When was the last time you had sugar and saturated fat at breakfast?  When was the last time you ate soup for breakfast?  Most Americans (those who eat breakfast) eat a limited range of food.  Cereal (hot or cold), toast, bagel, muffins, eggs, sausage, bacon, sugary yogurt, maybe some form of fried potato, pancakes or waffles.  People who “eat healthy” do throw in some fruit, a multivitamin, some nuts, maybe some green tea.  Honestly, breakfast has the potential to be both easy and far more exciting.  It can even be a handy way to finish up leftovers.

First, you can do riffs on the classic themes.  Eat hot cereal, but add a few pieces diced candied ginger, some lemon zest, toasted almonds, and a diced pear.  Make muffins chock full of fruit and vegetables.  Have eggs on a bed of greens, with leftover brown jasmine rice or black quinoa.  Jazz it up with some grated cheese.  Even something as simple as finely shredded cabbage topped with an egg and the dressing of your choice is a great way to add more vegetables while trying new flavors and textures.  In a hurry? Pack that cabbage and egg into a pita and run. (Just don’t eat while running.  Leads to choking in normal people like me.)

In the winter, there is a lot of pleasure in a belly full of warm soup as you venture out into the cold.  Hearty soups full of fiber make for an excellent substitute for cereal.  They also require less work than making a hot breakfast in the morning since you merely have to heat up leftovers.  What to try? Lentil, split pea, cream of mushroom, minestrone, harira, pumpkin, squash, potato, corn chowder, etc.  Look for beans, vegetables, or low-fat dairy.  If you choose a lower calorie soup, add a piece of whole grain bread or some nuts.

Overall, what matters is that you eat a breakfast that you like and is reasonably good for you.  Try to eat at least three food groups (grains, vegetables, fruit, protein, and dairy), get some fiber, and keep the sugar and “bad” fats down.  Don’t like breakfast?  Try some new foods.  If you adore it, eat plenty and cut back your calories at dinner.  If you can eat it for lunch, you can eat it for breakfast.  Salad, quesadillas, vegetable stir-fry, quiche, whole grain pilafs, etc. are all equally good breakfast.  Just be adventurous once in a while and add in some pickles, or kohlrabi slices, or olive paste.

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