One thing that people often ask me is, “What do vegans eat for breakfast?” In a meal that is often a landmine of fried foods and processed meats, I can see why plant-based fare doesn’t immediately pop to mind. And when people are considering going vegan, I’d say that looking at what they’re going to eat for breakfast is a good place to start. After all, when the sun is only starting to peep from the horizon and dreams are still fresh in the mind, it’s best to make it simple to start the day with something easy, healthy, and satisfying. No one wants to awake from a deep slumber only to look across the kitchen overwhelmed and wondering, “What am I going to eat here?” When I’m not looking to make something involved like a tofu scramble or waffles, here are five easy things I fall back on in the morning:
1. Peanut butter toast and fruit. I eat this probably half of the week. It’s uncomplicated and practically fool-proof. Whole grain toast goes in the oven, it’s slathered with peanut butter (or your nut butter of choice), fruit is washed, and it’s ready to go. The fruit changes depending on the season, which keeps it interesting. If necessary I can eat it while I do my hair and make-up. It’s ready in less than ten minutes, and it’s something I can eat regularly without feeling bored.
Similar alternative – hummus on toast with a few slices of avocado and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes.
2. Whole wheat tortillas slathered with nut butter and banana slices and toasted in a dry pan, or as I like to call it, El Elvis. In the same vein as peanut butter toast, consider this the lazy man’s crepes. Protein, whole grains, and fruit come together in one convenient package. Have any left over? A wedge or two makes a nice mid-morning snack.
Similar alternatives – hummus or pureed beans on toasted tortillas with salsa, hot sauce or jalapenos. Many times I’ll take the black beans or pinto beans I prepared for tacos the evening before, blend them in the food processor in the morning, and then spread them on tortillas. It’s an easy and instant black bean hummus.
3. Cold cereal and non-dairy milk. Look through the cereals at your natural food store, and you’re sure to find several cereals that are animal-product free. I’m often mixing it up and trying something new. At my local grocery store, they even have cold cereals in the bulk bins, which means I can try a small amount and see if I like it.
4. Oatmeal. This hot and fiber-rich option is great for cold, winter mornings when something warm sounds best. It feels hearty and substantive, and it can be changed up by adding a spoonful of pureed pumpkin, a handful of berries or dried fruit, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a dollop of nut butter, or slices of banana.
Other similar option – creamy polenta. I like De la Estancia organic polenta, because it’s a fine grain polenta that has a good, creamy mouth-feel and is ready in five minutes. Add a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, a spoonful of nutritional yeast flakes, and a little non-dairy milk for a quick and savory breakfast. I often top it with warmed cannellini beans and sautéed spinach for a more substantive breakfast.
5. Smoothies. They are a great on the go meal, but also a nice way to start the morning with a hefty serving of fruits and vegetables. I feel good knowing that I’ve gotten that much health out of the way first thing. They have little room for user error. Why not leave the complicated meals for later in the day? My current favorite smoothie is my Sweet Cashew Kale Shake, but the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup smoothie and Kale and Pumpkin smoothie are also well loved. Don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning? Pour a smoothie into a mason jar, top it with a lid, and take it to work to sip as you read over morning emails.