Americans tend to eat the same thing when it comes to breakfast. The vast majority of us, surveys say, start our days with Starbucks or cold cereal — and those of us with children are more likely to buy the kinds of cereal with the most sugar. Children all over the world eat corn flakes and drink chocolate milk, of course, but in many places they also eat things that would strike the average American as strange.
In Australia – a bowl of cold cereal
In Brazil – ham, cheeses and bread, served with coffee and milk
In China – Dim Sum
In Cuba – cafe con leche (coffee with milk) with a tostada
In England – eggs, sausage, bacon, beans and mushrooms.
In France – croissants and coffee
In Germany – cold meats, local cheeses and fresh-baked bread
In India – fermented black lentils and rice served with chutney and sambar
In Japan – miso soup, steamed white rice and pickles.
In Morocco – bread, jam and cheese
In Nigeria – moi moi, a ground bean paste that is wrapped in leaves and steamed
In Russia – sirniki or baked farmers cheese pancakes and hot oatmeal
In Turkey – bread, cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam or honey
In italy – a cappuccino and sweet roll or biscotti
While the benefits of eating breakfast are well-known — it can prevent weight gain, boost short-term memory, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and even make us happier — most of those health rewards depend on choosing the right foods. You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein. Good choices include eggs, whole grains, fruit, peanut butter and yogurt.
Some Quick Fix Options
- For a portable breakfast: Place in a ziplock bag: a cut up apple, 2 ounces of cheddar cheese cubes and ¼ cup of fiber and protein-rich walnuts.
- Instead of dousing a whole-grain toaster waffle in syrup, cut the sugar and boost the protein and fiber by spreading it with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
- Take a slice of crusty bread, spread it with 3 tablespoons of low-fat ricotta and add sliced plum tomatoes. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and a little salt and pepper. Place under the broiler for a minute or two.
- Slice a hard-boiled egg, then roll it in an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla with a slice of lean ham and a slice of cheese. Add a tablespoon of salsa for a shot of flavor.
Feel like trying something different for breakfast, check out these recipes:
Mini Spinach Frittatas
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 24 – 1/8 inch thick slices of fully cooked Italian chicken sausages
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Place a sausage slice in each of 24 greased miniature muffin cups. Fill muffin cups three-fourths full with the spinach mixture.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until completely set. Carefully run a knife around the sides of the muffin cups to loosen the frittatas. Serve warm. Yield: 2 dozen.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit
- 2 teaspoons melted butter or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon almond meal or almond flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar for garnish – optional
- 1 teaspoon slivered almonds
- Additional fresh fruit, optional
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Combine the fruit and the 2 tablespoons of almond flour. Toss until well coated.
Place in a 6” oven safe bowl leaving about 1 inch at the top for the crumble topping.
Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon of almond meal, butter, oats, vanilla and cinnamon. Spoon over the fruit.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Garnish with almonds, additional fresh fruit and confectioners’ sugar.
Creamy Breakfast Polenta
If crème fraîche is unavailable, use lightly sweetened sour cream.
Makes about 6 cups; 4 to 6 servings
- 3 cups low-fat (2%) milk
- 1 cup quick cooking polenta
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 6 tablespoons blackberry jam
- Lightly sweetened crème fraîche
In a 2 1/2 to 3 quart pan over high heat, bring 3 cups water and the milk to a boil. Reduce heat so liquid is barely boiling. Stirring constantly, pour in polenta in a thin, steady stream, pausing occasionally to break up any lumps. Stir in sugar and salt.
Simmer, stirring often, until polenta is soft and creamy to the bite, about 20 minutes (if heat is too high, bubbles may “spit” hot polenta out of the pan).
Ladle polenta into bowls and top each serving with about 1 tablespoon blackberry jam and a dollop of crème fraîche.
Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce
Serve with a slice of baguette for dipping.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 green bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups crushed Italian tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
- 8 medium eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
In a wide, deep skillet, heat oil on medium. Add bell pepper, onion, oregano, coriander and cayenne and sauté, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
Add tomatoes, orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
Crack 1 egg into a small bowl or cup. Gently slip the egg into the sauce without breaking the egg; repeat with the remaining eggs, leaving 1-inch between each egg. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle remaining salt ove rthe top. Cover and simmer gently until egg whites are opaque and yolks are firm, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully ladle sauce and eggs into serving bowls and top with chopped parsley.
Mini Pancakes with Greek Yogurt and Fruit
Makes 10-12 depending on the size of your muffin cups.
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond-milk or low-fat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup fresh berries or fruit in season, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup sliced frozen peaches, defrosted
- 1/4 cup of your favorite jam
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place all of the batter ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.
Pour batter into greased or lined muffin cups, filling halfway.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until puffy and brown. The pancakes will deflate when you remove them from the oven.
Place a few sliced peaches on top of the pancake. Spoon on a tablespoon of yogurt followed by a teaspoon of jam. Decorate with berry slices, if desired.