Rethinking Breakfast

Kefir cheese with a bit of honey and sliced strawberries on sprouted grain toast.

 

For most of my life, my morning routine involved waking to an alarm set to sound well before the the sun had even thought about sending its rays to brighten the black horizon outside my window.  I was ready for work in less than forty minutes and shuffling out the front door with my coffee in hand, satchel thrown over one shoulder and purse over the other.  There was rarely a thought for breakfast of any kind unless I remembered to grab a cup of yogurt I could eat in the car — not the safest decision one can make.

Although I no longer have that routine, the habit of not eating breakfast has stayed with me and I’ve had to work to remember to eat before 9am each day.  I’m rarely hungry first thing in the morning, and once I’ve had coffee, that seems to delay any hunger pangs that remind me to eat.  I get busy with my day and then don’t think about eating until I look at a clock and realize it’s nearly noon.   I’m famished by that time so reach for something with little or no thought.  A portion much too large.  Something — anything with some nice rib-sticking carbs.

Two pieces of toast with butter and maybe some jam or honey for added flavor.  A cup and a half to two cups of cereal.  A piece of left-over cake or pie.  Perhaps another of the muffins I’d baked the day before.  Left-over white rice with warm milk, butter, cinnamon, and sugar.  Lots and lots of carbs.  I will admit the toast was always whole wheat or multi-grain and the cereal the likes of Raisin Bran or Wheaties.  And thankfully there wasn’t always cake or pie sitting around, but I think you get the idea.

Clearly, I needed to make some adjustments with the first being to actually eat breakfast early in the morning instead of at lunchtime.  Next, I needed to make sure there were better options available.  That meant I had to spend more time thinking about what to put in the cart when I was at the market.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  It’s not.  It’s become routine in the last couple of months and I’ve noticed the more I stick with it, the more ideas I get.  Variety seems to be the key for me because I’ll stay interested.  Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll ease back into my old habit of skipping breakfast.

What do you eat breakfast every day?

Rethinking Breakfast

 

Half a banana with chunky peanut butter on sprouted grain toast.

 

Sweet peppers and onions sauteed in a dab of olive oil, two eggs over easy sprinkled with an herby seasoning and some Parmesan.

 

Vanilla Bean Quark with apple slices on sprouted grain toast.

I just bought the quark at the farmers’ market and think I’m in love.  This is flavored with vanilla bean and is heavenly.  I understand it can be homemade…

One cup of blackberries — or any berries — with a cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt.

At first I had to drizzle it with a bit of honey or agave nectar, but not any more.  I mash the berries up and stir it all around before I dig in.

Kale or spinach sauteed with a bit of garlic and red pepper, two eggs over easy with a sprinkle of homemade goat’s cheese.

 

Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie

It changes, but generally it contains two handfuls of ice cubes, a cup of Greek yogurt, a cup of berries, a half banana, a good sprinkle of ground flaxseed, and a few glugs of sparkling flavored mineral water.  The greens aren’t always there.  It depends on what else is in the meal plan for the day.  Sometimes I use an apple instead of the berries.  Occasionally an orange or tangerine.

Curried egg salad with mixed sprouts on sprouted grain toast.

The egg salad is a mix and match of many recipes I’ve tried but is made with kefir cheese instead of mayo.  There are apples in it, pecans, celery, and onions.  Make it ahead and it’s in the fridge ready for breakfast like this, or for lunch wrapped in lettuce.  Delicious!

Breakfast Salad with homegrown salad greens, roasted asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.

Notes:

  • Now I know there are registered dieticians out there who might wag a finger at me, but I think this is a pretty good round up of my breakfast choices on most days.
  • Do I want a donut?  Most of the time, no, because they’re just not my thing.  A hot cinnamon roll, then?  Well, of course.  And I’ll have cinnamon rolls again — just not now.  Mmm…cinnamon rolls.
  • Where’s the muffins?  I have tried a few muffin recipes that are decent and full of good things — like these Zucchini Carrot Muffins, but I’m not quite there with including them at this point.  Soon.  Once a week, maybe.
  • What you don’t see here is the cereal I eat.  It’s usually a multi-grain blend.  I like Kashi cereals quite a bit but have also found that Nature’s Path Organic cereals are really good.  Small bowl, 3/4 cup of cereal, 1% milk (I haven’t quite gotten to the non-fat milk stage even though I like the non-fat yogurt) and half a cup of fruit.  I love oatmeal, but rarely fix it for myself.  When I do, I like it with apples and nuts — and when I’m feeling like a treat, then Irish Porridge is so tasty.
  • I’m not a peanut butter lover, so that particular combo is all about the combination of what is on that slice of toast.  Think body fuel and you’ve got it right.  Peanut butter can have quite a bit of sugar in it, so I do look at labels and measure it — 2 tablespoons is too much for me.
  • Kefir cheese is like cream cheese, but more tangy.  It’s great for your guts even if you’re lactose intolerant and pretty low in calories.  I use it for all kinds of things when I need creaminess — like that curried egg salad up there.  It can be a bit thick, but is easily lightened with a bit of plain yogurt.  It’s great in this Banana Caramel Nut Frozen Yogurt!
  • The smoothies are an acquired taste.  The banana is a sweetener and although I do make them without it, I don’t enjoy it as much.  When I make a batch, I usually get two very large glasses out of it and am always sorry when I’ve reached the bottom of the glass.  I love my smoothies.
  • I’ve tried many brands of Greek yogurt and prefer Fage over all the others.  Plain, zero fat and lots of protein.  Your intestinal tract will thank you.
  • It looks like I eat eggs every day, doesn’t it?  I don’t, but when I do, I always eat two and always try to eat them with some vegetables whether they’re scrambled, poaches, or fried.
  • Speaking of frying — the ScanPan I have requires no fat to fry and isn’t coated with Teflon which can be very unhealthy.  It’s got a ceramic finish instead and works like a dream.
  • I’ve been eating Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread because I’ve been trying to find a good way to get bread back into my diet.  I’ve been looking for and sampling recipes to make at home, and until I find one I like, then this will do.
  • Like the eggs in the egg salad, the asparagus can be made ahead and used when you need it.  I love asparagus with eggs.  A squeeze of fresh lemon over it is a lovely finishing touch.
  • If you’re thinking life is too hectic in the morning to consider any of this, my hubster fixes his own breakfast and packs a lunch and snacks before he heads to work in the morning.  Again, I make sure the right things are in the house for him so it’s easy.  He likes oatmeal or a multi-grain hot cereal in the morning with a bit of milk and uses the microwave to make it.  He eats yogurt, too, but likes the flavored variety.  Sometimes he scrambles a couple of eggs.  Yes, he eats in the car, but hey — he’s not eating junk!
  • If you more ideas for rethinking breakfast, by all means, send them my way!  More and more there’s a fine line between breakfast and lunch, so anything goes.
  • 16 lbs. lost as of today with 19 days to make it 18 which is my goal of 6 lbs. a month, but I’m thinking 20 lbs. is more in order.  I’m only 4 lbs. away.  Can I make it?

28 thoughts on “Rethinking Breakfast

  1. Well, at least you’re clearly thinking about food today – whew! Great post, and wonderful ideas for breakfast, now one of my favorite meals. Like you, I used to grab a slab of mozzarella or a yogurt as I ran out the door with the kids, but now, breakfast is a feast! I really hope you post breakfasts on a regular basis, to help us all jazz up the start to our days. Thanks so much!

  2. It seems all of us food bloggers of a “certain age” are on the same quest – to lose the pounds that have sneaked up on us over the past few years and settle into a healthy lifestyle and eating habits we can live with. I used to have to make myself eat breakfast within 2 hours of waking up, but now am actually hungry and always eat within the first 30 or so. It helped me to delay my coffee until after breakfast, something I know not everyone can do. I’m a serial (yes serial, not cereal) eater and currently am on farm fresh eggs – two over easy every single day (aren’t the nonstick ceramic pans just the best?!), if I’m energetic with some veggies of some sort with them, and then an hour later a slice of my homemade Everything Bagel Irish Soda bread with my coffee. Works for me!

  3. Kelly, I’ve been making steel cut oats in a crock pot overnight (with chopped apple, raisins, cinnamon) and it’s ready first thing in the morning. I use Alton Brown’s recipe. You should try it. I’ve also uncovered an oat bran muffin recipe that’s been getting a lot of play with the whole family. I’ll be posting it soon.

    I love the eggs with lightly sauteed greens and your other breakfast options look great (that egg salad – whoa!). Are you making your own kefir?

  4. I love breakfast now, but it’s definitely something I’ve conditioned myself to do. I think I really love my breakfast ROUTINE which involves blogging and coffee (and peanut butter and jelly on an english muffin). But breakfast really is key to having a good healthy day! so major score to getting yourself to eat it…and doing it so creatively!

  5. That is just WOW oh WOW!
    LOVE the sweet bell pepper idea, that’s my plan for the AM and I’m sticking to it!
    Kale I’m really into these days although mine is usually at lunch.
    Gorgeous breakfast ideas. Many thanks.
    I’ve always been up for breakfast!

  6. I find that my body needs and wants protein first thing (and a cuppa tea). For many years I was doing the same thing—alarm at 5:00 and head out the door with nothing but a Spirutein shake and then coffee and a donut from the teacher’s lounge when I got to work. Now I can go slower with my kids and we tend to go for eggs and ham, or eggs and bacon, then something carb-y and fruity for a snack in between brekkie and lunch. And before we eat our lunch, we all imbibe our big cups of green smoothie, involving all kinds of fruit (almost always bananas to cut the bitter taste of the greens), loads of greens, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, key lime juice, avocado for creaminess and extra vitamins.

    Loved all your creative ideas with the greens and veggies for brekkie–we used to have salad with our special breakfasts at Denny’s when we lived in Japan–that’s just how they do it, and I got to really like it.

  7. I love this post. I have always struggled with breakfast, a meal I could happily skip every day and eat only because I know I should. I tend to eat the same thing every day, so I don’t have to think about it. And, over time, I’ve found that a protein-rich breakfast works best for me.

  8. I always disliked breakfast, only drinking a huge cup of caffelatte but lately I have been feeling that I want to eat something too. So I sort of breakfast nowadays, I just have to get used to the idea of actually preparing it and then I will do it properly! Like you do.

  9. During the week, I always have two slices of Ezekiel bread with butter or jam (but that Kefir cheese looks divine). On the weekends, though, it’s usually a breakfast sandwich out with Dave, frozen waffles (I’m cheap AND easy), or some cold pizza from Friday night. My goal this year? To learn how to make a good, decent poached egg.

    1. You’ve got to try the Kefir cheese — mixing it with a bit of peanutbutter is also nice. Can’t do cold pizza, but my boys all say I don’t know what I’m missing. The poached egg? I’m all over that.

  10. I love all of these ideas and you are so right that it’s important and does help with the weight loss…. I’ve had to get used to eating breakfast too… and now I find I really enjoy it :) great post Kelly!

    1. I think I was there as well and honestly can say switching things up have really helped. The time spent is at the market, not making breakfast, so go for it!

  11. Yes! You CAN make it!!! :-)

    You have inspired me to vary y breakfast routine. I am where you used to be, the type that gets out the door in 45 minutes and eats in the car.

    These days, I’m trying to be better about what I take with me. Most mornings, it’s a green smoothie, with mostly spinach, strawberries and yogurt. :-) it’s only a win if I don’t spill it all over my center console.

    I need to get better abou prioritizing breakfast. You’re helping me do that. Cheers!

    [K]

  12. Yaay, and four more pounds, no worries! I know you can do it.

    I had such an easier time with breakfast when I worked, even though I usually ate egg muffins in the car on the way to work. But I find I feel better and am more likely to stick to what I really want to be eating when I have a good breakfast.

  13. In my case, it was almost a sin to leave the house without having breakfast. A big one that always included a bowl of fruit salad with yogurt, honey and some kind of cereal on top. Eggs served with beans and cheese, tortillas, milk or coffee or both, and a Mexican pastry. Yup, I’m spoiled.

    I love your smoothie. Now I try to only eat a big bowl of fruit salad with honey, amaranth and cheese or a smoothie. Breakfast rules! :)

  14. Such great ideas! I’m trying to lose some of that food blogger weight myself and I know how hard it is. I eat too much cereal (even if it is Kashi with added flaxseed), so I’m trying to switch it up a little. I don’t love yogurt, but I FINALLY found a Greek yogurt even I can enjoy – Wallaby. Add a little maple syrup, berries and my homemade granola and that’s my new breakfast. With coffee of course. Maybe someday I’ll branch out to smoothies.
    Keep up the good work Kelly!

    1. Thanks, Paula — It’s been fun trying different things and after writing this, I realize I’ve left a few out so will have to revisit at some point.

  15. What an inspiring post – I have a question about the smoothies. When you put some green leaves in the smoothies, what greens do you use? I’ve tried a smoothie with spinach and I could hardly ingest it…are there some leaves you can suggest that won’t make me want to gag? :-0

    1. Thanks! Using greens in smoothies is an acquired taste, I think. I use kale, but think spinach is much more mild. If you try kale, then make sure an apple or banana (or both) is used — something sweet. Also, kale begins to get bitter if it’s not used as fresh as possible. Good luck!

  16. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and truthfully I’d rather linger over a nice breakfast than lunch or dinner. I think your ideas for breakfast are great. Back when I could eat I made small egg white omelets with herbs from the garden and put them on a bed of fresh greens, then topped it with salsa and a few chunks of avocado. That was a good breakfast.

  17. Great breakfast round up. I too used to skip breakfast and drink coffee instead. After time that took a toll on my stomach and I quit drinking coffee and started eating breakfast. I tend to eat pretty much the same thing every day. Oatmeal, whole grain toast, tea, fresh oj and 2 giant glasses of water. Boring but I feel better!

  18. You described my morning routine to a T. Why is it that I am never hungry in the morning but my stomach starts rumbling the minute I go to bed?
    These are all great breakfast choices (not a nutritionist here either LOL). Pinning this so I can make them, one by one :)

  19. Great breakfast suggestions – we have very similar tastes, it seems! :)

    My favorite breakfasts are labneh (Middle Eastern strained yogurt – like Greek yogurt) with honey, walnuts and strawberries; soft-boiled eggs and a slice of wholemeal toast; fried eggs sprinkled with zaatar and sumac, on wilted spinach; and the occasional date scone. Only occasional!

    I do miss FAGE… totally agree that it’s the best greek yogurt, but we don’t get it in Australia!

    1. I love labneh and use it for so many things now. It’s been only recently that I’ve begun to experiment with zatar and sumac and I really enjoy the flavor of both — such an easy way to boost flavor.

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