Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breakfast- The Evil Meal

My word, I hate breakfast. Perhaps if it didn't need to be taken care of quite so early in the morning, I wouldn't continue to find breakfast such a challenge. Perhaps if we had disposable income to spend on healthy breakfast convenience foods I wouldn't dread the question, "What's for breakfast?" as I do. Perhaps if I didn't loathe sit-down-together family mealtimes as occasions of intense stress, we'd start our day off better.

My first question is, what do people eat for breakfast? There are all kinds of sugar laden cereals, toaster pastries, and yogurts out there, but that all seems far more like dessert than a meal to me. There are eggs, but those are supposed to kill you if you eat them too frequently. There are pancakes and waffles, but other than mornings where we have nowhere to be that just seems like an inordinate amount of work. My most usual breakfast consists of coffee and cottage cheese. One because I must, the other because it is easy and has lots of protein. However that is not something which I can feed my children. One because I am not insane, the other because they just won't eat it.

My second question is, where do people eat breakfast? Our dining table is too small for us. In order for us to eat there, we must squeeze in and pull chairs from all over the house. It is the first step in a long line of many unpleasantries about eating all together. I tend to view family meal time the way I view family rosary- there is a reason that praying the rosary as a family has an indulgence attached to's because it is penance through and through. It is "He's touching me!" and "Sit down, love.....Sit DOWN!" and "Stop whipping her with your rosary." Family mealtime, I figure, is touted as being crucial and important for family togetherness, because those who suffer together are bonded with cement like closeness in shared experience of the darkest of times.

My third question is, if breakfast is the most important meal of the day then why isn't there a better selection of breakfast foods? I know that I feel awful if I don't eat in the morning. All of the 'experts' assure us that a good breakfast in paramount in attentiveness and proper physiology throughout the day. And yet, if this is true, then why are most breakfast choices so incredibly bad for us and centered around carbohydrates?

I am thinking of starting a breakfast revolution in our household, despite the rally call of my pamphleteer children : "That's not breakfast food!" At least a few nights a week I think I will throw something in the crockpot to be ready for morning. It seems to me that we eat kind of backwards. Shouldn't our heartiest , most protein-based meal be first thing in the morning? And our lightest meal be in the evening? Or even, monastery style, have or largest meal at mid-day? I will ponder these things today, cottage cheese in hand. There's got to be a better way.


  1. I think there is a crockpot oatmeal recipe out there somewhere that can be started the night before. I really like oatmeal, but I also like to add a bit of brown sugar, raisins, and milk. You could also add something like cinnamon and apple if you didn't want to add the brown sugar. Though that isn't very protein filled for you.

    I also like to do apple slices with peanut butter as I get some protein and some fruit in that way. And, it has that nice sweet/tart taste.

    I'm also a big fan of scrambled egg whites with spinach and/or cut up veggies. You could separate the egg from the yolk (or include the yolk if you'd like) and precut the veggies and put it in a bowl so it just has to be put in the skillet the next morning.

    Hope that helps :)


  2. The breakfast I loved as a child is the one I still eat most mornings… a hole-in-one (usually with a banana and tea). I use whole grain bread and throw out the yoke, but only because my cholesterol hovers on the high side. Apparently it has more aliases than a rapper, so if you have no idea what I am talking about you can go Wikipedia (they call it an egg-in-the-basket): It is quick, easy, and nutritious. :)


  3. You can bake those eggs in a basket too. Prepare them the night before & just stick them in the oven in the morning. Baking is better for you than frying. You can prepare the fruit & cottage cheese ahead of time too.

    Substitute a regular biscuit with a whole wheat one. Can add sliced tomato on top with low fat cheese. Add fruit & cottage cheese on the side.

    1 unbaked biscuit
    1 egg
    Grated cheese

    Place biscuit in muffin tin. Shape to fit sides and make a well in the center. Break egg into "basket". Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.


  4. There's always the southern standard of grit casserole. We eat a big breakfast everyday at about 10 or 10:30. If my kids wake up hungry, then they can have fruit or cheese slices to tide them over until I can make breakfast. We often eat waffles or pancakes 2 days in a row where I mix up extra batter while I'm making it, so that I've already got it together the next day. I usually do that when I know we have somewhere to be the next morning. If I make biscuits one morning, then the next morning, we eat the left overs as biscuit toast with jelly. We usually eat at our table, but there are only 4 of us. I grew up eating at the table and I prefer it, but again that is probably because there are 4 of us. Some mornings, I make breakfast burritos with bacon and eggs. Those are also a pretty quick fix. Good luck with this one! No one here is hungry when they first get up, so I continue to be thankful for that.

  5. Thank everyone for the ideas!! I will use them all....

    When I went to the monastery in New Mexico for retreat (where I was struck profoundly by the balance of their lives). Breakfast every morning was a la carte selection of boiled eggs, yummy hearty bread, or oatmeal. There was also fruit, juices, coffee and milk. I would find myself rather hungry around 11:00ish and then becoming a little obsessed thinking about food so I started taking and extra piece of fruit to squirrel away...but I was early pregnant and so my relationship with food was weird anyway. But just as I was really hungry, after working or hiking or whatever all morning--it was time for the main meal of the day.

  6. You are so right, cereal and yogurt are crammed w/ sugar. I only buy plain yogurt now. I'll buy a bag of frozen berries (or even the jumbo bag at sams)...thaw out some in the frig. we throw berries on top of our plain yogurt (you can add a tiny bit of sugar for the kids if you want---still tons less than in other yogurt). I also do "real" oatmeal (not instant) and also top w/ fruit. i think eggs are fine. i thought that they are now healthy (ha---foods seem to go in trends too, but i think eggs really are good. sugar is the killer, not fat--in moderation of course). i just cook everything in olive oil. we have eggs a ton w/ ham and cheese added. the protein fights off hunger longer. so, we eat eggs a lot around here. and i must admit, i fry them. scrambled eggs seem to me to do what spinach does. you think you've got a lot, but once cooke, scrmbled eggs seem to shrink (ha). so, i boil or fry so that i don't break the bank buying eggs! i also buy whole wheat pancake mix. unfortunately healthier food is more $$---a shame.

  7. I wonder what the history is of "breakfast" foods. Like how did this list of foods become the one's which are accepted as being for breakfast....hmmmm...I think I have a project.

    Ashlie--you know I bet my girls would eat plain yogurt and berries and wheat germ. We always have frozen berries (hoping one day to have them from our own bushes!) We only do whole grain pancakes/waffles, too--except every now and then we breakdown and buy some buttermilk ones. I've been so blessed by your comments on here!!!

  8. One of my kids' favorite breakfasts is peanut butter and graham crackers (make little sandwiches with the PB between 2 graham crackers, then break it up and eat it in milk like cereal... came from my husband's childhood)

    We have also gone through phases of eating completely non-breakfast foods in the morning- who the heck says you CAN'T have a tuna sandwich at 8 am if that is what you want?! We also really like breakfast burritos with scrambled egg, sausage, and cheddar inside a tortilla.

    We eat eggs almost every single day- I don't think one or 2 per person/per day is unhealthy at all, especially if you get the good eggs (we get ours frmo Locally Grown) Omelettes are another great breakfast that everyone can customize to their liking- peppers, onions, tomato, cheese, ham...

    Oh I'm hungry.

  9. It's really strange... Breakfast foods are very different by country. In Belgium cereal is gaining on popularity because you evil Americans have started to wear us down.. *W* But traditionally breakfast was a 'sandwich'. A few slices of bread with either ham or jam or something, with milk or later in life tea.
    Our big sunday breakfast consisted of ontbijt koeken, croissants and pistolets (think something like a kaiser roll but with a hard outside), tea or milk, deli meats and sweets like jam or chocolate spread. And often either an omelet or bacon and eggs.
    I still have not found a nice replacement breakfast here.
    I guess I just wanted to point out that what is 'acceptable' breakfast foods is culturally determined. And you can expose your children to as many cultures as you want.

  10. hello, it is Alex, or if you wish, Rhamiel from OBOB
    when I was a kid, I ate cold cereal, orange juice sometimes grape juice, on a rare ocasion we had apple juice but my mom thought it tasted too watered down so we did not have that offten
    now I am away at college, i bearly ever wake up in time for breakfast, on nights like this when I do not sleep at all... horrible nights, i treat myself to Bob Evans, do you have that over in the Empire State of the South?

  11. Shannon, wise and nutrition-savvy that you are, how come you didn't even mention oatmeal in your list of breakfast foods? Luckily just about everyone else has. It's THE basic English breakfast food... all commercial cereals evolved from it!
    Swiss muesli is even better. You can make it at home - just mix oats, chopped nuts and some dried fruit (find a better recipe than this scribble!) - and it's "instant" in the sense that you can pour the milk over it the previous evening, leave it in the fridge, and the next morning it's fine and soft and creamy.
    Or, as Faerieeva says, go Continental and serve rye bread and cheese, or ham.
    Or use pita bread, feta cheese, olives and tomatoes - there is your Turkish breakfast, the best in the world!
    Wholewheat bread and peanut butter, and a mug of milk, is what southern African kids get for breakfast when the school (or the World Food Programme) organises school feeding schemes.
    You can have a round-the-world-breakfast trip in a week, and use it for lessons afterwards!
    As for the cottage cheese, why the heck NOT serve it to the kids? Mixed with dry muesli mix and fresh fruit chunks.... or just fresh fruit chunks and call it a California Lite Breakfast?

  12. Shannon, I have a slowcooker egg casserole that's yummy. Frozen hashbrowns, sausage or ham, cheese, eggs, milk, on for four hours and it's done! Also, we do smoothies with plain yogurt(not vanilla - sugar added) with frozen berries, honey, and milled flax seed. Have the smoothie with a boiled egg (those can be boiled ahead of time and put back in the fridge for eating later) I feel your pain that breakfast happens too darn early in the morning, though!

  13. Now Turkish breakfast sounds like something I could do!!

    Actually that "round the world idea sounds like a great idea!!

    Although now with baby on the way...I have to have a more fluid expectation-at least for me depending on what my body will accept or reject. LOL!

    Smoothies! Yes!

    There are so, so many great ideas in this thread! Thank you all so, so much!

  14. i don't know why our society has vilified whole eggs that way. did not stop the overweight epidemic from soaring. i think whole eggs is far better then sugary cereals.

    for a long time i was making a breakfast smoothie with a banana, flax seed, hemp seeds, orange juice and a raw egg. each morning. for the kids, i'd fry their eggs. i get my eggs from an organic farmer.

    for long stretch my kids will eat peanut butter and jam sandwich and eggs or french toast and what ever fruits we have available. my husband usually make a big batch of pancakes with frying pans on each burner, that he keep in the fridge and reheat in the toaster. last us almost the whole week.

    my favorite in high school was cold pizza, not the healthiest but it was what stayed down best.

    great topic, i might try to add variety to my kids breakfast. love your blog :)