Why Breakfast Keeps Me Up At Night

February 9, 2012   26 Comments

Do you spend a lot of your time worrying? I certainly hope you don't worry in the middle of the night like me.

Healthy Ideas For Breakfast

I find myself obsessing about breakfast. Snack Girl has many breakfast recipes - not because I am a breakfast guru - but because I am struggling with the meal.

You see that photo above? Eggs, hash browns, toast, coffee, and bacon - that is the breakfast that I want to eat. I grew up loving this massive meal of meat, carbs, and more carbs - and I have come to accept this isn't the best choice.

My breakfast desires started to shift when I visited China. Guess what people were eating for breakfast? The same foods they ate all day! That's right, they didn't have a breakfast meal versus a lunch or dinner meal. They would cook some veggies and a little meat and add it to rice and eat that all day. This was my experience in rural China.

And in Central America, I noticed that people eat rice and beans all day - there is always a portion of rice and beans somewhere on the plate no matter what meal they are eating.

So, it came into my head that I don't have to differentiate BREAKFAST from lunch or dinner. I can eat a salad for breakfast or leftover dinner from the previous night.

Breakfast can be what I make it. The thing is that I am not comfortable changing my breakfast. The start of my day needs to be without conflict. Easy, simple, relaxing, and above all fast.

My first idea was to try to incorporate something fresh - so I started having fruit instead of hash browns or toast. I found that I had more energy when I grabbed an apple with my breakfast than without it.

I still want the breakfast photographed above - but I am slowly changing my habits. My advice is to:

  • Take baby steps toward healthier breakfasts
  • Make adding fruits and/or vegetables a priority
  • Keep trying different breakfasts until you find your healthy solution

If you try to go from donuts to tofu in just one step - you will relapse back to donuts. What you cannot do is deny yourself the food that you love. You don't want to suffer, right? Breakfast can't be about pain.

Just like my five minute to fitness concept - try to change just one breakfast per week. For example, in January I added grapefruit to my breakfast one week and I loved it.

and then my husband ate my breakfast grapefruit before I could...argh!

I guess breakfast in my house is still a work in progress. Below is a list I made of healthy breakfast ideas here on Snack Girl - check them out for ideas.

How do you deal with updating the classic American breakfast?

Other posts you might like:


Top Ten Healthy And Yummy Breakfast Ideas

Snack Girl has a confession to make. She has snuck in lots of breakfast ideas on her "snack" website....


The Three Step Process That Will Solve Your Cereal Dilemma

Packaged cereal is a quagmire of marketing HOOEY. For example, I have seen Kellogg's emphasizing high fiber on its boxes of "Apple Jacks"....

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 26 )

Thank you so much for sharing this article! Breakfast in our house is big only when my husband is home in the mornings. I like the thought of making breakfast your own. Especially when you are trying to be a better and healthier eater.

I am so comforted that you obsess about breakfast. I obsess about lunch and dinner, too.

My wife and I watched Michael Pollan's Authors@Google talk last weekend ( and he mentioned the Battle Creek sanitarium and how breakfast cereal was intended to boost intake of carbohydrates. I suspect that Kellogg's (Kellogg (among other famous folks) was a patient at said sanitarium) goal was to get us all convinced that breakfast = time for major carbo-loading for the day.

This all reminds me of a previous comment of yours, Lisa, where you said that trail mix is great if you're hiking, but not if you're eating it on the couch. I suppose that breakfast carbo-loading is great if your body is going to use the fuel, but if you're going to sit in front of the computer for the next eight hours, probably not as critical a preparation. :)

I feel a little awkward about pimping someone else's work on Lisa's blog, but my wife and I watched this "How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind" talk by Doug Lisle PhD ( a few weeks ago and it really cleared things up for us. It's absolutely worth the time.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! I could eat it anytime!! Yum!! ;)

Don't forget scrambled tofu wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla....yum yum yum.

I'm guilty of both desiring a big breakfast and skipping breakfast. On the weekends if we're all home I cook a big breakfast, during the week the kids have a choice of oatmeal or cereal and often I skip eating. Bad, bad, bad... I know! I'm more focused and stick to my good food goals better when I eat breakfast. Today I managed an egg scramble sandwich. 1 egg + 1 serving egg whites + 2 T low fat milk scrambled & cooked and eaten on toast with a slice of american cheese (to hold it all in there). I still have to figure my WW points, but it was divine with my coffee - in my Starbucks mug of course! :)

I love big breakfasts like the picture too! My husband and I will only indulge in that during the summer months - when we bike two hours to a great brunch place, then bike home again! Otherwise, when at home, I'll fry up onions, cauliflower, sweet potato, mushrooms, and kale, and serve with a piece of toast. Better than hashbrowns, with a lot less fat and more flavour!

@ Michelle. Your 'hash-browned" veggies sound like a dish fit for a Roman emperor. Aw nuts, my mouth just watered all over my keyboard.

Usually when I go to bed it's because I am so hungry, so I go to sleep thinking about breakfast. Then I always end up waking up earlier and earlier every day. My body wants breakfast! I've been trying to healthify breakfast for so long, and it's a terrible struggle.

......sitting here thinking about the container of Black Bean & Turkey Combo in the fridge....for breakfast.

Weight Watchers got me started eating breakfast and I have found that I need protien to really feel full. I usually have 1 egg with 1 serv. of egg-beaters and a grapefruit and a bagel thin and that keeps me going till lunch. The bfast pictured looks great but that was a by-gone time.

I love a hot breakfast especially in snowy nebraska...I make a egg casserole (don't be scared) with whatever veggies are in my fridge... 6 eggs and 6 egg whites whipped together, 1/2 c. To 1 c. Cheese and veggies, mix all together and pour into 11x7 pam sprayed pan, bake at 350 for 40 minutes... my fave combinations... eggs, feta (1/2c) 2-3 roma tomatoes and 1/2 bag frozen( spinach thawed and squeezed) m other fave combo is eggs,onion, green pepper, mushrooms and 1 c. Sharp cheese... when I'm lazy I'll drain a cup or 2 of salsa and use that with sharp cheese! This reheats wonderfully in the microwave HOT breakfast! Enjoy!

Since I started nutritional cleansing over 4 years ago, my whole family has protein shakes for breakfast. I really appreciate the convenience and the ease - even my youngest (6 at time we started this routine) can easily make her own "breakfast."

I am in the handmade freezer mode for breakfast! I have recently started making a weeks worth of steel cut oats, when I have the time. Fill muffin tins with the oatmeal, freeze, pop them out and into a freezer bag. So easy to zap them in the micro, add some cranberries and slivered almonds.....breakfast done! Saves so much time. Make ahead scrambled eggs with veggies and turkey bacon or sausage from the freezer is a great healthy time-saver too :)

I am a believer in 'making ahead' as much as possible. Once a week I make a double batch of Gluten Free whole grain blueberry pancakes (with one scoop of protein powder added to the batter), batch of Gluten Free chocolate chip waffles (with a scoop of protein powder mixed in the batter), and a batch of what my kids call "donut muffins" (Also Gluten Free, and again, with a scoop of protein powder in the batter). I freeze it all, and then while the kids a re getting up, I reheat whatever they want in the microwave while I fry up a few pieces of turkey bacon. Breakfast for the five us is in 15 minutes. The girls get a good, healthy breakfast that keeps them full until lunch, and I only have to spend part of a morning baking, instead of every day. :) Hope this helps!

@Kandi- brilliant! We [heart] steel-cut oatmeal; I just shared that with my wife! Thanks for the idea!

The single most important food choice that I make all day is to eat a protein-rich breakfast. Every single day. If I tilt the balance too much towards carbs--even a bowl of a so-called high-protein cereal, like GoLean--I'm ravenously hungry by mid-morning and I've set myself up to overeat for the rest of the day. I start most days with 2 eggs (maybe 3.) Usually I just mix up some egg salad and eat it from a bowl. The protein & fat from the mayo keep me full for 5 hours until lunch. No morning snack required. I eat sausage or bacon if I have time, or sometimes I'll make a breakfast burrito with a lowcarb tortilla. On those days, I'm lucky if I'm hungry by 1pm because lowcarb tortillas contain so much fiber (unlike regular tortillas, which often have none.) My kids enjoy waffles and cereal but I try to always give them some protein beyond the 1/2c milk in their cereal. It keeps them going longer.

Aside of steel cut oats, I get nauseated by breakfast. Not the foods (love love love bacon), just the type of American breakfast foods upsets my stomach. I started eating things like lentil soup in the morning. I am still getting used to it, but it does some how seem wrong. And I spent months in Costa Rica where beans and rice were bkfast, lunch and dinner. Silly habits :)

The breakfast I worry about is my kids' - I'm slowly trying to improve what they eat. Hubby still thinks breakfast is a bowl of cereal, but the kids rarely get enough to eat that way and then they're crying for a snack an hour later! So I've started making a list in Evernote of "approved" breakfast ideas that the kids will actually eat, so that we don't have to really think about it too much first thing in the morning. Since my kids are preschool and younger, breakfast and lunch are their big meals so they really have to pack a nutritional punch - can't wait for dinner to do that because they don't often eat much at dinner.

Thanks for pointing out how some other cultures eat breakfast; it's so sad that we've lost some of these great food traditions in our melting pot. Actually, some of the suggestions on my breakfast list include dinner leftovers, pizza, and quesadilla/burrito.

my breakfast, very often, is 1/2 cup kidney beans, with a bit of cheese (chedder or a laughing cow wedge) and salsa.

If I feel more breakfast-y, its some eggbeaters. Or some plain oatmeal with a tablespoon of powdered peanut butter and a little brown sugar. But its usually the first thing, since its fast and keeps me full.

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