Breakfast has always been the most difficult meal for me. Vegan + wheat allergy = very few options when it comes to traditional breakfast foods. I also think that if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, most people are eating all the wrong foods. Have you noticed that most breakfast foods are all the same color: white (give or take a little brown or yellow)? Bread, butter, cereal, milk, oatmeal, potatoes, eggs, meat. One way I judge a healthy, well balanced meal is by a variety of colors. I'm not much of a breakfast person, but when I do eat it, it I try to include whole grains for sustained energy and vegetables (potatoes don't count) for nutrients. I prefer dinner leftovers to a bowl of cereal because otherwise I know I'll be crashing an hour later. Check out these recipes for a healthy twist on traditional breakfast.
STEEL-CUT OATS with nuts and dried cranberries
Steel-cut oats are less processed than rolled oats. The whole grain oat is cut into 2-3 smaller pieces but the nutritious bran layer is left intact. Steel-cut oats are higher in protein and fiber than rolled oats. They have a lower glycemic index, meaning they are digested more slowly so they cause a lesser spike in insulin levels and produce more sustained energy without a blood sugar crash. These oats do take longer to cook than rolled, but the cooking time can be reduced by soaking them in the cooking water overnight. I've added almonds and walnuts for added protein and cranberries for deliciousness. I topped mine off with almond milk, maple syrup, and chia seeds. Serves 4.
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
small handful walnuts, chopped (optional)
small handful almonds, chopped (optional)
small handful dried cherries (optional)
1. Bring water and salt to a boil then stir in oats.
2. Cover, and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on desired chewiness), stirring occasionally (this is what the package suggests, but I usually cook them for at least 20 minutes before adding the fruit and nuts)
3. Add cranberries and nuts and cook for another 3-5 minutes (the nuts should be cooked in the cereal unless they've been toasted because they're more digestible, which is especially important in the morning).
4. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another minute or two before serving.
SCRAMBLED TOFU AND KALE
Kale is one of my favorite vegetables, and it is almost always in my refrigerator. It grows in almost any climate condition, including through the winter, so it is a very hearty vegetable. Kale is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin C to name a few. The stems are where most of the nutrients are stored, so don't throw them away! Sometimes I blanch kale or other green veggies for a simple breakfast (drop them in boiling water for a few seconds). If I have time, I like to make tofu scrambles because they resemble eggs. Serves 2-3.
2-3 Kale leaves, chopped, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/4 c onion, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 block tofu
1 tbs tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp turmeric
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add onions, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add kale stems and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add kale leaves and cook until just wilted enough to fit the tofu in the pan (don't overcook!)
3. Crumble tofu into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add turmeric and tamari and cook for 1 more minute.