Meat Free Monday: What’s for Breakfast?

by Angela on December 30, 2011

This Monday I decided to change things up a little bit.  We usually post and review a recipe that can be served for dinner, but this week I wanted to write about the importance of eating breakfast.  For most people, breakfast is not usually a meat-packed meal anyway, so what a great way to start a meat free day!

By starting your day with a healthy breakfast, you are jump-starting your day, refueling your body and improving your overall health.  For adults, the benefits are that you are most likely to:

  • Eat more vitamins and minerals
  • Eat less fat and cholesterol
  • Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning
  • Control your weight
  • Have lower cholesterol, resulting in reduced risk for heart disease

For children and adolescents, breakfast is especially important.  The American Diabetic Association has indicated that children who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Concentrate better
  • Have better problem-solving skills
  • Have better hand-eye coordination
  • Be more alert and creative
  • Be more physically active

If the benefits for myself didn’t sell me on the idea of eating breakfast every day, the benefits for my kids definitely did.  So what does a healthy breakfast include?  Ideally, a healthy breakfast would include one or two items from the following core groups:

  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat proteins such as eggs, peanut butter and lean meats or fish
  • Low-fat dairy such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt and cheeses (cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Fruits and vegetables

By eating a well rounded, healthy breakfast, not only does it provide health benefits, but it will also leave you feeling very full and less likely to snack or eat too much for lunch.

With kids in the house, it is inevitable that at least a couple days a week they are eating cereal for breakfast.  And cereal bars are a likely snack in my household as well.  As you’ve probably guessed, not all cereal or cereal bars are created equal.  When purchasing cereal for your family, read the label and look for 3-5 (or more) grams of fiber per serving, less than 13 grams of sugar per serving, and less than 120 calories per serving.

As many of you know, this past week Deena and I completed a 28-day detox challenge.  On Friday the daily challenge was to try quinoa for breakfast, so I did!  And it was really good!  I wrote about the benefits of quinoa in a past meat free article.  The following recipe comes from the Whole Living site (I substituted the blueberries with strawberries):

Breakfast Quinoa

click here for printable version

2 cups whole or low-fat milk, plus more for serving

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

3 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving

1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving


1.Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2.Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries.

Another breakfast I tried this week was a double green smoothie recipe I read on Whole Food’s Blog, Whole Story.  What was great about this recipe is that my kids loved it and had NO idea they were drinking vegetables!  That’s 1 point for mom!   I did not have spinach leaves or dried apricots or dates, so I omitted these.  I used almond milk and added a scoop of whey vanilla protein powder and it was delicious.

Double Green Smoothie

1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy beverage, such as almond, rice or soy

2 dried apricots or 4 pitted dates

1 banana

1 cup chopped kale leaves

1 cup spinach leaves

1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries


Combine non-dairy beverage, apricots, banana, kale, spinach and berries in a blender and blend until smooth.

We’d love to read your ideas or recipes for a healthy breakfast.  How do you eat on the go?  What’s your favorite healthy breakfast?  I think I just found two of my favorites above!  Oh, and of course the Spinach and Feta Quiche and Broccoli Quiche we’ve already posted!   Enjoy!

Note:  The information on the benefits of breakfast in this article were found on the web at
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Comments on this entry are closed.

Kiran August 29, 2012 at 12:26 am

I made quinoa sevrael times this past year, and loved all of the incarnations, including this one:) I am happy that your first attempt was a success – now you just have to experiment and find the combinations of flavors and spices that suit you:) One of my favorites is quinoa with sweet potatoes and bell peppers, a recipe of Mark Bittman’s.I cannot stop looking at your photos. Truly stunning!

Wendy February 11, 2011 at 5:35 am

The quinoa breakfast recipe is delicious! The texture is unique but not bad and flavor was great.

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