you're on a special diet

Having one food intolerance can make finding a healthy brekky a little more challenging, but having two or more food groups to avoid can really limit your options.

We’re recently had some questions about a combination of; dairy, gluten, and fructose intolerances along with a condition known as “diverticular disease”.
I’ve put together some easy brekky ideas for those trying to piece the special diet puzzle together.

Diverticular disease

Put simply, diverticular disease is when small defects in the muscles of the large intestines or colon wall cause small pouches to form. We know that populations who eat a low-fibre diet have higher incidences of diverticular disease. We also know that once diagnosed with diverticular disease, a high-fibre diet is recommended to reduce the chance of inflammation and infection of the pouches.  

 High-fibre brekky ideas:

  1. Porridge with milk - sweeten with chopped dates instead of honey for added fibre.
  2. Homemade baked beans on wholemeal toast.
  3. Wholemeal fruit bread topped with low-fat ricotta.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk, yogurt and cheese. If you can’t eat dairy, it’s important that you’re still including calcium in your diet. Ensure that the alternative milks and yogurts you choose are ‘calcium fortified’. Some people can tolerate smaller amounts of lactose so my advice is to learn your ‘threshold’.

Lactose-free brekky ideas:

  1. Breakfast smoothie with your favourite fruits. Try replacing milk with silken tofu (don’t knock it until you try it), this gives a great creamy texture and a hit of protein to replace traditional milk.
  2. Wholegrain breakfast wrap - for a sweet wrap try banana, peanut butter and a sprinkle of crunchy muesli. For something savory try scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes & spinach leaves.
  3. Overnight oats made with lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified almond milk.

Coeliac disease

People with coeliac disease have to eliminate gluten and be careful about cross contamination. We’re talking separate toasters and chopping boards. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Naturally gluten-free foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meats, eggs, nuts and legumes and milk.

Gluten-free brekky ideas:

  1. Spinach, feta, tomato omelette with gluten free toast (optional).
  2. Banana brown rice pudding made with milk and topped with cinnamon and a little honey.
  3. Zucchini & corn fritters made with brown rice flour or almond meal. Serve with smashed avocado and tomato and onion salsa.

Fructose intolerance

Fructose malabsorption means that the body does not digest or absorb fructose properly. Because of this, fructose in the gut ferments, and the side effects of this includes bloating, pain, gas and diarrhea. People have different degrees of tolerance to fructose. Most people with fructose malabsorption have problems with concentrated sources of fructose like high fructose corn syrup (used to make confectionery) and honey rather than moderate amounts of fruit.

Low-fructose brekky ideas:

  1. Frittata made with baby spinach leaves, mushrooms, tomatoes and sweet potato. Freeze in batches for quick breakfasts on the run.
  2. Plain Greek yoghurt with frozen berries and almonds
  3. Wholegrain toast with a poached egg and smashed avocado
sweet potato has browns with egg


Lactose intolerant with diverticular disease?

  1. Porridge or overnight oats made with lactose-free milk topped with cinnamon, LSA (a mix of linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds) and ½ banana. People with diverticular disease tend to avoid nuts and seeds so LSA (which you can buy the health food section of many supermarkets) is a good way of getting some healthy fats in your diet.
  2. Wholemeal bread topped with scrambled egg, avocado and sliced tomato.
  3. Frittata made with plenty of veggies.

Fructose and lactose intolerance?

  1. Overnight oats or fresh porridge made with lactose-free milk or calcium fortified almond milk. Note: Avoid adding honey and watch your portion of fruit and use lower fructose fruit such as berries or kiwi fruit.
  2. Wholegrain English muffin with a poached egg, sliced tomato and avocado.
  3. Wholegrain cereal with lactose free milk and fresh berries

Coeliac with lactose and fructose intolerance?

  1. Egg omelette served with gluten free toast. Mix it up with some great fillings including: shredded turkey, salmon, baby spinach leaves and tomato.
  2. Zucchini fritters made with brown rice flour or almond meal. Tip: use garlic infused olive oil instead of fresh garlic. You could also try shredded sweet potato and other veggies like corn, carrot and basil to make a homemade hash brown.
  3. Brown rice pudding made with cinnamon, calcium fortified almond milk and a little peanut butter. Avoid the honey and top with some low fructose fruit like sliced pear.

Disclaimer: Food intolerances can be very complicated, and people who self-diagnose or self-manage potentially put themselves at risk of deficiencies. This usually occurs because people cut foods out, without replacing the nutrients that these foods offer. See a dietitian to address your specific requirements, and to make sure your body is getting everything it needs.


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