Before we eliminated processed foods, these were our breakfast choices: a vast array of sugary cereals, pop tarts, Quaker oatmeal packets, Eggo waffles, store-bought toast/English muffins/bagels, and even Slim-Fast shakes (which I drank more as a quick meal rather than a way to lose weight). And you know what? I was sooo sick of breakfast! My husband and I complained to each other all the time that we could just stare into the pantry and fridge for long periods of time and still not come up with something that sounded good to us. Now? I’m in love with breakfast! I seriously never thought I would say that. Even though I have never, ever skipped breakfast (because I would be shaking and passing out by 10 if I tried…), I’ve also claimed on numerous occasions that I’m not a breakfast person. However, now that we’re eating ‘real food,’ I’ve found a new love for all of the delicious options I have each morning. The food we eat now has REAL flavor, less sugar, less salt, more nutrients, more fiber…basically, now we are getting the nutrition we need to fuel our mornings without any of the sugar crashes that we probably felt mid-morning before.
Here are my top six favorite breakfasts these days (because I couldn’t narrow the list down to five!):
- Smoothies! I love them all, but I rotate between these two the most:
Almond Butter Chocolate Smoothie
Pomegranate-Chia Super Smoothie
- Oatmeal – My current favorite way to eat it is with maple syrup, a whole diced banana, and chopped walnuts (I need to take a picture of this combo).
- A banana with almond butter drizzled over it and oranges (or another type of fruit)
- A whole mango with a homemade granola bar or ‘bite’ of some type
Here are my current favorite granola bar & bite recipes: Apple Chocolate Chip No-Bake Granola Bar, Almond & Raisin Granola Bar, Chocolate Covered Almond Peppermint Bites. (The picture above was a date & nut bar recipe that I created, but wasn’t thrilled with the taste…edible, but not share-worthy.)
- Grain-free Chocolate Chip Waffles and fruit
- Eggs: scrambled or hard boiled…with fruit, of course!
Even though I try to eat a variety of foods for breakfast, the six above are my most common choices…and the easiest for me to throw together without a lot of thought. I like to make sure we ALWAYS have bananas on hand as well as multiple other kinds of fruit.
Note: You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been eating 4 Brazil nuts with my breakfast every morning lately. Because I have hypothyroidism, I’m starting to pay a lot more attention to what I eat in order to hopefully wean myself off of my lifetime medication. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, which is especially important for someone with thyroid issues. I will write a whole blog post on this soon! Stay tuned!
And what have I been eating EVERY single morning before I workout and run these past couple weeks?? Two Medjool dates! This is something that I never, ever would have expected to be eating (and enjoying) on a daily basis. Even after I started buying dates to use as a sugar replacement in recipes, I still hadn’t tried one plain. It took me a few months, but I finally worked up the courage to try one…and I was pleasantly surprised! They’re very tasty! You should definitely try them, if you haven’t already.
Anyway, I never used to eat anything before a workout. However, because I eat dinner around 5:30 and don’t eat breakfast until after 7:00 each day…that is a LONG time span to go without eating, especially when I workout at such a high intensity early in the morning. When I wake up at 5 am, I’m not usually hungry and who wants to eat a big breakfast before a workout, anyway? Well, I recently read that when you workout on an empty stomach, your body will use muscle for fuel instead of fat. Well, that’s definitely not something I want happening! Plus, I usually need a little something in me before a strenuous workout…otherwise, I do start to feel a bit weak and shaky towards the end. Dates are high in glucose, which is a natural sugar that the body quickly converts to glycogen (the primary fuel for your muscles). Adequate glycogen supplies help you sustain exercise for longer periods. (Source: Jillian Michaels) So, that’s what I’ve been doing: eating two dates right before my workout and I’m good to go. (Of course, when I have a longer run scheduled on the weekend, I’ll eat more before heading out the door…but I’ll touch on that in a future post. I will tell you this, though…the pre-run fuel will definitely include a banana!)
Want to see more real food breakfast ideas? Make sure to check out my Recipe Index! I have SO many ideas there (too many to link them all here): pancakes, waffles, granola, granola bars, almond bites, eggs, overnight casserole, donuts, muffins, and more!
And if I’m in a bind and need to feed my kids something in the van or just don’t have anything that I can quickly grab, I keep Nature’s Path Organic Whole O’s cereal in the pantry. It’s made from just five ingredients (all organic): brown rice flour, corn flour, evaporated cane juice, pomegranate juice concentrate, and sea salt. My kids love it and it’s sometimes nice to have a backup option like this.
And what are my kids’ favorite breakfast choices these days? Yogurt with thawed frozen fruit or strawberry sauce mixed in, homemade toast with butter and cinnamon, waffles or pancakes, bananas, smoothies, scrambled eggs, and the cereal I mentioned above.
What’s your favorite everyday, go-to breakfast? What would you add to this list?