Fit foodie - Derval O'Rourke: Delicious food to make getting up in the morning easier

This week’s recipes will have you jumping out of bed in the morning.

Fit foodie - Derval O'Rourke: Delicious food to make getting up in the morning easier

While the idea of doing the same thing day in day out may not sound uber exciting, having a good morning routine can set you up for a great day. Some of the most successful people in the world have their morning routine down to a fine art, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

As a professional athlete you learn to do mornings really well and even though I’ve hung up my spikes I still stick to the same routines.

Here are my top tips:

Eat breakfast:

This is one of the first habits I tell anyone looking to live a healthier lifestyle to adopt. For me, breakfast is non negotiable and regularly starting the day with a nourishing breakfast is a cornerstone of my day.

Make it a balanced breakfast to include:

  • Wholegrain carbo- hydrates, like porridge oats.
  • Protein — Milk, yoghurt and eggs are a fab source.
  • Fruit and vegetables — Try adding berries to oaty breakfast and spinach to eggs
  • Healthy fats — Try adding nut butter to oats or avocado to toast.

Pack your gym bag the night before and put it in the car:

My gym bag essentials include

  • A bottle for water — ideally Bisphenol-free (synthetic compound)
  • Snacks
  • My runners
  • My training diary


If you are a coffee fiend like myself and live for your morning coffee, take a moment pre-coffee to drink a glass of water.

Pop your coffee in a travel mug and drink it en-route to work or wherever you are heading.

Don’t log in until you get to the office:

I force myself to ignore my mobile phone before I start work for the day, then I look at social media and emails.


My kitchen has a new hero and it is called the KeepCup.

Its mission is to encourage the use of reusable cups and I consider it one of the small things I can do to reduce my waste and carbon footprint. It’s a bonus that it looks cool. Join the #reuserevolution on instagram @KeepCup or look them up on

Eggy Breakfast Muffins

These baked egg muffins are so simple to make and are super versatile so feel free to play around with adding your own ingredient twists.

They are perfect for preparing in advance. They make a great grab-and-go breakfast option on busy mornings. These work really well as a quick post workout snack or to help beat the 3pm slump. For a balanced dinner, why not serve them with a side salad and some home-made sweet potato wedges.

I like to line the base of the muffin tray with the parma ham for an extra crunch.

These muffins are rich in protein and the fat soluble vitamins A and D from the eggs. They provide a good dose of greens from the spinach. They are guaranteed to keep you powering through all morning.

Prep time: 5mins

Cook time: 15mins

Makes/ Serves: 12 muffins

1 handful spinach, wilted

6 eggs, beaten

50 ml milk

1 handful basil, roughly chopped

80g feta, crumbled

6 slices parma ham, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 180C.

In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, basil, feta and parma ham.

Add the wilted spinach to the egg mixture.

Grease the muffin tray with a little butter.

Pour the mixture into individual muffin trays.

Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire try before serving.

Mixed Berry Chia Jam

I am the very proud mum to a super two-year-old daughter called Dafne. One of her favourite foods is jam. She will happily eat jam and smear it all over her face and clothes. Recently I set about making a jam that I felt was healthier than the traditional version. I didn’t want to load it with sugar but I still wanted it to taste good enough that my daughter would want to eat it. I played around with a few different ways to do it and came up with this recipe.

The two key ingredients are:

1. Berries which are packed full of antioxidants to help keep our body healthy and vitamin C to boost our immune system plus they count as one of your five a day.

2. Chia seeds, which are little nutritional powerhouses as they are packed with a host of vitamins and minerals.

They are rich in fibre, protein and healthy omega 3 fats too. These are a great ingredient to keep in your cupboard. A little pricey but I think the benefits make them worth the spend.

This is delicious spread on oatcakes or used as a dip for apple slices. You could use it to liven up some plain yoghurt or sweeten up your porridge too.

At the moment having a slice of sourdough toast with this spread on top is a real afternoon slump pick me up.

Thankfully it passed the Dafne test and she has happily demanded lots of ‘Dam’ on her toast.

Prep time: 1min

Cook time: 15mins

Makes: 1 large jar of jam

300g mixed frozen berries

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp water

2 tbsp honey

Place all the ingredients in a pot.

Heat over a medium heat for 15 minutes, until the berries have broken down and the mixture has become thickened.

You will need to stir this occasionally so don’t go too far from it!

Leave to cool and decant to an airtight glass container. I like to use a kilner jar.

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