I thought I’d share my many faces of breakfast ideas. I used to eat cereal nearly every day. It was “healthy” cereal, but my mindset and understanding of food has changed. No longer do I view food as plainly important for wellness, but now I view food as medicine and as the building blocks of health. Eat well, be well. Therefore, my morning eating habits have changed. It’s important to note that I don’t follow a certain diet type, ie. Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Carnivore, Vegetarian, etc. It’s also important to note I’m not a cook. Matter of fact, this is geared to guys who aren’t. The structure that I base my food intake on is increasing fiber, decreasing salt, correcting portion size, minimizing eating out, minimizing or eliminating boxed and bagged food (ie processed), and increasing “one ingredient” foods.
Don’t eat the same thing for breakfast
I don’t eat the same thing every day for breakfast anymore. However, I always have either ½ cup or a full cup of coffee with French vanilla creamer. I rotate the food I eat, but not on a schedule. I eat what I want to while picking from pre-determined choices. My rotation includes oatmeal, eggs, toast with peanut butter, fasting, smoothie, and an occasional wildcard. Within these choices are a variety of ways to prepare, season, or accompany them. No matter what I do to them or how I prepare them, I’m always keeping in mind, how I can fuel and take care of my body. With any of these I sometimes have fruit on the side or sometimes I eat fruit a couple hours later as a snack.
For oatmeal, currently I use original instant oatmeal. No added flavors, sugars, or other unhealthy ingredients. Then I add cinnamon and cut up apples.
You could also add a drop of pure vanilla extract or some honey. The thought process is to start with a healthy base (oatmeal) and add only healthful ingredients that does your body good.
Eggs allow a lot of creativity. Generally, I use one or two eggs. (Omelets use at least two) Also, anytime I have left over baked sweet or regular potato squared, I will often heat those up on the side, depending on which preparation I use and how active I plan on being that day.
I will sprinkle some turmeric and black pepper on top and have a piece of whole grain/whole wheat toast- no butter. If you absolutely need something on your toast, try a light drizzle of Olive oil and spread it.
Two eggs mixed with some 2% milk and scrambled up. Once the egg and milk mixture is in the pan, that’s when I add herbs and spices. Usually it’s some turmeric and black pepper. Sometimes I will add ginger. I will either serve it up on a plate topped with nothing, or with shredded cheddar cheese, and/or some salsa. Or I will fill two taco size whole wheat tortillas.
This is my favorite way to add nutrients to my breakfast. I use a minimum of two eggs because one egg just doesn’t make an omelet. Two eggs and milk mixed and put in preheated pan. That’s when I add my herbs and spices. If I add them in the bowl that I mixed in, a bunch of the herbs and spices stick to the side of the bowl and never make it to the omelet. My herb and spice mixes are endless. I’ve added turmeric, black pepper, ginger, rosemary, thyme, cumin, garlic powder. Generally, I pick two to three at a time, but I have put all of them in before, because, why not, they all have a nutrient benefit to the body.
In addition, here’s where it gets fun. You can put any possible vegetable in there as well, and/or lean meat. I’ve filled with a: mushroom, green or red pepper, and spinach combo; onion, mushroom, red pepper combo; onion, mushroom, spinach, meat combo; or single ingredients. Sometimes, I will put some shredded cheddar inside and on top. Once it’s on the plate, sometimes I will put salsa on top, or I will top with a sliced half of avocado, or both.
Seasoned with some black pepper and turmeric, or just plain. Sometimes rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla, sometimes on a piece of whole grain/wheat toast (or two for a sandwich) with some ketchup, or on a whole wheat English muffin with cheddar cheese.
My simple quick breakfast has become whole grain/wheat toast with low sodium creamy peanut butter that I’ll eat with my coffee.
This isn’t a typical breakfast pick for me, but if I work out before eating, this is one of my post workout intakes, so it functions as a breakfast. Occasionally, I have one for breakfast though. Generally, consists of 2% milk, banana, low sodium peanut butter, some flax seed or chia seeds, and some combo of berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. To add some thickness, you can add some Greek yogurt. A little tip: put the mixed smoothie in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes while cleaning up. It makes it nice and cold, thickens it a little, and guarantees that I clean up right away!
There are benefits to intermittent fasting. A 2017 literature review in the Annual Review in Nutrition indicates that modified fasting regimens appear to promote weight loss and may improve metabolic health. The authors also state that reducing or eliminating nighttime eating and that prolong nightly fasting intervals may result in sustained improvements in human health but they stop short of determining how. For me, fasting by eliminating breakfast has been the easiest way for me to put this into my routine. I also have found, on average, I don’t do this more than once a week. Given the article’s comments on nighttime eating, I have made an effort to minimize and sometimes eliminate nighttime snacking. (not easy for me!)
So, occasionally, I make pancakes. I use a mix that requires water. After I measure the mix into the bowl and before I add water, I add a bunch of cinnamon and sometimes some flax seed and mix the dry mixture with a fork. Then I add the water and cook them. If I add any apples or blueberries I will add them once I pour onto the pan. Occasionally, I will put sliced banana or mango on the already cooked pancake on my plate. I always have left over pancakes and the next day I will have pancake topped with peanut butter, like an open-faced sandwich. I never top with syrup. My daughter tops with whip cream. If I top, I top with fruit or honey.
Breakfast away from home
What happens when I am away from home, out for breakfast, or at a guys weekend? First of all, I don’t worry. I’ve been eating pretty well, so if I consume some stuff that isn’t that great- so be it. When I’m at a restaurant, I’ll order whatever I want, but it’s often an omelet with veggies or over easy eggs and some whole wheat toast. If it comes with bacon- fine. If the menu lists calories next to the item, I will pay attention, because I’m not going to eat a 2000 calorie omelet….
Guys weekend? Again, I don’t worry at all. There are usually eggs of some sort and there’s always bacon. I will limit myself to two strips. That is the hardest thing for me to do. If fruit is available, I will eat a bunch of it- to avoid getting more bacon….. The key for me with guys events is usually total intake. You get some guys sitting around with food and it’s sooo easy to consume more than you normally would. It’s been a gradual process but the biggest and hardest change for me was limiting bacon to two strips.
“Dude, I don’t ever have time to ‘make’ a breakfast.” Not ever? Bull. Not having time is only saying it’s not a priority. If health and wellness isn’t a priority, that’s one thing, but saying we don’t have time- that’s just not truthful. The breakfasts that I rotate through all have different time requirements. Fasting= no time, omelet= 20 min. Everything else fits within that.
Connect with me on Instagram @theagingman and don’t hesitate to DM. Leave a comment below about your best healthy breakfast menu item or idea