How do I prepare a large yet healthy breakfast?
October 30, 2004 12:02 PM   Subscribe

BreakfastFilter: How do I go about preparing and consuming a big, satisfying, yet also healthy breakfast?

Ever since I started going to the gym in the morning (before breakfast) I am super hungry around breakfast-time. My old breakfast--say, a bowl of cereal, or a bagel--is just not cutting it anymore.

This puts me in a conundrum! The only breakfast foods I know how to make are bad for you: like, French toast, omelettes, bacon and sausage and ham, eggs benedict, you name it, it is tasty, and it is bad for you. Add into the mix my trainer's advice to eat a protein-rich breakfast if I lift weight in the morning: I don't want to spend bucks on protein bars or whatever, but I can't eat, like, tuna fish for breakfast either. Ugh. The result is that I've been eating a lot of eggs in the morning, which is enjoyable, but not good for me in the long term.

What are some tasty, filling breakfast foods that are _not_ eggs or oatmeal? I'm a capable cook, so preparing them should be no problem, but I am just stumped for ideas.
posted by josh to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Also, on a totally unrelated note, could anybody invite me to orkut? Is that even still going on? It has nothing to do with breakfast, but I was thinking about how I wanted to check it out today over breakfast, and it just occurred to me now again.
posted by josh at 12:07 PM on October 30, 2004

Cottage cheese omelette with turkey pepperoni and a swath of veggies. You can use fewer yolks than whites, if necessary.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:13 PM on October 30, 2004

There is a wide variety of soy-based fake sausage/bacon type things (though this may depend on your grocery store and locale). I like the fake sausage myself, but if you do eat the real versions also, they may be a poor substitute. They fulfill your protein requirement, though.
posted by advil at 12:29 PM on October 30, 2004

I've recently stopped being a veggiematarian, and eat eggs afain every other day. the days I don't I tend to have 2-3 rashers of bacon, but that is satisfying to me. I don't really believe that that's unhealthy like I used to: losing the pounds that had settled around me tum was more importatnt from a health perspective, anyway. Now, I'm not working out, let alone exercising before breakfast, so your requirements are prolly greater than mine. But still: you need to define your health criteria, as the old food pyramid seems less and less relevant these days.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:33 PM on October 30, 2004

Also, according to my joy of cooking, slightly more protein is in egg whites than in yolks - so if you use the same amount of egg whites as you would have eggs, you would actually be getting slightly more protein (I don't know if they are different kinds of protein, though). You can buy egg whites in a carton.
posted by advil at 12:34 PM on October 30, 2004

There is a faux-sausage product called "Gimme Lean" that I get sometimes that's actually quite good. I don't usually like fake meat products. It might be what you were talking about, Advil. You can form it into a patty and it hits that "DROOOOL EGG MCMUFFIN SAAAAUUUUUSAGE" button for me without the endless stomach upset and feeling of vile consumption that a real egg mcmuffin would cause.
posted by bcwinters at 12:49 PM on October 30, 2004

Whatever breakfast you decide upon, you can always incorporate a glass of milk or soy milk. It's quick, will help fill you up and is good for you too.
posted by orange swan at 1:02 PM on October 30, 2004

Those fake sausage things (Gimmee Lean or whatever) are awesome, and I am a carnivore. I have completely stopped my bacon/sausage intake now.

My favorite big but healthy breakfast is whole wheat toast, two poached eggs and that fake sausage stuff. Totally great, but even that's too much for me more than once a week. Usually it's oatmeal or peanut butter on toast.
posted by neustile at 1:18 PM on October 30, 2004

Wonder Light Bread is high-glycemic, but if you're more concerned about calories (and understand that other foods in your stomach mitigate the insulin spike associated with those "bad carbs"), two slices have only 80 calories between them.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:37 PM on October 30, 2004

As a sidelight, I will never understand why people are so profoundly compelled to eat different things in the morning than they do at other times of day. If you like tuna normally, so eat tuna. What's the big deal?
posted by zadcat at 2:56 PM on October 30, 2004

Surely there's a solution to this problem that doesn't involve food that's been processed to taste like other food.

Also, what's wrong with oatmeal?
posted by jjg at 3:07 PM on October 30, 2004

I get a fried egg from the bulding cafe (or fry up an eggbeater if I'm at home) and set it aside while I microwave a slice or two of low fat cheese and a slice or two of ham or turky sitting on a low-carb tortilla. As soon as the cheese melts I take it out and drop the egg on, fold, and enjoy. Sometimes I use thinly sliced nitrite-free sausage or bacon in place of the ham, but ham and turkey are my staples. Warm, filling, easy, not too much fat.
posted by cairnish at 4:24 PM on October 30, 2004

My wife and I generally make scrambled eggs every morning, as a 50/50 combination of "real" eggs and egg whites (which you can buy in a container in many grocery stores). When she cooks them, she throws in low-fat cheese...when I cook them, I throw in "real" cheese, but you know what? I'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference, blind-folded.

What we've found is that _how_ you cook the eggs is as much or more important than anything else, so as long as you're careful, they taste great.

(Also, we've been eating "turkey bacon" almost exclusively recently, and while you would never confuse _that_ for real bacon, it's pretty good as a smoked, salty breakfast side.)
posted by LairBob at 6:04 PM on October 30, 2004

As a sidelight, I will never understand why people are so profoundly compelled to eat different things in the morning than they do at other times of day. If you like tuna normally, so eat tuna. What's the big deal?

This is the solution in Korea. I still find myself unable to countenance kimchi at breakfast time, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:12 PM on October 30, 2004

Wait, I thought there wasn't any convincing evidence that eggs, by themselves are that bad for you. I thought it was one of those things they kept going back and forth on, but currently were saying is basically OK. Did the pendulum swing back the other way while I was busy enjoying a nice scrambled egg fajita?
posted by Hildago at 11:30 PM on October 30, 2004

I don't dig on eggs (the smell is just repulsive to me), but a tasty breakfast can easily be had with a big ass waffle/pancake stack/wad of hash browns, a really cold glass of OJ, and some of that turkey "fake-on" or turkey sausage or even real smoked bacon bacon if you're not afraid of eating a little fat.

I'm not into the health food thing, so I have no idea if this is considered a woefully deadly meal these days by the reigning health nazis, but it seems like a fair start on a square meal to me.
posted by majick at 11:41 PM on October 30, 2004

Also, if you're sick of oatmeal but enjoy hot cereal from time to time, let me highly reccommend Wheatena as a suitable alternative that is extremely filling. It's sometimes a pain in the ass to find, but very much worth it.
posted by majick at 11:45 PM on October 30, 2004

For workouts, eggs are your best friends because of their high (and high quality) protien content. To cut down on the cholesterol, you can halve the number of egg yolks (1 whole egg/1 egg white) without hurting the the texture/flavor too badly. Anything below that and...yech. Mix it up a bit, eggs are great in all sorts of ways. Soft boil the eggs (drop in boiling water, leave in for 4 minutes, immediately plunge into cold water) and spread them on whole wheat toast. Make a scrambled egg and toasted bagel sandwich. Tortillas are great.

Also, I'll second oatmeal, whole grain cereals are a good supplement, and cottage cheese is good for supplementing protein. You might also want to check out protein shakes as an addition, I really like the chocolate kind mixed into milk.
posted by TungstenChef at 11:46 PM on October 30, 2004

To begin with: a super-hardcore asskicking lifts-daily bodybuilder is going to have a protein intake requirement of, max, 5% more than your average healthy adult. The vast majority of your protein intake goes toward constantly rebuilding your stomach lining. So your protein requirements haven't changed drastically. What will change is your calorie requirement. Working out in the morning, every morning, jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps it at a higher level all day. This again doesn't require any huge changes in diet, it's sort of a way of saying "don't worry about consuming a cow's worth of protein on a daily basis". And hey, most of the muscle repair is going to be going on at night, so it makes sense to get your protein in a couple-three hours before you go to sleep. What you're really looking for, then, is a breakfast that will satiate your hunger and give you blood sugar reserves that will stay with you and keep you awake throughout the day.

Point the first: fruit. Fruit every day. All kinds of lovely trace nutrients, they taste great, fit well with the morning sweet tooth, etc. And you can vary them easily, citrus some days, apples others, tomatoes others, so on and so forth.

Point the second: carbohydrates. Stick with whole grains (no 60-second oatmeal) and tubers. A single potato or yam can be incredibly filling and, baked beforehand and consumed with some cottage cheese makes for a filling and delicious, breakfasty... thing. Eggs and toast are great too, honestly, but I break it up just because eating the same thing every morning makes me sad. Stuff like buckwheat pancakes aren't actually bad, it's going to be the simple sugars they're commonly consumed with that will go to your gut and thighs. Make those pancakes or waffles (no bisquick though, please) with the aforementioned fruit inside them, or spread them with preserves or natural peanutbutter. Avoid Skippy and the like, they all have a lot of sugar as well as hydrogenated oils, which are the devil's work.

As someone else mentioned, there's sort of a taste for a salty, smoked side in the morning. Smoked salmon and trout serve this well - pick them up at your local farmer's market, if possible. Those can just be put on lightly buttered toast and a fillet of that consumed with a pear or something should fill you up.

That's everything that leaps immediately to mind. If you don't do lunch, you need to start doing that. Eat a smaller breakfast and a similarly sized lunch and supper - spacing out your meals means you don't dump a ton of unneeded blood sugar into your system at any one time, the excess of which is then stored in the least flattering places possible.

Hope this helped.
posted by kavasa at 6:01 AM on October 31, 2004

My advice is to go to a healthfood store. They will set you up nicely.

A question: I have an Orkut account and can invite you. Is it a big deal to get an invite? I received one, signed up, and then never really used it, because the site didn't seem all that useful. What's the deal with Orkut?
posted by xammerboy at 8:37 AM on October 31, 2004

Thanks for the great advice everyone--adding fruit or a potato or something sounds like a great idea.

And I got my orkut invite too!
posted by josh at 9:19 AM on October 31, 2004

Bob's Red Mill makes a great 10-grain pancake mix. I also have their rolled oat 5-grain hot cereal.

Also maybe try hard boiled eggs - make 3 or 4 and eat all the whites but maybe only 1 or 2 of the yolks. More than one person has told me that "egg whites and oatmeal" is a preferred breakfast of serious bodybuilders.
posted by dnash at 10:08 AM on October 31, 2004

I'm less of a 'food is fuel' type than kavasa, but I'm surprised no one mentioned yogurt and fruit. Though I'm guessing that this would have an overly high sugar content as a post-workout energy source.

Also, of the two kimchi breakfasts I've had in my life, my ad-hoc kimchi omelette hybrid was far better than kimchi and rice. Highly recomended, actually. Most of us mid-westerners treat kimchi as 'hot sauerkraut' or 'holopchi-without-the-filling'.
posted by sleslie at 10:14 AM on October 31, 2004

I hate eggs, but can make a mean tofu scramble with silken tofu, veggies, fake sausage, cheese and various spices that offers that big protein scrumptious breakfast feel. Other days I grab some unflavored yogurt and a banana.
posted by judith at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2004

A few slices of low-GI or sourdough toast topped with low-fat cheese and tomato, or baked beans, or poached/scrambled free-range omega-3-enriched eggs, and/or lean ham/bacon, or low-fat ricotta/cottage cheese with a low-joule spread, or peanut butter.

Low-joule yoghurt, low GI muesli and fresh fruit.

Steel cut or traditional rolled oats, low-fat milk and fresh or dried fruit.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:33 PM on October 31, 2004

Egg white omlette (keep a yolk or two for flavor and color) with lots of fresh-chopped veggies (cabbage, tomatoes, sliced onions, steamed broccoli/cauliflower/carrots). Have some kind of dipping sauce for the veggies, such as soy, chilli or fish sauce.

Man, this thread is making me hungry!
posted by squirrel at 8:40 PM on October 31, 2004

I'd recommend having juk with beef/fish/tofu/ etc., which many Asians have for breakfast. Not only is it delicious and dead simple to make, you can cook up a big pot on the weekend that'll last you the week.
posted by gyc at 10:39 PM on October 31, 2004

I eat leftovers, for breakfast, generally, or ramen noodle soup with an egg and a lot of chinese cabbage and green onion - I used to live with Vietnamese folks and picked up the pho habit.

If you live in Turkey, breakfast is lentil soup and bread. In the balkans and Romania, tripe soup with lots of garlic and vinegar. Here in hungary it is usually a roll and sweet tea. Italy goes for sweet custardy buns and coffee. Germans eat ham sandwhiches.

Eat whatever ya want. I think soup is better before a workout.
posted by zaelic at 5:19 AM on November 1, 2004

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