Monday, July 16, 2012

Make a move Monday: Rethinking Breakfast

Last week’s Rethinking Food laid out “why” and “what” of real food. Now it is time to look more at “how,” specifically breakfast. Changing breakfast is hard because breakfast from a box is so easy, and this is coming from someone who admittedly has an advantage to a real food breakfast. I like to cook. I like mornings. I love breakfast food, and I don’t have to have everyone out the door by 7:30. But when the opposite is true, then what?

There we were, back at the doctor with my son after adding fiber to his diet was not doing enough for his stomach.  The doctor was very frank in his discussion with me.  He made me stop and look at each meal, and I remember feeling completely overwhelmed.  He asked “What do you eat for breakfast?”  With great pride in my simple answer I said “Honey Nut Cheerios or Frosted Mini Wheats.”  He replied with an annoying buzzing sound and a “Wrong answer!”  I was deflated. 

We can all envision the breakfast table full of fluffy pancakes, bacon and eggs or crispy hash browns and omelets, but that isn’t the reality for most of us each morning.  (It also does NOT need to be the goal, I might add.)  There are two real food options that can serve the business of our days: Grab and Go and Make Ahead.

Grab and Go

My goal here was real food that takes the same time and effort as a pop tart.  I have heard of some who do not particularly like breakfast foods and grab last night’s supper out of the fridge and that works too!

Cheese and fruit-Cheese sticks give a portable protein (choose full fat for better digestion and white to avoid artificial coloring.  Did you know that cheese is never naturally orange?  It is added!)  Fruit is always a winner…berries, oranges, apples, bananas, pears, grapes.

Nuts and dried fruit-This has the same idea as above, starting the day off with protein and fiber it always a good choice.

Larabars-These are not the most budget friendly option out there, but once in a while health and convenience trumps the extra cost. J

Yogurt-If you read the label and find a low sugar, full fat yogurt without artificial coloring and flavoring, that’s great.  This maybe harder than it sounds!  You will also pay a lot more for this kind of yogurt.  Often it can be found plain and you ccan add honey or a little jam and sweeten it on your own, but then if feels less “grab and go.”

Granola-Grandola is another healthy food that takes a careful, label reading eye.  Often times there is a lot of extra surgar. 

Make Ahead

This takes a little work one morning of the week (or on a Saturday if the weekday mornings are too crazy!) but makes the difference between real food and compromise the rest of the week.  These meals are often more cost effective than boxed cereals too.

Frozen waffles or pancakes-I lived off frozen Eggo waffles during my third pregnancy!  I make them myself now; it’s cheaper and healthier.

Muffins and quick breads-I normally make pumpkin or zucchini so that we are getting moreveggies.

Hard boiled eggs-My kids love these.  It takes very little prep time to make enough to last a week.

Homemade granola bars-Best chewy granola bar recipe ever, I always double this recipe but only use a total of 8 Tbs of honey.

Breakfast cookies-This makes a huge batch!  Try them as bars if cookie making is too tedious!

Breakfast Burritos-This is my oldest son’s favorite.  He likes egg, sausage and cheese, maybe someday I can squeeze in pepper, onion and/or mushrooms!  (Confession: I haven’t gotten the hang of making my own whole wheat tortillas.  I compromise with the Costco pre-rolled ones that I cook myself.  They are made out of while flour, but the ingredients are very simple.)  Soft tortilla shells and the fillings of your choice can be easily wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen.

Homemade Granola-This is the best answer for replacing boxed cereal.  I have no one recipe that we like.  The other day I choose a crunchy granola bar recipe that I found on Pinterest and broke it up as cereal.  That was probably everyone’s favorite.  I am curious to try this crock pot recipe.

Homemade Yogurt-Admittedly I have tried making crock pot yogurt, but have ended up with runny yogurt that I turn into smoothies and freezer pops.  My friend says that this recipe is the way to go.  I have tasted hers , and it is good!

While they doesn’t fall into either category there are a couple of breakfast foods that should be mentioned. 

Oatmeal: The most cost effective breakfast for sure is oatmeal.  (Sorry, instant and quick oats are processed; use rolled oats.  The texture is better anyway!)  I have found that I can make a double batch of oatmeal and once the leftovers have cooled I add an egg, mix well and spread out into a container to put in the fridge.  The next day I cut out a “bar” of oatmeal and fry it as oatmeal pancakes. 

Eggs: Scrambled or fried these are a great start to the morning.  My mom used to always feed me scrambled eggs on ITBS mornings as brain food-smart mom!

Toast-Bread is tricky for the real food diet.  Have you read the ingredients of even “healthy” whole wheat bread?  It is disappointing.  Homemade bread is amazing, but I don’t have time to do that as regularly as I would like.  Ezekiel bread is a great option, but not budget friendly and my kids don’t particularly like it.  They will eat it as toast so we have had it in the freezer for some of “those” mornings.

It is your turn in the conversation.  What real foods do you eat for breakfast?  What standard breakfast foods are hard to give up?  Link up real food ideas and healthy recipes!  I love seeing what healthy moves you are making in your home! 

This post is linked up at


  1. Good post! I make ahead meats and put them in the fridge to be easily warmed up (breakfast sausage and bacon from our pastured pig or burgers from our grass fed cow). I also make homemade yogurt. I find the trick to nice thick yogurt is to strain the whey off, which also makes it low carb too! I posted my recipe

  2. This is an excellent post. I'm trying very hard to get my family away from box cereals and toast in the mornings. I've been reading about the Paleo way to eat and this kinda ties in with that. Thank you for all the links.

  3. Great post! I am trying to eat and serve more eggs. Here is an EASY recipe perfect for feeding a large family quickly!

  4. Willing to try some creamy southern grits with your eggs? ;)

  5. One more recipe -- Delicious Coconut Granola!

  6. Breakfast foods are definitely one of the hardest areas to transition into real foods because mornings are usually more hurried and hectic than evenings. I used to eat nothing but cereal in the mornings, but now that I'm trying to eat real foods, I have an egg every morning and I started making my own homemade frozen waffles using this amazing recipe from Our Nourishing Roots:

    Like you said, they take a little more time one day, but then you have a delicious, quick breakfast ready any time you want.

  7. I no longer by any prepackaged breakfast foods- boxed cereals hold little nutrional value. We have chickens on our farm so eggs are pretty much every morning. My hubby likes meat with his eggs, so if i'm in a hurry- I'll make bacon in the oven. I line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and then put the bacon on a single layer. put it in the oven at 400 degrees till its the desired crispiness. I can then go and shower, dress or get kids up. Granola is a great make ahead breakfast, also very easy to make and even my 10 year old can make it with little supervision. We eat it a lot at snack time as well. Another thing I like for breakfast with a muffin or homemade bread, is a smoothie- I keep bananas frozen in the freezer. Add a frozen banana (break it in chunks) 1/3 cup raw milk, 1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, a splash of vanilla and a tablespoon of flax oil. No sugar necessary and the frozen banana thickens the milk so its almost an icecream consistencany. So good!

    1. I should learn to proof read my comments before submitting them. Just wanted to clarify that the smootie ingredients get mixed in the blender.

    2. I didn't even catch that you forgot to mention the blender in your first comment. It made me smile to think of eating that without the blender! :)