Coffeeshops, restaurants, and grocers have, over the years, tried to convince us that breakfast means a giant sugary muffin, a big chewy bagel, pancakes, waffles, scones, toast, and other high carb delights. The problem with those treats is that they’re not nutritionally stellar and they often leave me either hungry or energy-less as I crash two hours later. Furthermore, many of those bready breakfasts can take a toll on ones waistline as well over time. Don’t get me wrong – I love the occasional croissant or muffin, but not as a my breakfast.
Back in July, I decided to cut all breads, pasta, and other flour-based items out of my diet for a month. I was curious how I’d feel, and I also wanted to turn the focus more to all the fresh produce that was pouring out of my veggie garden, our farmer’s market, and at Trader Joe’s. Without breads, cereals, and other flour-y fare, I started to think a even more outside the box for breakfast. Sure, there’s oatmeal and scrambled eggs, but what else. Brown rice and black beans…why not? A veggie burger…why not? Smoothies, yogurt parfaits, frittatas, quinoa flavored with vanilla and cinnamon…lots of choices!
My un-bready month is now over and honestly, I really haven’t gone back to eating much bread or pasta in general. I like having my focus first on proteins, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and dairy, and I definitely feel more energetic throughout the day. The funny thing about cutting out the breads and pastas is that I dropped more than 5 pounds unintentionally that month even though I felt like I was eating more food. I’ll take that!
Here are a few ideas below that I enjoy for breakfast. I’d love to hear yours!
1) Yogurt Parfait: layer your choice of yogurt with your favorite granola (Pecan Praline, Granola & the 3 Berries, and Gluten Free Granola are a few choices) and seasonal fresh berries. It’s a simple combination that is amazing. You can even make homemade granola from those odds and ends in your pantry. A homemade granola bar and a individual container of yogurt is a good on-the-go option.
2) Eggs: Make a frittata with eggs and veggies (use any mix of Trader Joe’s frozen vegetables to make it more convenient) Check out the frittata recipe in our “Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s” cookbook, page 236. Scramble them.
3) Quinoa: cook quinoa, adding vanilla, cinnamon, honey, nuts or dried fruit to the cooking mixture. Add milk if desired (as you would eat oatmeal). Check out the recipe in our “Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s ” cookbook, page 238.
4) Poach an egg and serve on top of brown rice and black beans and even corn (like frozen Roasted Corn, back on the shelves after a long hiatus). I love this combination with a mild fruity salsa like Trader Joe’s Peachy Salsa. Black beans are a great energy-super-food and most people might not consider them for breakfast. Canned black beans and frozen brown rice make it a snap.
5) Smoothies: Your choice of fruit blended with yogurt and milk (regular, soy, rice, or almond milk). You may want to add a little bit of Trader Joe’s Green or Red Powders (blended fruit and vegetables powders). If you like avocados, try a delicious Avocado Smoothie. Smoothie recipes are also included in “Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s” page 233 and 235.
6) Veggie Scramble: A Veggie Burger for breakfast? Yes! They’re not just for lunch and dinner. I really like scrambled eggs, and I like them even more mixed with a chopped up veggie burger. Of course you can add frozen vegetables, sliced sausages, pancetta , whatever you like. Scrambled eggs are like pizzas – there really aren’t any rules holding back your creativity!
I am a recent fan of the Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala burgers and I think they go well with eggs. They’re only very slightly spicy but it’s balanced out with the mildness of the eggs, in case you were questioning a little spice in the morning. (Trader Joe’s regular Veggie Burgers are another option – I find that they really need to get nice and hot or else they taste a little dry.) The meal below is very satiating and comes in right around 270 calories and is ready in less than 10 minutes.
Veggie Masala Scramble
- 1 frozen Vegetable Masala Burger
- 2 large eggs
- 5-6 crimini or white mushrooms (optional)
- Heat the veggie burger per package instructions (I like to heat in a non-stick skillet with just a touch of spray oil.
- While the burger is heating, slice the mushrooms and beat the eggs.
- When the burger is done, remove, chop up, and set aside.
- Sauté the mushrooms in the pan. When softened, add the eggs and cook over low heat until eggs start to set up. Stir in the chopped burger and remove from heat. Let residual heat of pan finish cooking the eggs.