"Toasts" have been trending all over social media and now all of the major brunch spots and cafes now often feature their own type of toast variety. It seemed to all start with the avocado toast but has exploded into every type of flavour profile you can imagine.
As beautiful as they are (making them great for capturing on camera and posting to your Instagram page) and as easy as they appear to be to throw together, are these types of 'meals' actually filling enough for a meal?
The best answer I can give is... It depends.
While you can make a lovely "toast" featuring a house-baked white sourdough spread with a rich and tasty nut butter and sprinkled with fruit and toasted coconut flakes, chances of you being full for long after that meal are very slim.
However, if your toast featured a good dose of filling protein, some healthy fats and a more robust carbohydrate source, it may just be filling enough to keep you buzzing along until your next meal.
So how does one create a nice balanced toast that is still just as easy to make and tasty as those you see above? Let's break them down shall we?
1. The base.
Toast. That's pretty straight forward, right?
Perhaps it's not as straight forward, if your goal is to be full. While the standard white bread is an easy option, its not the best for your main goal for a few reasons:
1. No fibre
2. No protein
3. Little to no nutrients
So, instead, lets opt for a seedy and grainy bread that is packed with both fibre and protein and offers us not only a great crunch and flavour, but also lots of vitamins and minerals.
Here is a great example that I like to offer to my clients
This bread is fantastic not only because it's a high quality and nutritious bread, but also because it's still fluffy and tastes great! Each slice is packed with:
- 5 grams of fibre
-6 grams of protein
With all of the goodness stuffed into this bread, it makes for a great vessel for all of your toppings!
The second part of our 'toast' is what we chose to layer with. Our choices here can also very much affect whether or not our meal will last us 30 minutes or 3 hours. Here are some tips:
-Ensure you have a good protein source. In addition to the toast itself, having a protein as a topping can ensure you are getting a more hearty meal to keep you going for hours. Some options to try could include cottage cheese, smoked salmon, eggs, tofu scrambles, hummus and Greek yogurt spreads.
-Chose a healthy fat. Fats help with the satisfaction of our meals and 'toasts' are no different. If you want to go sweet, nuts and seeds are great choices, whether whole or in nut butter form, coconut butter or sweet cheeses. If you are more of a savoury person, a salty cheese is always a fun and punchy flavour or go with the crowd pleasing avocado as your base. Keep in mind that our protein sources can also provide us with a source of fats, such as those found in eggs, salmon and meats.
-Have a crunch. Although crunch and texture is not always going to contribute to a feeling of fullness, it does help with our enjoyment factor. We like to have foods that don't have all of the same texture so include seeds, nuts, coconut, cacao nibs and other healthy crunchy toppers to ensure your toast is not all one note on the palate.
-Make them fun! A continuation of the last point, part of being satisfied is also about being full from a psychological standpoint and often food that is exciting is also one that can help satiate better. Play with your flavours and textures so that your taste-buds are stimulated enough as well.
Need some "toast" inspiration? Bring on the ideas!
Here is the OG (original) of the 'toast' world: The Avocado Toast
The creamy avocado gives you a healthy fat and a runny egg gives you a richness and a bit of protein. This one is a classic and can keep you full for hours!
*Protein booster: Try adding turkey bacon for a bit more lean protein and a touch of salt.
Hummus and Eggs
Go plant-based with a fibre and protein packed hummus spread as your base and a nice runny egg as the star on top. The richness of the egg makes something so simple feel so sophisticated.
Cottage Cheese & Blueberries
Sweet doesn't always have to mean that is overly sugary and will lead to energy crashes. This toast uses protein packed cottage cheese to help with filling you up, while the blueberries and touch of honey hits the sweet spot. The pepitas give a nice crunch and a dose of healthy fats.
*Be mindful on the amount of honey/maple syrup you use, as it is a very fast digesting carbohydrate and a very dense source of calories. As another option, try adding maple or vanilla extract to the cottage cheese OR mashing the berries into it.
Smoked Salmon with Quark/Greek Yogurt and Herbs
Smoked salmon is a great way to boost your daily intake of health Omega-3 fatty acids and protein while making this meal feel fancy as well. Quark is a European staple for a boost of protein and a less tart taste then standard plain yogurt. Here in Canada it can be found in some select health food stores, but you can easily substitute Greek yogurt with a bit of lemon juice if you can't get your hands on some.
Love your peanut butter toast but want more protein? Try mixing your peanut butter with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and putting that on your toast. With that, you've increased your toast's staying power with a a powerful punch of protein.
Can't eat bread?
What about our gluten-free friends out there? Well, there are some gluten free breads but if you're not a fan or they still don't agree with you (many of them have lots of fillers/gums), try sweet potato slices as your 'toast.' Naturally sweet, filled with fibre and vitamin A and just a fun new way to look at the orange spud.
Lauren from Nutrition Starring You gives you an easy foolproof way of making a variety of fun sweet potato toasts. Just click the image below.
Even if you're not gluten free, give the sweet potato toasts a try!
I don't know about you, but all of these 'toast' creations are making my mind spin! What would be your top pick? Any game-changing combos that I missed? Let me know in the comments.