I’m trying to increase the amount of plants I consume, but am finding it hard at breakfast. What are some easy plant-based breakfast ideas?
Congratulations on committing to eating more plants! While lunch and dinner may be easier meals to imagine filled with plants, breakfast tends to be a challenge as many people associate the first meal of the day with sweets like pancakes and pastries, or with animal-based foods (we’re looking at you, bacon and eggs). However, plants can — and should — have a place at the morning table, and with a few simple foundational recipes, you’ll have an endless amount of plant-filled meal ideas.
The first step is to ensure you’re combining foods that will maximize satiety and keep you fueled throughout the morning. This key is creating meals from four main food groups:
- Produce: fruits and vegetables
- Complex carbohydrates such as oats, whole grain breads, or starchy vegetables
- Plant-based proteins like beans, legumes, tofu, and quinoa
- Healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocado, and plant-based oils
Here are a few quick and easy plant-filled breakfast concepts that combine the above and can easily be adapted for endless morning meals:
- Overnight oats (or other grains): Combine raw oats with a chia seeds, plant-based milk, and your favorite fruit (berries, apples, banana) in a small jar and let sit overnight for a fast yet filling first meal. For extra staying power, swirl in a tablespoon of nut butter or top with nuts or seeds.
- Breakfast grain bowl: Cook up oats, quinoa, or another favorite grain and then add fruit and nuts for a sweet option or some greens, avocado, and hemp seeds for a savory option.
- Chia pudding: Chia seeds become gelatinous when wet, so mixing them with a plant-based milk and refrigerating will make for a delicious morning pudding that is an alternative to yogurt with fruit and granola. Top with your favorite fruit. Try our favorite chia seed pudding recipe!
- Homemade whole-grain granola: Making your own granola or muesli is super simple; just mix your favorite grains (oats are a staple, but get creative!) with nuts, seeds, and a bit of maple syrup and toast in the oven. Eat alone or sprinkle on top of your overnight oats or chia pudding. Try your hand at this tasty homemade granola!
- Tofu scrambles: Skip the eggs and scramble vegetables with tofu instead for a protein and vegetable-packed savory morning meal. Simple stir-fry your favorite vegetables with soft tofu and spices for a great egg-free scramble alternative.
- Breakfast burritos: Roll up vegetables, tofu, rice, beans, or potatoes into small breakfast burritos to grab on the go for busy mornings.
- Vegetable-packed smoothies: if your morning smoothies typically only contain fruit, you’re missing out on a delicious plant punch from vegetables. To bulk up your frozen meal in a glass, try adding beets, sweet potatoes, or greens like kale and spinach, as well as whole grains like oats and a bit of healthy fats like nut butters. You can also add raw oats or chickpeas for a thicker, creamier smoothie packed with extra fiber and protein.
- Savory breakfasts: Many cultures around the world don’t distinguish breakfast foods from other meals, so go global with a Thai soup, Chinese congee, last night’s leftover roasted sweet potato or other root vegetables instead of your usual breakfast picks (also a great idea for last night’s leftovers).
With a little planning the plant-based breakfast possibilities are endless!
At Bon Appétit, we know there’s a lot on your plate that you worry about. That’s why we have a team of registered dietitian nutritionists and chefs ready to answer your nutrition questions about which food choices will help you feel your best, work or study (and sleep!) better, and form long-lasting healthy eating habits. Email your questions and feedback to [email protected].