Fresh Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast is one of those things people seem to love or hate. Personally I absolutely love everything about breakfast…morning is my favorite time of day, breakfast food is my favorite meal (sometimes we even have it for dinner!), and I can’t wait to get out of bed and start the breakfast ritual. But yeah, lots of people don’t have time, don’t like the options, or don’t want to eat anything…I can roll with that. Here are some ideas that might help you fall in love with breakfast….
Your brain LOVES breakfast!
Ever stop and look at the word breakfast? It’s made of the words “break” and “fast” because it does just that….it’s the meal that breaks the overnight fast which is one reason why it’s claimed to be the most important meal of the day. The brain runs on glucose so it needs blood sugar to think, process, and concentrate. In the morning, after a 10+ hour fast, blood glucose levels are depleted so we need to replenish by eating a healthy brain-boosting breakfast!
The Rule of 3 for a balanced breakfast
There are lots of options for breakfast, MANY of which are loaded with sugar and lacking essential nutrients to fuel us for the first half of the day. Here’s what every breakfast should contain…
lots of protein
Repeat after me “fat-fiber-protein”. Without one of those essential macros you’ll be starving before 10am. These three work together for maximum vitamin and mineral absorption, energy, and cellular functioning. Check your go-to breakfast to be sure you’ve got all three.
Eggs any style!
Avocado for healthy fat
Wholegrain cereal: quinoa, millet, buckwheat, whole oats
Yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh fruit and nuts/seeds
Roasted, steamed, or sautéed vegetables
PREP AHEAD FOR Grab-and-go BREAKFASTS:
SMORGASBORD BOX: Similar to that fancy coffee shop that offers overpriced “protein boxes” you can make your own! Hard boil some eggs ahead of time and divide a couple into to-go containers. Add some healthy fat (nuts, olives, or cheese) and fiber (veggie sticks and fresh fruit).
YOGURT PARFAIT: Assemble the night before so you can grab on your way. Choose plain, non-fat yogurt (or cottage cheese!) and add nuts/seeds and fresh fruit.
SMOOTHIE: You can prep all the ingredients and freeze in single-portion bags/containers so you can just grab, add liquid, and buzz up in the morning. Here’s a list of ideas and recipes from a previous blog article.
OVERNIGHT OATS: You can prep to-go containers for several days ahead. Just add fresh fruit and nuts/seeds in the morning and take with you. Each serving should have 1/2 C. rolled oats, 1 C. plant-based milk, 1 T. ground flax seeds. Add a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, and/or allspice if you like. Don’t forget to sprinkle in some nuts or seeds and fresh fruit for a complete breakfast. You can also top with some plain non-fat yogurt or stir in some protein powder for an added boost.
FRITTATA: Make a frittata on Sunday and enjoy a wedge for breakfast each morning all week. These are super simple to make once you give it a try. A cast iron skillet works best but you can also use a baking dish or pie plate. Beat 8 eggs plus 1/3C plant-based milk. Lightly sauté some veggies (diced peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, or zucchini) and add to the eggs. Add additional veggies (spinach, kale, diced tomatoes, or scallions). Add a LITTLE bit of cheese (shredded cheddar or Monterey or crumbled goats or feta). Add some herbs/spices (rosemary, thyme, dill, s&p, smoked paprika, or chili powder). You can also add healthy sausage, beans, or salmon for added protein. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until set in the middle. Cool. Cut into 6 wedges. Pair with a slice of wholegrain toast and fruit for a complete breakfast. Play around with combos you love like: black bean, Monterey, spinach, peppers, and smoked paprika or mushroom, asparagus, thyme, and goats cheese. Here are some recipes to get you started.
IF YOU HAVE 15 MIN IN THE MORNING:
WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL: You don’t have to stick to oatmeal, there are lots of amazing grains out there! Quinoa for instance, can be a delicious breakfast cereal (not just for salads!). Also buckwheat groats, millet, and even brown rice. Cook is usual and add plant-based milk, fruit, spices, nuts/seeds.
WHOLE GRAIN TOAST: Be sure to choose one that has at least 3 g fiber per slice (my go-to bread is Ezekiel in the orange bag in the freezer section). Toast up two slices and top with nut butter, avocado, or eggs.
EGG SCRAMBLE: Scramble up a couple eggs and add a handful of spinach and/or other veggies. Pair with toast and fruit and you’ve got it made! You can also roll it up in a wrap and take with you.
TOFU SCRAMBLE: Break up a 1/4 container of tofu in a skillet, add veggies, herbs/spices. You can also add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for added flavor, protein, and B-vitamins. Pair with toast and fruit or throw it in a wrap!
DISLIKE TRADITIONAL BREAKFAST FOOD?
Who says breakfast has to include toast and eggs? Here are some non-breakfast foods that will kick-start your day…
NUT BUTTER SANDWICH: Choose whole grain bread and pair with an apple or banana.
LEFTOVERS: Enjoy leftover chicken and rice with some veggies, or whatever other healthy dinner you had the night before.
WRAP or SALAD: Be sure add-ins include the Big 3: fiber, fat, protein! Chicken, hummus, tuna, or beans with veggies, fruit, nuts/seeds, avocado, or a little cheese are all good options.
FISH: Many Asian cultures enjoy fish with steamed rice and veggies for their first meal of the day.
SOUP: If you enjoy hot food that’s easy to digest, choose left over soup or stew.
The following popular options are almost always lacking in one of the essential macros (fiber, fat, protein) and often contains shocking amounts of sugar….all of which will leave you feeling famished by 10am.
Cereal bars, granola bars, toaster pastries
White bread toast
Baked goods: bagels, coffee cake, danish, donuts, muffins, scones
Pancakes and waffles
Low-fiber and/or high-sugar cereals
Fried foods or greasy diner grub
Most breakfast meats
Smoothies from a shop
Chocolate anything…chocolate is not a breakfast food! :)