I don’t know exactly when it happened, but Australians have become complete and utter brunch obsessives.
Making the pilgrimage to a local cafe to scoff down baked eggs, smashed avo, pancakes or bircher museli — chased with an artfully-poured latte, naturally — has become something of a national sport.
This is all well and good, but as with any meal it’s easy to overdo things.
Here, seven accredited practicing dietitians share what they typically order from the menu when they're out for brunch, and why.
Director and principal dietitian at Hearty Nutrition
Joel sees brunch as an opportunity to get some protein, low GI carbs, heart-healthy fats and fibre onto his plate.
"I'm a sucker for smashed avocado on whole grain toast with poached eggs, and if I'm really hungry I'll include a side of smoked salmon for an extra boost of protein and omega 3s. It ticks all the nutritional boxes," he explains.
Ah yes, the infamous smashed avo. Within a matter of months, it's gone from 'beloved brunch dish' to 'singular cause of millennials not being able to afford homes' (or so we keep hearing. Sigh).
Tarnished reputation aside, Joel says there's still plenty to love: "Bernard Salt may not be a fan of the price tag, but from a nutritional standpoint it gets this dietitian's nod of approval."
Listen: Are you living a lavish life of daily brunches? No WONDER you can’t buy a house. (Post continues.)
Dietitian and personal trainer at Life Personal Trainers, Adelaide
For Tanya, brunch is primarily a holiday thing — often after she's had a hotel gym workout or a good long walk to find the best local cafe. First order of business is a piccolo latte, then a good plate of effs.
"My top picks would be baked eggs with three eggs, feta and plenty of fresh herbs, or a vegan breakfast plus eggs," she says, adding that a slice of thick-cut quality toast never goes astray.
"I find the mix of protein from eggs and carbs from the bread keeps me full for a long time."
When adding a side of baked beans, Tanya advises confirming whether they're 'house beans'. "It irks me to pay $4 for a small side of canned beans that don't really go with everything else," she adds.
Closer to home, Tanya will opt for "poached eggs with avocado on sourdough or a muesli, fruit and yoghurt combo - I love a good muesli full of nuts, seeds and a mix of grains."
What Julie orders is dependent on how hungry she is, whether she's exercised beforehand, and the time of day. She also has Coeliac Disease, so cafes with gluten-free options are a must.
"One of my favourite brunch options is a good Acai bowl — not too icey, lots of fresh fruit and guten-free granola on top. You can’t beat it," she says.
Coming into the chillier months, as we are right now, Julie's all about the hot brunch.
"My favourite hot brunch option is smoked salmon, poached eggs, baby spinach and mushrooms, either with a nice pesto or balsamic dressing," she says.
Founder and dietitian, Bites for Health
"I love going out for brunch with friends, it's a great way to catch up, and given all the amazing cafes at the moment it always involves good food," Caitlin says. Amen to that.
Rather than sticking to a particular dish, she sticks to a principle.
"I try to order food I would (or couldn't) cook at home. I try to look at the menu and work out what I really feel like at that moment," Caitlin says.
"I also think about how hungry I am; if I'm not hungry I may order a smaller meal, or not get a drink as well."
Founding director, The Biting Truth
"I always go for a brunch option that includes a source of protein, usually either eggs or legumes like chickpeas. This way I’ll leave brunch feeling satisfied until my next meal," Alexandra says.
That's wise — and there are plenty of dishes that hit the mark.
"I look for a wholegrain carbohydrate, whether it’s rye bread or quinoa and of course a couple of veggies on the side - my favourites at the moment are spinach, mushroom and avocado," she adds.
"A squeeze of lemon on the spinach helps the body to absorb the iron from the plant and tastes delicious, too." (Post continues after gallery.)
Founding director, The Biting Truth
For Anna, brunch is a chance to order something she wouldn't necessarily make for herself at home.
"One of my brunch favourites is Shakshuka. This is a typical Middle Eastern dish that basically consists of eggs baked in a spicy stew - it often contains legumes too," she explains.
"Eggs are nutritional powerhouses packed with heaps of good stuff like: protein, vitamin B12, iodine and vitamin A.
"I love sneaking in extra veggies at breakfast, and the combination of flavours in this dish is so tasty."
Founder and director, Nourishing Bubs
Olivia is a big brunch fan, and loves that it's practically the only meal where both sweet and savoury options are available.
That said, she usually opts for the latter when she's at a cafe — so she knows exactly what she's getting and what's going into it. You can't sneak sugar into a poached egg, after all.
"Sweet options, be it a porridge/bircher/pancakes/brekkie trifles, open you up to a whole range of hidden ingredients and often these are of the refined variety, eg. refined sugars and highly processed oils," Olivia explains.
"My go to option usually includes poached eggs and some kind of wholegrain carbs in the form of a couple of slices of soy and linseed toast, quinoa felafels, or a bed of quinoa."
Adding cooked veggies, like vitamin D-rich mushrooms, and good fats in the form of avocado is also a good idea.
"If I am particularly hungry I will also often have smoked salmon, an all time favourite, packed with omega 3," Olivia adds.
"The balance of carbs, protein and good fats really fill me up and keep me satisfied until dinner, which is just what I want out of brunch."
What's your go-to brunch dish?