As a nutrition + hormone health coach, one of my top tips to my female clients is to eat a nutrient-dense breakfast within an hour or so of waking.
Doing so helps to keep stress hormone cortisol in check (which is typically highest in the morning) as well as stabilize your blood sugar and hunger hormones, equating to more satisfaction, energy and focus, and less cravings, energy crashes and caffeine/sugar dependence throughout the day.
Not only that, but when your breakfast contains high quality protein, healthy fats and fiber (aka the macronutrients that are the building blocks of our hormones) our hormones use this “fuel” to carry out their jobs effectively, ultimately leading to a fired up metabolism, better sleep, and healthier period and menstrual cycle.
So yeah, breakfast is a pretty big deal, and if you need healthy and simple recipes then you KNOW I got you covered, especially with this gut-healthy papaya boat.
Not only is it super easy and delicious (and kind of makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vaca) but it’s packed with hormone-balancing and gut-boosting ingredients to help you look and feel your very best.
Snag the details and recipe below.
The star of the show, papaya is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, as well as a unique digestive enzyme called papain, which can make protein easier to digest. Because of this, papaya has been used for centuries in the tropics to naturally remedy digestive issues like IBS, constipation and bloat (and scientific studies in the US back this up).
Greek yogurt contains probiotics that work to restore beneficial gut bacteria (and the health of your gut is directly related to your hormone health).
I am literally obsessed with chia seeds, which are loaded with soluble fiber that act as a prebiotic, working to feed your healthy gut flora. Plus their ability to expand with a liquid and create a creamy pudding is magic.
Berries are rich in fiber and polyphenols (powerful plant compounds) that work to reduce gut inflammation.
Topping your papaya boat with nuts and seeds such as chopped pistachios, almonds, pecans, walnuts or hemp and pumpkin seeds adds a boost of prebiotic fiber and polyphenols which have been shown to have beneficial effects on gut microbiota.
While there’s no shortage of delicious and nutritions papaya boat topping options, I love sprinkling on a bit of bee pollen (loaded with enzymes that help us digest our food), cacao nibs (rich in probiotic cultures) and raw honey (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and rich in prebiotics).
To make this recipe dairy-free, make sure to opt for the chia pudding filling (which uses coconut milk) instead of the greek yogurt filling.
To make this papaya boat paleo-friendly, make sure to opt for the chia filling instead of the greek yogurt filling.
To make vegan, be sure to use the chia filling and leave out the bee pollen and raw honey (or swap for a little bit of maple syrup).
While both the greek yogurt (13 g per 1/2 cup) and chia pudding (5g per 1/2 cup) are naturally rich in protein, you could also opt for full-fat cottage cheese (12g per 1/2 cup). You can also top your papaya boat with chopped nuts and seeds or nut/seed butter for an additional protein boost.
Using a full-fat, unsweetened greek yogurt ensures you’re avoiding any refined sugars that can disrupt gut health and maximizing the nutrient-density (which means more of those macro and micronutrients your hormones need to thrive). I love this brand.
I love making my chia pudding filling with coconut milk (so creamy!) but try to steer clear of brands that contain guar gum a common ingredient that can increase intestinal inflammation and symptoms such as gas, bloating, etc. This is my favorite guar-gum free brand.
Toppings are an amazing way to up both the flavor and nutrient-density of a papaya boat (or anything for that matter, lol) but I always encourage to stay clear of those that contain lots of sneaky added sugars (such as store-bought granola, cereal, dried fruit, etc.) which can spike blood sugar and disrupt gut bacteria.
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This simple + delicious papaya boat recipe sneaks in tons of gut-healthy ingredients & is the next best thing to a tropical vacation.
Author: Lauren Chambers
Recipe Type: breakfast, dessert, snack
For the chia pudding filling, if making:
For the papaya boat:
For the optional toppings:
*I usually eat 1/2 of the papaya per serving and save the other half in an airtight glass container in the fridge to use the next morning.
**The chia pudding filling typically makes 3-4 servings, so I also store in an airtight glass jar in the fridge to use throughout the week for breakfasts, snacks, etc.
***I especially love this breakfast during my follicular/ovulatory phase when our bodies crave lighter and fresher foods filled with nutrients and fiber to help promote healthy digestion and keep bowels moving to eliminate excess estrogen.
I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.