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Breakfast: Start Your Day the Vegan Way

Quick and easy tips for nutritious, plant-based, whole-grain breakfasts in 10 minutes or less that are as delicious as they are healthy.

I firmly believe that even the most avid meat-eaters can “veganize” 1 meal a day; and breakfast is probably the best and easiest time to go for it. 

A plant and/or whole grain based breakfast is sure to give you the energy you need to get you through a hectic morning AND keep you satisfied until your midday meal.  

Human nature often prevents us from searching past what we know, so bacon, egg and cheese on a roll or a stack of pancakes can often be the first thing that come to mind when we think of breakfast. 

Don’t get me wrong, these meals are comfort food at its’ best, they soothe the soul and delight our pallets, but our BODIES deserve better. Remember, I’m only suggesting you try this occasionally, it’s not about deprivation … it’s about compromise. Moderation is key.

Personally, I remember grabbing a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and coffee with cream and sugar every day on my way to work in the morning.  I would scarf it down during my commute into the city then slog up the elevator to my office feeling bloated … and tired. I would find myself looking through my snack drawer by 10:30, famished and unsure how I would make it until lunchtime.

I never made the connection between what I ate and how I felt. I never understood that a breakfast consisting of refined sugar, processed white flour and empty fat calories would leave me feeling sluggish and unproductive. Now I know better, so I do better … and it feels and tastes great! When you are thinking about breakfast, or any meal, think about what nutrients that food will provide and how it will make you feel. Make it a habit to read labels and don’t be afraid to ask for healthier options when you are out.

I know what a lot of you are thinking, “Who has time to think about and prepare special breakfasts in the morning?  Is she crazy?” I’m here to tell you that with 10 minutes and a few simple pantry staples, you can have a healthy, balanced and nutritious breakfast ready in minutes! 

Here are a few of my favorite morning meals:

When I’m really pressed for time and need of some serious energy, I always opt for a power smoothie. They are quick, easy and transportable and always leave me feeling energetic, satisfied and ready to face the toughest day. 

When it’s carbs I’m craving I avoid over-processed white flour and opt for whole, sprouted grain bread. Sprouted grains retain more nutrients and are easier to digest. It’s available in the frozen food isle of most supermarkets and comes is a flavors and varieties such as sliced, tortillas, English Muffins, bagels and hot dog and hamburger rolls.  

I love a breakfast sandwich with raw almond butter and sliced banana or refried beans with lettuce, tomato and sprouts. They both pack plenty of flavor, protein and fiber to keep me going.

Steel cut oats is my favorite hot cereal standby (shorten the cooking time by soaking them over night.)  I also cook grains such as quinoa, amaranth and rice as I would oatmeal, they are delicious and add variety and nutrients to my diet. 

I love leftover brown rice in the morning, reheated with almond milk, cinnamon and a swirl of maple syrup or agave. I’m also a big fan of grits; I recently found millet grits, by Bob’s Red Mill, and they are great (especially since they contain more fiber and protein than corn.)

Whole grain, sugar-free cold cereals such as Shredded Wheat n’ Bran are a great option when topped with non-dairy milk (almond, soy, rice, etc.) and fresh fruit. A soy yogurt parfait with rolled oats, a few chopped almonds or walnuts, fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup or agave is light, cool and refreshing.  

On the weekends when I have the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely, hearty breakfast, I go for it!  Waffles or pancakes made with whole grain flour and dairy alternatives are great weekend treats that my whole family enjoys.

There is an endless supply of great vegan websites, cookbooks and blogs that offer fantastic recipes.  Give it a shot tomorrow!  Why wait to feel and look better?  Treat your body to what it really needs and deserves and I promise you will reap the rewards. 

Try to be mindful of what the body versus what the mind wants, and remember … the more healthy food you eat, the more you will crave.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Melissa Bartolone June 15, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Personally, I think a flavorful, thick and creamy tahini sauce would compliment barley and beans perfectly. Made primarily from sesame seeds, tahini sauce is chock full of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus , vitamin B1, zinc and lignans. How could you not want to start the day with nutritional profile like that? I think I'm going to give this a try myself... thanks for the idea Shannon! ;)
Jessica Dalmedo June 15, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Awesome- Freshicas is open Tuesday thru Saturday 9 to 3..
Anna K June 19, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Vegan, ha! For 42 years I ate veg because we could not afford real meat in Banglore. I can tell you first hand that on the rare occasion that I could get meat for my children they noticeably perked up and were stronger than when we were eating those abysmal chick pea and other veg dishes. You do not realize how many Indians would love to leave veg for good and never look back (minus those who do it for religious reasons).
Shannon K. Winning June 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Anna you have a world of experience that most of us born-here-Americans know nothing about. I'd be interested in hearing more about your perspective on growing up in Banglore and how it shaped your life here. If you are interested, consider a blog on Patch: http://rumson.patch.com/blog/apply
Melissa Bartolone June 26, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Anna, thank you for sharing your perspective on what has become a relatively hot topic. While I do not suggest that children eat a vegan diet as it is too limiting for growing bodies, I can say from experience that I've never felt better since I began a plant-based lifestyle. I also give myself permission to "cheat" whenever the mood strikes. I can only suspect that choosing a plant-based diet is quite different than being forced into it due to socio-economic factors, so I appreciate your viewpoint. Additionally, I don't believe everyone should become vegans but I whole-heartedly support everyone bringing more natural foods into their diets and eliminating the processed foods that line our supermarket shelves.

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