Breakfast used to be one of my least favorite meals of the day. Growing up, I thought all breakfast-related foods tasted the same, and since I already had an aversion to sauces (or anything drippy), I usually chose the average bowl of cereal for my morning meal. Eventually I expanded my repertoire to include omelets (and even spent the entire summer before college perfecting them as a midnight snack). Pancakes and waffles soon followed, and now the only breakfast item I still can’t manage is biscuits and gravy.
Even though I’ve opened up my breakfast palette, there are still certain options that always work best for me. I don’t like to spend too much time cooking in the morning (especially when there’s sleep to be had), so I try to stick with what’s fast and easy. Here are a few of my favorite real food breakfasts:
Fruit and Yogurt
My tried-and-true pick, it really doesn’t get easier than combining berries and yogurt in a bowl. It’s also a great way to work some fermented probiotics into your diet. The best option is to make your own yogurt, but until I get a yogurt maker I’m relegated to the store-bought stuff (I tried making some without a yogurt maker but it was not a success). Stoneyfield Farms makes great organic cream top whole milk yogurt–these days, it’s hard to find yogurt that isn’t made from skim or fat-free milk.
I usually just buy a pint of whatever berries are on sale or in season and use them to top yogurt throughout the week. Right now I’ve been enjoying blueberries (and the antioxidants that come with them). I’ll often add some granola to the mix as well. This is a great on-the-go option: just put your yogurt and berries/granola in a small resealable container and take it with you to work or school. It’s much more affordable (and healthier) than the pre-packaged yogurts (which are typically full of sugar and loads of crazy ingredients).
Spinach and Egg Scramble
On days when I have a little more time to cook, I like to do an egg scramble. I put some butter in my skillet and add a handful of spinach to it while I whisk together three eggs (with a dash of raw milk to make the eggs nice and frothy). Once the spinach is cooked down, I add the eggs, along with any other veggies (chopped scallions, peppers, and tomatoes are all great additions). I use my wooden spoon to scramble everything, and top it off with a good crumble of goat cheese.
While this dish is really easy to make, it does take a bit of forethought to remember to soak the oatmeal. This is a good Sunday morning breakfast because I’m more likely to get it ready during the weekend. There are tons of great soaked oatmeal recipes out there, but my favorite is the one below from Lyndsay at Passionate Homemaking:
1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 1/2 cups water (to just cover the oat)
1 Tbsp acid medium (kefir, whey, or yogurt)
1/8 cup ground whole wheat flour (this helps break down the phytates more quickly)
1-2 Tbsp ground almonds or other nuts, optional
Other toppings: ground flax seed, pumpkin seeds, chopped apples, raisins, shredded coconut flakes
1. I soak my oatmeal in a glass quart size jar. I fill it with the oats and just cover slightly with fresh filtered water. But you can use any various container.
2. Add your acid medium, and nuts, as desired. Soaking the nuts helps to break down their unique phytates as well.
3. Cover with lid and shake to combine. Easy! Takes a matter of 3-4 minutes to get those oats soaking away. Put in a cupboard and allow to soak.
Ideally, it is best to soak oats for 24 hours, because they have the highest level of phytates. Oftentimes that doesn’t happen at our house, but I try to at least get it soaking the night before to get a good 12 hours in.
After soaking, heat up an additional 1 1/4 cups of water. After it boils, add the soaked oats, and any additional toppings you desire. We love chopped apples, raisins and shredded coconut. Turn down temperature to a simmer, and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and top with ground flax seeds, if desired. Serve with butter, honey and fresh milk for a wonderful nutritious breakfast!
These are just a couple of ideas, but there are many other great breakfast options out there. There’s no excuse for skipping this important meal–or eating empty junk that will start your day with a slump!