Breakfast can be beyond cereal. Savory breakfasts can be more than satisfying.
A Breakfast Tale of Two People
We thought it would be fun to share our own stories about breakfast - what we used to eat, what we eat currently and why. Amanda, Founder of the Genomic Kitchen grew up in the UK during the 60 and 70s. Era and British culture shaped breakfast during her youth. Bronte, our social media and RD health coach, grew up in the Western United States during the late 90s and early 2000s.
Different eras, however, similar stories around what breakfast consisted of growing up and how it evolved over time.
Yesteryear: Amanda’s Story
I grew up in the UK in the era when women started to hit the workplace and convenience foods were considered not only good for you but all the rage too. My parents were both good at cooking, and a lot of what we ate came from the garden.
Weekday breakfast was usually cold cereal (like Frosty Flakes or Weetabix), a muesli (Alpen), hot cereal like real Scottish porridge or England’s equivalent to oatmeal, Readybrek. So whole milk and cereal, then and out the door. No fruit or nuts added.
Or we had toast with our equivalent of Vegemite, which we call Marmite. I still love this vitamin B rich umami-filled spread today. No PB or J for me - ever! Weekend breakfasts would be hot cooked bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes or - if we had leftover mash potato and cabbage, something called Bubble and Squeak, which we call a hash in America.
Yesteryear: Bronte’s Story
My go-to weekday breakfast growing up consisted of cereal with milk or grabbing a pop tart to eat during the first period. I didn’t have the time nor energy to cook breakfast in high-school, considering that I didn’t get back home from dance practice around 10 or 10:30 pm and class starting at 7:45 the next morning. Weekend breakfast could be a variety of things ranging from pancakes, french toast, biscuits and gravy, eggs with bacon and toast, hash browns, or cereal.
Breakfast was centered more around convenience rather than efficiency. Time was of the essence and there didn’t seem to be enough of it. If you were to tell me that I needed to wake up 30 minutes or an hour earlier to cook a breakfast meal that was both delicious and healthy for me, you could forget it!
I didn’t quite connect the dots that the food I was eating was affecting my attention span, willingness to learn, or even my performance and therefore didn’t pay much attention to the food I was feeding my body.
Breakfast on-the-go even as an adult still seems to be common. Often we are waking up just in time to get ready for work and to drive in traffic to get to the office on time. Cereal tends to be the go-to breakfast item when we are short on time because it is what we grew up eating.
IT’s all too easy to pour milk over a bowl of cereal, toast bread in the toaster, or grab a cereal bar when we’re headed out the door. In this case, our breakfast is accommodating our work. The meal isn’t centered around fueling our biochemistry to work efficiently, but rather our work being the center in how we fuel ourselves.
Biologically and hormonally our bodies are affected by the foods we eat. We can choose to eat foods that cause a spike in blood sugar which promotes fat storage and to gain weight, affects our hormones, contributes to brain fog and feeling fatigued, and increases food cravings. Typically these type of foods is the type of breakfast items we enjoy such as pastries, doughnuts, bagels, cereal, pancakes, or any other sweet breakfast you can think of.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
The opposite is also true. You can choose foods that are surrounded by vegetables, high in fiber, healthy fats and protein, and most importantly bioactives. Think simple savory breakfast recipes! Savory breakfasts can provide fat for energy, promote a healthy weight balance, increase our energy levels, reduce food cravings, help our brain function optimally, and balance our hormones, preventing those snacking pangs. You can choose to boost your innate biochemistry or destroy it.
So instead of grabbing that bowl of cereal or “energy bar” as you run out the door, give one of these savory breakfasts a try instead.
Amanda’s Go-To Breakfasts Today
I don’t like sweet carbs in the morning! As a kid, I loved cereals, but I never loved sweet. Show me waffles or pancakes and I can’t run fast enough. The only way I can do any form of carbs in the morning is Swiss-style muesli or an adapted version of Brandon Brazier’s no-grain cereal.
Sweet breakfast ideas. Not Savory, but not processed cereal! Swiss muesli
Swiss-style muesli means soaking oats (Or other grains like barley flakes, wheat berries) in a full-fat yogurt overnight. Rehydrating the oat-yogurt mix with grated apple and a bit more liquid yogurt. Adding a tad of maple syrup, then adding nuts, seeds, fresh, frozen or may even dry fruit (like raisins). I actually love this from-scratch muesli which I learned to make while living in Switzerland. It fills you up, is rich in protein and also rich in fat from both animals and plants! It is still served in mountain villages and resorts throughout the Alps. Rightfully so as it fuels you.
½ cup steel cut (or rolled) oats
¼ chia or flax seeds
1 cup whole milk, coconut milk or unflavored yogurt
1 grated apple
1 tablespoon raisins (or other dried fruit)
1-2 tablespoons chopped nuts or seeds (optional)
Add oats, chia (flax)seeds and your preferred liquid to a ball jar. Stir, cover and leave overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, add a little more liquid or yogurt to the jar to loosen the contents. Stir in your fruit, nuts, seeds - basically anything you want. Eat right there or take with you as you start your day!
Brandon Brazier (of Thrive fame), makes this super cool “cereal” where nuts are the foundation. You chop up a quarter cup of nuts. Add a chopped date or two for sweetness. Then cut up ½ a banana, half a pear. Mix everything together and eat as is. Here’s my version of the recipe.
Savory breakfast cereal - grain-free “cereal”
½ banana, sliced
½ pear or apple, grated or chopped
1 date or dried (unsulfured) apricot, chopped
¼ almonds, rough chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon flax or chia
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon of carob or raw cocoa powder (if you have to have chocolate!)
Mix everything together in your favorite bowl. Eat as is, or serve with your favorite milk/non-dairy milk, a dollop of yogurt or even kefir.
You will not require lunch until at least early to mid-afternoon.
Making Overnight Oats Savory
1/2 cup steel-cut or rolled oats (not the fast cooking oats please!)
1/4 cup ground flax
1 cup whole milk, coconut milk or unflavored yogurt (or your dairy alternative)
2 tablespoons (or more) nutritional yeast
1 handful of baby spinach, arugula, micro-greens or whatever you have on hand
1/2 juicy tomato, chopped
Add oats, flax seeds and your preferred liquid to a ball jar. Stir, cover and leave overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, add a little more liquid or yogurt to the jar to loosen the contents. Taste and adjust/add seasonings. Stir in your greens and tomato. Enjoy!
Truly Savory Breakfasts
This is my “go-to” portable breakfast, or even sit down and eat breakfast. Grab homemade or locally-made bread. Toast it. Slather it with smashed avocado, sprinkle or feta or goat cheese, sliced radishes, whatever leafy greens or micro-greens you have and a scatter of whichever herb is in season. Done. Fat, protein and savory carbs with a bioactive kick from greens and herbs.
Nothing fuels me better than 2-3 eggs in which I nestle home-grown herbs, local greens and whatever is in season. Some days fresh or rehydrated mushrooms land in the pan. Maybe a stray piece of Proscuitto. Definitely tomatoes in the summertime. Often a scattering of freshly grated parmesan, goat or sheep cheese - just for an accent. Oh and served ALWAYS with 1-2 tablespoons of a fermented product. Right now, I rotate between curtido and sauerkraut!
I love how chef Gordan Ramsey scrambles eggs. He treats eggs like risotto. You gently stir the eggs on and off the heat and out pop perfect eggs, replete with soft curds. Mastering the art of scrambling eggs allowed me to produce excellent eggs in which I fold in simple ingredients like smoked salmon, leftover vegetables, herbs always - but interestingly, no cheese! Perfect scrambles need to flavor accents!
See how to make Gordon Ramsey’s perfect scrambled eggs. Serve them always with a side of fermented condiment.
Yep - I can eat last night’s dinner for breakfast. The later I push my “breakfast” meal, the more likely I am to grab yesterday’s dinner or even lunch. I like savory and these meals are savory in my house. What is wrong with Mexican for breakfast anyway?
Bronte's savory ideas for breakfast (and brunch!)
I'm the type of person that likes to experiment with recipes. I often want to try a variety of breakfasts from around the world. Whether that is beans, eggs, and plantains from Guatemala, rice, eggs, and Natto from Japan, Nasi Goreng (fried rice with veggies) and an egg from Bali, or sourdough bread and a Mediterranean omelet from Greece.
I tend to learn a different flavor profile that way. How I decide on what meal to make is centered around the veggies I have on hand. I think of ways to incorporate them into a dish. This gives me the abundance of flavor and texture that I crave.
Sauteed spinach with mushrooms and bell pepper, chicken sausage, and poached eggs.
Breakfast Chiquetere Board: Pate, bacon, Sourdough bread, hard boil eggs, variety of cheese
Chilaquiles, fried egg, sauerkraut, bean salad
Sourdough bread, plantains, kraut, re-fried beans, scrambled eggs
Toast with goat cheese, lock salmon, shallots, radishes, poached egg, and pesto
Eggs Benedict: Almond flour biscuits, salmon locks, sprouts, poached egg
Savory breakfast ideas without eggs
Quinoa and veggies
Chickpeas and navy beans in a tomato sauce and baba ganoush on sourdough bread
Spiced sweet potatoes, walnuts, and pesto