By Leah S. Dunaief
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. Now I’m not one of those happy people who awaken with the dawn, but I will say that my first thought after I open my eyes is usually breakfast. It used to be that I had to get up and walk the dog, but that’s history. Now, as soon as sleep is over, I am hungry.
Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I don’t eat past dinner, and that my dinner usually ends by 7:00 p.m. or even earlier. That means I have been fasting for at least 12 hours, maybe even 14, so my lustful appetite would seem valid. I start thinking about what I am going to make for breakfast while I am brushing my teeth. It’s almost never what you might expect.
I guess the traditional American breakfast is eggs and toast, and maybe some sort of meat, like bacon or ham. Or people start the day with cold cereal and milk in a bowl or hot oatmeal, with maybe some fruit on top. That’s if they have time to fix breakfast.
Many people just run through the kitchen, put on their jackets and rush out the door to work or to school. Perhaps they might snag a roll or a piece of fruit on the way out, maybe even a cup of coffee if they remembered to plug in the pot the night before and to push the button on the way to the bathroom in the morning. Incredible as it sounds to me, I even know some people who eat nothing until dinner—a big dinner that then stretches right up to bedtime.
So what do I eat?
I might eat an egg with some veggies thrown in if it’s a weekend and I have time to cook. I particularly like English muffins with Irish butter and one of any number of different jams I harbor in my fridge. More often I will heat up some green lentil pasta that I prepared in advance, top it with low sodium spaghetti sauce and a couple of spices, and munch away. (Don’t Yuk! Just try it.) The green lentil flour, which comes in a box, is loaded with good nutrients: 11 grams of fiber; 25 grams plant-based protein. My favorite shape for the flour is rotini; it makes me think I am eating wheat pasta. And by the way, it’s made in Italy.
Or, I might finish off the previous night’s leftovers. That could be anything from shrimp, which I love, or a kind of white flaky fish like branzino or salmon. Now you might be taken aback by the nonconformist choices I make in the morning, so I will explain. I have had the pleasure of traveling to a number of different countries and eating their traditional breakfasts, so I am not in the least put off by eating my leftover sushi that I brought in the previous night. It makes me think I am in Bali.
On rainy mornings, I have the urge for pancakes because my mother, when I was a child, often made silver dollar pancakes for breakfast when it rained, especially if it rained really hard. The wonderful smell would fill the kitchen and bring us quickly to the table. I never put butter or syrup or powdered sugar on them; they were just delicious straight from the pan. I confess, though, that now I hardly ever have time to make them. I’m too busy looking for an umbrella.
Instead I grab a smoothie, filled with frozen fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, like baby bok choy and baby kale, that is pre-made in the refrigerator and carry it to my office, where I sip it through a straw for a couple of hours.
Another unorthodox breakfast that I enjoy is a salad, one with cucumbers, tomatoes, pears and walnuts, perked up with a little balsamic vinegar. I don’t care for iceberg lettuce much, preferring romaine and mixed greens.
I have learned that only some 35 percent of Americans eat breakfast every morning. How about you?