Thursday, March 28, 2013

Breakfast Ideas, Avoiding Cereals & Other Nutrient-Poor Foods

My post last week about Cheerios' future at Whole Foods (because of impending labeling by the store of foods containing genetically-engineered ingredients) prompted a reader, Kelly, to ask for breakfast ideas other than expensive cereals, most of which are of dubious nutritional value. Kelly added two caveats: "1) It's got to be fast - I've starving when I wake up. 2) It's got to feed egg-hating toddlers."

With minimal advance preparation—and more importantly, if we stop thinking breakfast means nutritionless (and, I would argue, dangerous) refined carbohydrates (cereals, bagels, muffins, energy bars, etc.) that have been hypermarketed as the way to start the day—the possibilities are endless.

To start, consider these options, based on . . . real food:
  • Fresh fruit (whole or cut), a chunk of cheese, a chunk of whole grain bread.
  • Nuts, dried fruit and a chunk of cheese.
  • Oatmeal (make it yourself!) with any of an array of toppings.
  • Yogurt (plain!) with any of an array of toppings (dried fruit, nuts, rolled oats, cinnamon, maple syrup).
  • Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread.
  • Avocado with sunflower seeds or nuts sprinkled on top.
  • Quinoa with chopped tomatoes, avocado and olive oil.
 Sure, the above ideas sound peculiar in the context of today's processed food environment, but consuming refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, etc.) that convert to sugar in our bodies and throw our internal insulin-regulating systems out of whack sounds bizarre to anyone not influenced by the junk food companies' modern marketing machine.


oliviadog said...

Egg hating toddler? Wow, my 3 year old loves eggs so much, she will even eat them mixed with fresh (cooked)baby spinach.

Anyway, great ideas here.Except for smoked salmon, I never considered fish in the morning.

Kelly said...

My toddlers...I know, right? I keep hoping they will someday see the light. Thank you Rob, these are good ideas!

Susan said...

I love these ideas! I often find myself eating sweet foods for breakfast (granted, often these sweets are things like oranges and oatmeal with brown sugar), and I'd like to keep moving away from them as much as I can. It's reassuring to see many of my favorite breakfast ideas in your list, though--one of the best breakfasts I ever had was a cheese sandwich on multigrain bread.

Anonymous said...

In season I cook fruit (ex blueberries) with just a little water and then freeze in 1 cup freezer jars. Let thaw in the fridge overnight and spoon onto greek yogurt or oatmeal etc. for breakfast. The beauty of not adding any other ingredients while cooking gives me the flexibility to embellish the taste after thawing so I have options for using them. Besides blueberries, I have used strawberries with rhubarb, although I do add a little sweetener to that combo. Also kiwi and strawberries. Great way to salvage expensive fruit that may have gotten a little past its prime.

Chef Rob said...

Anonymous - Great idea about freezing the fruit. Thanks!

Chef Rob said...

Kelly - My pleasure and I'll come up with more soon in another post.

WaterLily said...

Is it good to cook quinoa overnight and reheat it the next morning?

Chef Rob said...


Cooking and then reheating is perfectly fine.