Help me figure out how to stick to a good healthy breakfast.
April 19, 2008 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Eatingfilter: I'm an admitted chronic meal-skipper, trying to mend my wicked ways. Help me enjoy a healthy filling breakfast and stick to it!

I know there were a few similar questions on MeFi, but none really solved it for me. So here goes!

When I was a kid, I ate normally. When I got into high school, I often skipped lunch for the library; and then the crazy schedules of college left me eating erratically and sometimes in all you can eat portions. Now, at 24, I'm finding it insanely hard to eat breakfast. My eating habits are okay, but need improvement. I sometimes don't feel hungry at all, and othertimes overeat in big portions/crave snacks/multiple meals. I'm trying to get fitter, but also regain more energy and feel more productive (as a freelancer who works from home, productivity and self-motivation are super-important!).

I am trying to eat healthy: I've cut out approximately 80% of high fructose corn syrup out of my diet, adding whole grains into the mix, as well as bulgur and beans to start. I don't each as much fruit and vegetables as I'd like, because I live with someone who doesn't care for vegetables, and lately the selection's been not so great. Still, I eat them when I can. But breakfast eludes me. I'm retarded about it-- even though I wake up from 8-9am each day (I am shooting for getting up between 6-7, but I think breakfast is a good first step? I find it hard to drag myself out of bed early just yet), I find it hard to put together a healthful breakfast without a lot of muss and fuss (read: dishes). Much less keep up at it consistently for longer than a week. Today I picked up a box of Kashi GoLean cereal and some organic milk and bananas, and while it's not very sweet and gives me a touch of heartburn, I'll eat it for now.

So what I'm looking for are your good suggestions for breakfast. If the three big factors are easiness to prepare, healthiness, and cheapness, I'll go with the first two, because even though I'm on a budget I'd rather spend a bit more to feel healthier than shovel junk down my throat. Of course, budget options are also appreciated :)

I know eggs are a good solution, but they seem to be more effort than I'm capable of in the morning. I don't want to eat bagels or granola, I'm not a fan of hot cereals or oatmeal, and certainly not cottage cheese (anything with that consistency, or is like mayo/cheese based typically makes me queasy). I am a big fan of foods I can batch-prepare/cook (perhaps in a crockpot?) and eat throughout the week with easy reheating-- would even be happy to learn a healthy muffin recipe or some such thing. I like almost all fruits except for grapefruit; and breakfast ideas can be savory or not typical American breakfast foods too. So what of it, Mefites? I know I'm picky on what I like, but you may be the thing that actually makes me like breakfast again. For that, I love you in advance!
posted by actionpact to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Eggs...effort? Pshaw! Crack two eggs, beat in bowl, microwave on high 1min 30secs, eat perfect scrambled eggs right out of the bowl. Total prepare time of 2 minutes and 1 dish clean-up. For added deliciousness, add a handful of your favorite cheese. It's what I do every morning.
posted by meerkatty at 12:29 PM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

My homemade "mcmuffin" is similar to the above recipe: crack an egg in a small bowl or ramekin, microwave for about a minute until the yoke is mostly firm but still a bit runny, put on a piece of whole-grain bread, layer a slice of cheese over it, then toast. A thin slice of ham makes a good layer as well, but this addition might be too unhealthy for your taste. This breakfast keeps me full until lunch.
posted by bibliowench at 12:38 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

toast with peanut butter/preserves/baked beans/cheese?
posted by Xianny at 12:39 PM on April 19, 2008

Make a bunch of hard-boiled eggs and graze throughout the week.
posted by SansPoint at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2008

Smoothies. Home-made.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2008

meerkatty's right. i know a lot of people wrinkle their nose at doing eggs in the microwave, but if you pam spray a glass measuring cup or other glass bowl, crack 2 eggs, whisk lightly, and season, it's pretty decent and insanely quick. i usually add fresh chopped basil and some parmesan cheese and then cook it. it makes an omelet-like egg patty that i then top on a toasted english muffin, sometimes with some tomato or a slice of ham. good, very filling stuff.

i notice a lot of times when i can't get excited at all about breakfast it's because none of it's hot. so maybe think of things that are quick but hot. i make oatmeal with honey or other hot cereal during the winter for this reason. also, look into homemade toasted granola. you could do a big batch only full of stuff you like on a weekend and it'd keep well. then on the weekday you could just warm it up and serve with fruit. yum.
posted by ifjuly at 12:56 PM on April 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

fried egg + slice o' cheese + toasted english muffin = yummy in the space of about 10 minutes

also, seconding hard-boiled eggs - make a half-dozen or so on sunday morning - a lil' salt, a lil' pepper, maybe a bit of hot sauce or a dab of sharp mustard - so yum

and waffles are easy to make in a batch & then freeze - you can spread them with all manner of fruity preserve or other healthy things

lastly, making something like an impossible pie can easily net you a few good breakfasts

mmm... pie

posted by jammy at 1:05 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I make a smoothie out of soy yogurt, a tablespoon of flax meal, about a tablespoon of delicious macadamia, cashew or almond butter. Add a cup of frozen fruit you've defrosted somewhat (a minute in the micro will do), rip out the immersion blender, and zap! Simple, healthy, filling, delicious.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:19 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Amy's Breakfast Burrito. Organic black bean, tomato, potato and tofu. Whole wheat wrap. Microwaves in under three minutes, and has 250 surprisingly filling calories.

I don't like the taste of regular Kashi, but the Honey Almond Kashi GoLean might satisfy your sweet craving.
posted by Ruki at 1:19 PM on April 19, 2008

Quiche usually reheats pretty well. You could make a quiche one evening and have it for breakfast the rest of the week. This applies to any leftovers, but quiche is particularly breakfasty. You could also do hard-boiled eggs.

Yogurt, if you can stand it. You could add fruit or just eat fruit on its own. Or have a salad. You do seem pretty picky, though, so why not just eat for breakfast the same things that you can stand the rest of the time?

I love cereal, though. Cinnamon Life and Quaker Oat Squares are my current favorites, but I actually look forward to trying new types of cereal.

But really, to start eating breakfast again, you just have to force yourself to do it a few times. It'll become a habit.
posted by Polychrome at 1:26 PM on April 19, 2008

The New Best Recipe has a pretty awesome recipe for oatmeal. It takes some time, but for how few ingredients are in it, tis amazing. Easily dressed up as well - nuts, choice of dried berries, pat o' butter, splash of milk, bananas, etc. Complex carbs in the morning = happy self. I've made large batches of this and it reheats fairly well (keep it on the liquidy side if you plan to do this).
Also, a Japanese breakfast is pretty wonderful, if you can handle those kinds of flavors in the morning. Rice, miso soup, tofu, piece of grilled fish, pickled veggies, sometimes eggs, sometimes salad. My mouth is watering right now.
posted by ikahime at 2:19 PM on April 19, 2008

For me the key to the whole operation is forcing myself into the kitchen to drink a 1/2 glass of water; otherwise I just start reading the news and never bother to feed myself. Once I have some water, then I start thinking about food. Usually it's banana + cereal, sometimes it's toast+topping. The banana routine is good because it's simple - grab banana and eat while reading news, then think about step 2. The toast routine is good because the smell of toast makes me want to eat.

Toast toppings are infinite:
cheese and tomato slice
homemade hummus
pb and j
avocado and salsa
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:35 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

My favourite breakfast is rye/soy-linseed/multigrain/whatever you fancy toast with mushed fresh Avocado slathered over it, sprinkled with a little freshly cracked black pepper (and a tiny dash of salt if you like).

You only use 1 knife, 1 plate and it's a pretty satisfying breakfast.
posted by latch24 at 2:44 PM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

I have had this problem, and found a simple solution: peanut butter sandwich, 12-grain (or whole wheat) bread. Oatmeal or cereal always "burns up" by 10 or 10:30 am, for me. I can rely on a peanut butter sandwich to keep me going through noon. I wish it were less fatty; it's hard for me to get a vegetarian breakfast that sticks with me.

latch24's recipe is actually very similar, if classier, and I want to try it now.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:11 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like foods that you can just throw in the oven (traditional, not microwave). Tomatoes, frozen oven fries, sausages, fish fillets, etc.

I get up, throw the stuff on a baking sheet and into the oven. Shower, groom, dress, etc. Voila, breakfast is ready. Eggs might work too if added for the last 5 minutes.

Hmm...getting hungry...gonna go put something on.
posted by randomstriker at 3:17 PM on April 19, 2008

I also like Cambozola on sourdough rye toast or rye crackers for breakfast, but that might not count as "healthy" given the fat content of the cheese.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:24 PM on April 19, 2008

I was never a breakfast eater until I started making this oatmeal. Since I started eating a bowl of it every day, I've lost 25 lbs.! Besides walking more, it's the only big change in my diet. Besides, it's amazingly good. Even oatmeal haters like my sister like this recipe.
I make 2 bowls at a time, put them in the fridge overnight and heat one up in the morning.

Shopping list:
Scotch oats (I use McCann's steel-cut Irish oatmeal in the can but there are other brands like Bob's Old Mill)
Flat oats (thick rolled organic if you can get them)
Cinnamon (lots of cinnamon)
1 chopped Apple (for 2 servings)
Flax meal (not seeds, the ground stuff that you store in the fridge)

For 2 servings:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with lots of cinnamon and one chopped apple.
When it’s boiling, add 1/3 c. scotch oats and 1/3 cup of oat flakes.
Stir and lower heat.
Cook for about 15 minutes and stir it a few times.
When it’s done, take it off the heat and add: 1 heaping tablespoon of flax-meal (not the seeds, the meal) and about ½-1tsp, tsp of vanilla (it’s the vanilla and cinnamon that MAKES this so amazing so don’t skimp.
That’s it. You can eat it now or cover it and put it in the fridge overnight.

To eat:
Add a handful of chopped walnuts and sweeten it with Agave nectar but you can use honey or whatever you like.
You could add dried cranberries or fresh fruit.
Or not.
posted by lois1950 at 3:53 PM on April 19, 2008 [6 favorites]

Smoothies, yo. Every morning. I've had a couple of blenders like these. Seriously a couple of the best purchases I've ever made. I'll do some frozen strawberries and blueberries, most of a banana, usually some chocolate whey protein (super filling), some skim milk or yogurt if I'm not doing the banana, some flaxseed, sometimes even some bran flakes. Takes like three minutes, five with cleaning. Cheap. Healthy.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 4:53 PM on April 19, 2008

I cook up a big pot of oats each Sunday night and zap a bowl in the microwave every work morning, garnished to taste.
posted by bunji at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2008

Part of the trick is truly finding something you can look *forward* to: something good enough so that the night before you can't wait to wake up and eat.

For me it's been the breakfast burrito, this is the tastiest recipe for the chorizo part and you can make this in bulk the night before or on the weekend, it will last you the whole week:freeze it in 2 ounce portions, will be ready to cook, crumble and add to eggs. Iprefer wrapping in corn tortillas but flour tortillas are bigger and easier to wrap.

Chiltepin Chorizo

10-15 dried chiltepins peppers, crushed
2 lbs lean pork
1/3 cup cider vinager
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup New Mexico chili power
1 tsp Mexican oregano
2 tsps minced garlic
pinch allspice

Gently combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Use your hands to avoid overworking and toughening the meat. Cook a small patty and taste to adjust the seasonings. This keeps well for a week in the coolest part of your refrigerator or freeze as noted.
posted by jeremias at 5:38 PM on April 19, 2008

Why are you eating breakfast? Breakfast makes me sick. If you haven't been eating breakfast as part of an overall not-bothering-to-do-it-right program, then all the advice above is great.

But perhaps you are like me, and Dale Gribble, and would do best with five small meals spaced evenly throughout the day. Or at least by having a "breakfast" after you've been awake a couple of hours. The Kashi heartburn might be from eating too soon, not the kashi. Kashi loves you.

And these hot cereal recipes all look good. You might want to rethink hot cereals. They are yum!
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:18 PM on April 19, 2008

I have always been a non-traditional breakfast eater. Top Ramen used to be quite the regular breakfast for me in middle/high school. If I had felt I had to stick to only "breakfast" foods, of which I'm not a great fan, I'd probably be skipping breakfast too. However, I have been trying to work in healthier foods into my daily diet as well, and part of that means eating more traditional breakfast food because it makes it so flipping easy. They add all the fiber and whole wheat stuff for you. As I am preternaturally lazy in the morning, it works out for me. So, here's a sample of what I tend to eat for breakfast (I also accompany everything with some nice black tea and milk. MMMM....tea...)

Instant Malt O Meal packet with 1/2 cup Fiber One cereal. (A splash of sugar free vanilla syrup sweetens this...although the splenda may eventually kill me.) If I have them, some strawberries added to this is delicious.

Fiber One granola bar (has high fructose corn syrup in it though...but delicious and a frickload of fiber).

Graham cracker and peanut butter

Cheese and crackers

Angel food cake with strawberries.

Some variation of a quesadilla...tortilla, cheese, maybe some spinach or basil mixed in, then microwave

Chocolate chip scone (made Sunday afternoon, enough for the whole week)

Black beans and rice with some garlic salt (Again, made Sunday evening, enough to last the week)

Apple and string cheese

Plain yogurt mixed with some jam and a cut up pear

I also reserve the right to eat last night's leftovers for breakfast.

Or, on busy mornings, just tea. Because really, it's my favorite part of morning.
posted by Bibliogeek at 9:06 PM on April 19, 2008

Swiss Breakfast (third time I link to this site)... fun to pick up the ingredients, and once you put it all together, you feel so proud of making your own breakfast cereal (really easy to do) that you look forward to eating it each day. Ten times better if you find a fancy jar to keep it in.

It tastes great, is fast to make once the ingredients have been put together (once every two or three weeks)... just two minutes in the microwave with two minutes to cool. Tastes delicious, also good if you throw a spoonful of yougurt in. Best of all, one of the few meals to keep me full from breakfast to lunch.
posted by furtive at 9:33 PM on April 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Most lasting fullness of any breakfast I know, and really quick to cook: Cheesy grits, with or without bacon but emphatically with Tabasco. I was not raised in the South, but I know what's good.

Second most lasting fullness, and different flavors: Dee's cereal. The guy claims to have cured his own diabetes with it.

Also good: Frittata, the omelet's no-nonsense cousin. You can even pre-prep your vegetables all at once for several days if you want. Slice some zucchini, mushrooms, onions, ham, whatever, and put it in plastic in the fridge. Morning, heat and oil a pan, chuck that in, stir it a few times in a few minutes. If you want to add basil, or Cajun seasoning, or coriander, or curry powder or something, do it, there's no kitchen police. Between stirs, crack some eggs and whisk them (really, with a wire whisk and the right sized bowl I can scramble eggs as quickly as pouring dry cereal and milk), and grate some cheese unless you pre-prepped that too. Lower the heat, dump the eggs all over the veg, toss the cheese on top, possibly put a lid on, and just let the eggs gently solidify while you shave or put on makeup or stretch or hit Google News or whatever you do. Squirt of soap in your egg bowl and some water, beat it with the whisk, clean. Frittata's done. Eat with your complex carbohydrate of choice. By the time you're done, pan's cool and can be washed in five seconds, plate in five more.

Support the motion to try beans on toast. Get some real bread, solid enough to stand up to beans and not in thin thin slices, and get some baked beans. It's a brilliant, brilliant breakfast food.

Previous, related AskMe, even if some of the suggestions take longer.
posted by eritain at 10:36 PM on April 19, 2008

For me it's usually some water, a banana, and a multivitamin. Then having a selection of carbs to choose from if I feel like it, raisin bread, eggo waffle, whole wheat toast, etc.

If I don't feel like that, I can sometimes find a single scrambled egg and slice of toast simple and appetizing enough to eat.

Heck, maybe even just once on the way to work or on the weekend stop at a place that does a good breakfast, look through the menu and find something that looks tasty and easy to prepare.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 5:25 AM on April 20, 2008

the problem i have with breakfast is that you're supposed to eat it soon after you wake up. as an adult, i just cannot eat that early in the morning (like 7.30am ish). so i do my morning routine and then eat breakfast at work (like 9ish). of course this depends on what kind of work environment you're in.

my point being: it wasn't breakfast itself i was having trouble with when i skipped it, it was the time i was trying to eat it. maybe this is the issue for you?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:32 AM on April 20, 2008

Toad in the hole.

Butter a slice of bread. Use a cup to cut out a circle. Put into a frying pan, crack an egg into the hole. Stare at it for a while. Turn it over. Stare some more. Eat.

Currently, I have poached eggs on toast for breakfast. It's easy, fast, and requires minimal cleanup. It takes around 5 minutes to produce breakfast for two, and that's only because we have heavy grain bread that takes forever to toast. On the bright side, it also gives me time to make a pot of tea.
posted by ysabet at 3:13 PM on April 20, 2008

Easy scrambled eggs are always better with a little heavy cream (a tablespoon, tops) and a dash or two of curry. It's a wake-me-up, that's for sure.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:02 PM on November 23, 2008

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