Tragedy struck this week: we emptied our last egg carton on a Tuesday and wouldn’t have any shopping time until the weekend. That means I had to come up with 4 eggless breakfasts–which, let’s just say, is more thinking than I’m used to doing before I’ve had my coffee. Fortunately, the world did not end, although I’m pretty sure I did throw my hands up and exclaim, “catastrophe!” in my best French accent Wendesday morning when I saw the empty egg shelf.
The Easy Way Out: Leftovers.
You always have them–why not put them to good use? Food is food–no one is going to smite you if you eat “dinner food” for breakfast. You’ve probably had “brinner” (breakfast for dinner), the ultimate in Lazy Weeknight Meals (TM). Think of this as “dreakfast.” I had chili for breakfast on Wednesday and carnitas for breakfast on Thursday.
The Oatmeal Substitute: Sweet Potatoes with Pecans.
This warm and hearty dish really hits the spot! It was my breakfast this morning, and I had more for lunch as well.
Put 3 pierced sweet potatoes in the toaster oven for a little over an hour, until they’re nice and soft. Remove them from the toaster to cool, and put in some pecans in their place (same temp). Let the pecans toast while you scoop the cooked sweet potato guts out of their skins. Add about 3 tbs of coconut oil. This makes it more filling, a little sweeter, and lower in glycemic load; plus, you need fat in order to absorb the beta carotene.
Stir it all up and put it in a tupperware to eat the next morning. It tastes like pie. You could easily substitute other favorite oatmeal toppings as well.
The Cereal Substitute: Bowls Full of Stuff.
Back in my pre-paleo days, I ate two bowls of cereal every day because cereal is engineered to taste amazing and does not disappoint. I don’t eat cereal now (for many reasons, including) because it is a pretty worthless breakfast–I’m hungry again two hours after I eat a bowl. So I don’t miss it that much. But I do still really like how it feels to sit down to a big bowl full of sameness and chow down.
When they’re in season, you can’t do better than a bowl full of pomegranate seeds. In this observer’s opinion, that is the perfect cereal substitute, because it’s crunchy and juicy and sweet and amazing! (Albeit not that satiating…just like cereal.)
I have also been known to make my own muesli/granola sort of thing, using unsalted nuts (usually pecans, because they’re my favorite, but sometimes slivered almonds or both) and whatever dried fruit I have around (raisins, dates, unsweetened shredded coconut). If you like it sweeter, you could add a little honey–I guess it depends on the kind of dried fruit you’re using (I find that dates are sufficiently sweet for my taste). If you plan ahead, you can even toast it all the night before in a jelly roll pan. Then eat it with milk or over yogurt.
Grocery store sausages are often more dense with additives than nutrients. But it’s very easy to make your own! For instance, I made these turkey apple sausage patties a few weeks ago–I fried up a big batch one night and ate them the rest of the week for breakfast (and sometimes lunch). They were pretty good, especially considering that ground turkey has got to be the world’s least flavorful protein source.
Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! BACON!!!!
(First of all, you should be buying high-quality bacon or making it yourself, because grocery store bacon is junk food. However, I’ll be honest and say I don’t follow that advice yet. I do, however, rinse my bacon before frying it, because it makes me feel like I’m getting some of the chemicals off, whether or not that’s true, and it reduces shrinkage.)
Personally, I don’t find bacon filling enough to be a breakfast on its own, but I really love it as a condiment! One of my favorite anytime foods, which I have been known to eat for breakfast, is bacon and vegetables. I microwave a bag of steam-in-bag frozen vegetables (my favorites are cauliflower and brussels sprouts) while I fry up some bacon. Then I pour the veggies into a bowl, stir in some coconut oil to make it more filling and help me absorb the fat-soluble vitamins, and top with crumbled bacon. Hint: it gets even more delicious if you top it with a poached egg–it’s like vegetable carbonara.
The Sweet Treat: Smoothies.
I don’t make smoothies a lot; you’ve probably heard that our bodies discount liquid calories, and that certainly rings true from my personal experience. But if I’m in the mood for something sweet for breakfast, I’ve found that I can still get pretty full by making full-fat coconut milk the base of my smoothie. Plus, if you’re trying to lose weight, you may be interested to know that coconut contains the kind of fat (medium-chain triglycerides) that is preferentially burned as fuel rather than stored for later. I mix up a can of full-fat coconut milk with some frozen fruit. Lots of people add vegetables too. More power to you, if that’s your jam. Coconut milk is really filling, so it’s easy to stop when you’re full; I usually get about three servings out of one can.
Nature’s Fast Food: Avocados
All you have to do is slice and go for a nutritious, filling breakfast! You may have heard recently that a study found that avocados promote weight loss. Even though that study was industry-funded, I believe it–when we eat foods that are incredibly satiating, we don’t need to eat as many calories to feel full.
Plus, avocados are very nutrient-dense.
The Old Standby: Bananas and Nut Butter
(Note: peanuts are a legume, not a nut, and are not paleo. I eat peanut butter sometimes because I love it–but I definitely notice its impact on my gastro-intestinal system. My advice to regular peanut butter eaters would be to eliminate it–and all legumes–for 30 days to give your intestinal lining a chance to heal. Then add it back in and see how you feel. Listen to your body in order to inform your personal choice as to whether the way it tastes outweighs the way it makes you feel.)
Nut butters like almond butter and cashew butter aren’t terrible for you in moderation (their biggest drawback is that they’re high in Omega-6s, which are pro-inflammatory and basically the opposite of Omega-3s). And bananas are fine, especially if you eat them on the greener side, when they’re lower in sugar and higher in resistant starch.
Still, I wouldn’t make this a go-to breakfast if you can find other things you like–it’s not bad for you, but it’s not really that good for you either.
Paleo Baked Goods
There are also all sorts of baked goods out there–just google “paleo pancakes” or “paleo muffins” to get tons of recipes at your fingertips. I don’t have a lot of expertise here, because I rarely make breakfast baked goods (I have eggs!). But for any lifestyle to be sustainable, you’ve got to be able to eat what you like–and if what you really like is pancakes, then by all means, buy some almond or coconut flour and whip up some paleo pancakes so you don’t feel deprived.