I have a confession to make: I never really liked breakfast and so, I rarely ate it. There were plenty of reasons (read excuses) why I didn’t eat breakfast – I wasn’t hungry in the morning, I was always in a rush to get to work, I thought I would get something on the way to work – but the truth was that I just didn’t like most of the foods that made up breakfast fare. However, if it was the weekend and I was going to the local diner for a huge breakfast with side dishes, I loved breakfast. Anything else but that big breakfast meal, and I would rather drink coffee and wait for lunch.
When I started eating healthier, I knew I had to make breakfast part of my day. I found a few meals that I really enjoyed and made sure I ate one of them each morning. But when I became vegan, those foods were gone. All of a sudden, breakfast was again a challenge – that is, until I discovered so many breakfast dishes that I loved. Now, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It can be yours too. Here are my tips on how to love your morning meal:
1. Veganize Your Old Favorite Breakfast
Since I’m making confessions, I will tell you that my old favorite breakfast was either scrambled eggs or a cheese omelet, and always with sides of bacon or sausage and home fries. Now that I’m vegan, I can still have that favorite breakfast in a cruelty-free version. I love making tofu scrambles; I have over half a dozen different ways of making them. When I want an omelet, I make a chickpea omelet and I fill it with mushrooms, onions, greens, and vegan cheese. For sides, I love tempeh bacon and gluten-free breakfast sausages. What was your favorite breakfast? Whether it was eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce, pancakes, waffles, or crepes, you can make a vegan version of it and still have all the deliciousness that you knew and loved.
2. Eat What You Want, Not What You Think You Should
There are lots of people who start their day with juices or smoothies. I am not one of them. Honestly, I would rather chew my breakfast than drink it. Sometimes, it feels like there is pressure to do what everyone else is doing or talking about but that wouldn’t make breakfast enjoyable. In order to look forward to breakfast, it needs to consist of something you really want to have. If you would rather drink a green juice or a fruit smoothie than eat bread or tofu, by all means, drink away! There are so many great recipes for juices and smoothies. Try a Bloody Mary Green Smoothie or a glass of fresh Carrot Juice. On the other hand, if you want garlic hummus on brown rice toast topped with raw spinach and tomatoes every morning (yes, that’s me), then have that. Breakfast can be whatever you want it to be: Carrot Miso Soup, a bowl of Pomegranate Quinoa Porridge, cold leftover pizza, or Mocha Spice Pancakes. As long as breakfast makes you happy, you will be more likely to eat it.
3. On the Other Hand, Variety is Nice Too
Maybe having the same few things for breakfast all the time leaves you bored. It’s easy to get into a food rut. Keep breakfast exciting by changing it up. If you love tofu scrambles, try different versions of them. I love scrambles filled with veggies, but sometimes I just want herbs instead. Try a Mexican Tofu Scramble or a Southwestern Tofu Scramble with Greens. Make your pancakes exciting by using different flours like buckwheat or by topping them with different fruits or syrups. How about Pumpkin Pie Pancakes or Peanut Butter and Apple Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup? Learn how to make something totally new like Spinach, Tomato and Cheddar Mini-Quiches with a Lemon Cream Sauce or Crepes with Lime, Maple Syrup and Toasted Coconut. Bake up a batch of Cinnamon Apple Toast, Chocolate Chip, Apricot and Orange Scones or Butternut Squash Muffins. When each morning offers something new and different, it will become a fun part of the day.
4. Prepare Breakfast the Night Before
Cooking breakfast can be a challenge, especially in the morning when we might be rushing and don’t have a lot of time to think about a meal or prepare it. Make your mornings less stressful by getting your breakfast ready ahead of time. When I make a tofu scramble, I often use two blocks of tofu and put half of it away in a container in the fridge so it’s ready for breakfast on another day. Steel cut oats can be prepared the night before and will be waiting for you in the morning. Side dishes that take a lot of time like shitake bacon or vegan sausage should definitely be made in advance. If you prefer to make your breakfast fresh in the morning, you can still cut down the time it takes by laying out what you will need or by doing some of the prep work the night before.
5. Have Breakfast for Dinner
Who says breakfast has to mean eating in the morning? Well, ok, that’s really what the word “breakfast” means – we break our overnight fast – but vocabulary lesson aside, breakfast makes for wonderful comfort food dinners. That favorite breakfast of mine that I mentioned before, the one with the tofu scramble, coconut bacon or vegan sausage and home fries? That’s a lot of food for early in the morning but it makes a perfect dinner. Having breakfast for dinner brings back memories of good times — diners where you could always get breakfast, and there is just something a bit fun about breaking the rules. The important thing is that you enjoy your meals. Plus, if you make breakfast for dinner, you can eat your leftover dinner for breakfast.
6. Sit Down and Relax
If you are running late for work, trying to get the kids dressed for school, listening to the dog bark for a walk, and attempting to bite into a piece of dry toast at the same time, you will not enjoy breakfast. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier so you will have time to sit down and eat your breakfast while being relaxed. Try to find a few minutes to sit and read the news or better yet, spend some face-to-face time with your loved ones over a yummy stack of Bananaberry Pancakes. Even if you can only do it on the weekends, it will give you something to look forward to. Have your significant other or your kids help you prepare the meal so that it’s fun and will create lasting memories. Or maybe you can just sit and relax while they make you breakfast.
Whether it’s a tofu omelet with all the sides, waffles topped with peanut butter and vegan cream cheese (yes, that’s me again), or just a bowl of cereal, breakfast can be enjoyable and delicious. When you take the time to make the food you want the way you love it and then take the time to sit and enjoy it, breakfast will become your favorite meal of the day too.
Lead image source: Peanut Butter-Banana Waffles with Blueberry Macadamia Cream