My breakfasts this week so far have included all of the following unusual, some might even say weird, “breakfast foods”:
- Mashed potatoes
- Pan-fried scallops
- Steamed asparagus
Why did I have these foods for breakfast? It’s simple: I enjoy these foods.
If you’re making a yuck face, I get it; most people do. There’s an expectation in our culture that breakfast is supposed to be sweet. Most of the acceptable “breakfast foods” are sweet: pancakes with maple syrup, oatmeal with raisins and honey, Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs, granola, smoothies made primarily from fruit, toast with jam, etc.
You might really like salad, scallops, and asparagus, just not before 12 p.m. It makes sense. Since before you could walk, you were eating sweet foods for breakfast and saving savory foods for lunch and dinner. Your palate has been primed for decades in this fashion.
So what’s my stink with sweetness? Nothing in the absolute. I deeply enjoy all of the flavors of food. And the sweetness built into real foods like blueberries, mangos, and pineapples is wonderful.
But sweetness balanced with other flavors has faded away for many people and turned into exceedingly sweet breakfasts. In addition, much of the natural sweetness like we enjoy in blueberries has turned into the processed sweetness of Nutri-Grain bars. And these super-sweet breakfasts have ramifications. When a person eats a sweet breakfast, they tend to:
- Feel less sated.
- Have greater fluctuations in blood sugar and energy throughout the day.
- Be hungrier and eat more throughout the day, especially at dinner and in the evening.
- Crave and eat more junk food throughout the day, especially at dinner and in the evening.
- Store more excess body fat.
Does any of that resonate with you? Do you find your energy crashing in the afternoon? Do you find yourself reaching for junk food in the evening? If you struggle with this issues and you’ve been mainlining fructose and sucrose for breakfast, you can remedy that with savory breakfasts. Here are a few of my actual breakfasts from this past week to show you it’s possible.
This is a salad made of mixed greens, red cabbage, sauerkraut (fermented green cabbage) and olive oil on the left and a scramble made of eggs, white onion, and Swiss chard on the right.
This is steamed asparagus, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes made from local heirloom potatoes with some olive oil and Swiss chard mixed in.
This is a mixed-greens salad, pan-fried scallops, and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with some olive oil and white onion mixed in.
You don’t need to eat these foods to “go savory”. The sky is the limit. Basically any savory foods you typically eat for lunch and dinner make great options. And you don’t have to avoid sweet foods altogether to get the benefits of savory breakfasts. I often include sweet foods in my breakfasts. This weekend, I’ll be picking my own strawberries and they’ll surely be part of my breakfasts next week, for example. In essence, I eat breakfasts that are just like my lunches and dinners. I eat a wide variety of whole, natural, real foods I enjoy. I don’t specifically target savory foods and avoid sweet foods. I’ve simply dissolved the “prejudices” that breakfast should be sweet and that salad and fish are for later in the day.
Our palates change with exposure. There are dozens of foods I never ate growing up that I now love. Avocados, broccoli rabe, garlic, and oysters to name a few. Our palates aren’t set in stone. And there’s nothing about us anatomically, physiologically, or any other way biologically or scientifically, that makes us averse to “lunch and dinner foods” in the morning.
The best judge of what ways of eating help you feel your best is you. I invite you to play with a little more savory and a little less sweet in your breakfasts. Pay attention to how you feel and calibrate accordingly. Some great savory foods to include in your breakfasts are vegetables, meat, eggs, nuts (and nut butter), seeds (and seed butter), and avocados. Bon appétit.
Remember your mantra for today: NOURISHING MOVEMENT, NOURISHING FOOD, NOURISHING LIFE.