By Molly Patrick
May 29, 2021,
When someone transitions to a whole food plant based (WFPB) way of eating, one of the first questions they ask is: What do I eat for breakfast? Here in the United States, breakfast is typically unhealthy. Bacon, eggs, pancakes, sweet syrup, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, sugary cereal with cow’s milk, toast with lots of butter and sweet jam.
From typical American fare to plant based breakfast excellence
The three pillars of addictive food are salt, sugar, and fat.
With a typical American breakfast, you get all three of those in excess. When you stop eating meat, dairy, eggs, and oil, almost all typical American breakfast items are a no-go.
And if you’re used to eating typical American breakfasts, you won’t only be unsure of what to eat for breakfast, but your cravings for those breakfast foods will be intense. Don’t worry. Those pesky cravings will go away after a few weeks of eating a whole food plant based diet. It’s wild to experience cravings for unhealthy food disappear, it’s like a light switch that just gets turned off.
If you’re brand new to eating a WFPB diet, or you’re curious about what that might look like for you, I wrote this blog post that will walk you through the process of figuring out exactly what to eat when making the switch. If you’re ready to make the switch and need some breakfast ideas, this post has lots of whole food plant based breakfast ideas.
After eating this way for a long time and having tried all the plant based breakfast ideas, I now eat a variation of the same breakfast every morning. I have been doing this every morning for over a year and I’m still not sick of it. It has made my life easier, my mornings less stressful, and my other meals throughout the day consistent.
Plant based breakfast on the daily: here’s what I do.
I make a batch of Cold Grain Cereal on the weekend when I batch cook, and every morning I place some of the cereal in a bowl, top it with fresh fruit, some raisins, and some chopped nuts. I place a little plate over the bowl and I pop the bowl in the fridge. When I get hungry later in the morning, I take the bowl out of the fridge, add some unsweetened soy milk to it and chow. This could be heated up, but I like it best cold.
Eating this same plant based breakfast every morning works well for me for several reasons:
- It makes breakfast a no-brainer. It takes the thinking out of it. I have a lot to do in a day and mornings are always busy. The fewer decisions I have to make about what I’m going to eat, the better. I never have to decide what’s for breakfast or spend mental energy planning it out. I already know what I’m going to have each morning. I make it. I eat it. I move on with my morning.
- It’s easy to switch it up. I use different grains / lentils each time I make my Cold Grain Cereal, and I add different fruit each morning. This keeps me from getting bored. When you eat a healthy whole food plant based diet, it’s important to eat a wide range of nutrients from many different sources. Ideally, you don’t want to eat the same 10 foods on repeat, day in and day out. Regularly changing up the grains, legumes, and fruit in my breakfast adds to my nutrient diversity and keeps me from losing interest.
- You can take your plant based breakfast to go. If I’m not going to be home for breakfast because of errands, appointments, walks with my mom, mornings at the beach, hikes, etc.. I put my cereal in a to-go container and I take it with me. I just have to remember to grab a spoon and a napkin and I’m set. No need to eat out or get cranky from being hungry.
- It’s super fast. Once my big batch of cereal is cooked and in the fridge, it takes all of three minutes to put together my bowl. I literally spend less than 5 minutes on my plant based breakfast each morning. THAT is morning gold!
- It appeals to everyone. My non-WFPB (whole food plant based) wife loves this breakfast. I was not expecting this, but she loves it as much as I do, and she eats it every morning too. I make her a bowl when I make mine and pop them both in the fridge. I usually do this at around 6am. When she gets hungry she goes to the fridge, grabs her cereal and eats. When I get hungry I do the same. Spending time on breakfast is a thing of the past in my house.
- It’s a great way to use up random grains in your pantry. Making Cold Grain Cereal is awesome for using up the last odds and ends of different grains and lentils in my pantry. I finally have the perfect way to use up that last 1/4 cup of millet or 1/8 cup of buckwheat groats. This brings me a disproportionate amount of joy.
- It makes it easier to eat three awesome meals a day. Before I started eating this same plant based breakfast every morning, I realized that over time I had shifted into a pattern where I would have some fruit and then maybe a smoothie in the morning. Then I would kind of graze until lunch. My grazing pattern set me up to not be super hungry for lunch. So I would eat a small lunch and end up hungry before dinner.
I would snack before dinner and that would ruin my appetite for dinner. I would then have a small dinner or just some fruit or a piece of toast and almond butter, since I wasn’t hungry for a full meal. This pattern repeated itself most days. Now that I have a set breakfast, it’s much easier for me to eat a really satisfying, healthy lunch and delicious plant based meal plan for dinner. I don’t snack as much as I used to because I am satisfied by each of my meals.
Eating a variation of the same plant based breakfast every morning might not work for everyone, but it has definitely been a game-changer for me. If you’re considering making the switch to a whole food plant based diet and you’re nervous that it will be complicated, I can assure you that it doesn’t have to be complicated at all, especially not breakfast! Breakfast has become the easiest and most convenient meal of the day thanks to eating a variation of the same thing each morning.
What is your current plant based breakfast routine? Talk to us in the comments below!
If you’re not feeling Cold Grain Cereal yet, start with today’s recipe and throw it on repeat!
- 1½ cups unsweetened, non-dairy milk (360 ml)
- ¼ cup pitted dates, chopped (48 g)
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (64 g)
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds (AKA flaxmeal)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- ½ tablespoon ginger powder
- ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon clove powder
- 2½ cups rolled oats (not instant) (254 g)
- 2 cups frozen peaches, diced (can sub fresh, peeled) (250 g)
- ¼ cup raisins (40 g)
- ⅓ cup raw almonds, chopped (can sub sliced) (45 g)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Tip: To help your parchment lay flat in your baking dish, cut a piece to the size of your dish, then crumble it into a ball. Hold the ball briefly under running water to wet, then squeeze out any excess water. Smooth out the parchment, place it into your baking dish, and gently press it into place.
- Place all of the blender ingredients into your blender and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the dates to soak.
- Place the oats, diced peaches, and raisins into a mixing bowl.
- Blend the mixture in your blender until smooth and creamy. Transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl with the oats and stir well to combine making sure all of the oats are coated in the liquid.
- Transfer the mixture to your lined baking dish and spread out in an even layer. Sprinkle the almonds evenly on top.
- Bake until golden brown and firm in the center, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
- Serving suggestion: Top with sliced peaches and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with finding your plant based breakfast groove.
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I make your Instant pot Apple pie steel cut oats. I don’t put the apples in it. Instead I make the apple-pear sauce on the side and add it in the mornings, or your rich dessert bites :-), or frozen berries. I find the steel cut oats very comforting. Sometimes I will throw in any other grain I have made that needs to be eaten or some flax meal on top. I am excited to make the recipe you shared today
Most mornings I have old fashioned oatmeal or steel cut oats topped with several kinds of fruit, ground flax & chia seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg. For a change of pace, I’ll make a tofu scramble mixed with some tofu taco crumbles wrapped in a chickpea omelette with avocado and salsa verde.
Weekdays, I have old fashioned oats lightly cooked with dates and topped with frozen blueberries. Sometimes, I make the oatmeal with PB2 and banana or pumpkin and cinnamon. Weekends, hubby makes a traditional Jamaican breakfast. He cooks callaloo (a types of greens) with onions, tomatoes, jerk seasoning and scotch bonnet pepper. He serves it with boiled green bananas or “name,” a type of white yam. When we can find canned ackee, he makes that instead. Delicious!
I eat greens and beans for breakfast: 1/2 c beans, 1/2 zucchini, 1 c broccoli, 1 mushroom, 1 c chopped tomatoes, 1 green onion, 1/4 t cayenne, 1/4 t turmeric; sub any other veggies depending on what I have in the fridge/freezer. Cook it all through in the microwave. Filling, healthy, gets my greens in early.
Most mornings, I have overnight oats for breakfast. But if I forget to make them, I have sprouted grain bread toast with nut butter and a piece of fruit. I never tire of these meals!
I am a teacher and this school year I ate your cold cereal recipe EVERYDAY for lunch. I made it on Sunday and varied the grains. Then, throughout the week, I could vary the fruit and nuts. It was a game changer. Super easy to bring to school and I still look forward to eating it (one week of school left)! I can’t thank you enough for this recipe Molly!
First of all, this recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! Secondly, to answer the question, I eat some variation of whole grain cereal pretty much every morning. I change up the toppings with different fruits, nuts, and seeds and I am always so happy with it! Occasionally I will have sprouted toast (again, I vary the toppings-avocado with golden raisins and cayenne pepper, almond butter with bananas and berries, etc.) or a sweet potato with same variation of toppings. It’s all delicious and so satisfying!
This ginger peach coffee cake is super
Yum! Total hit with the whole fam? Nice change up from the lemon poppy muffs I have been making for the past month- everyone loves those, too!
SERIOUSLY – Go make this. Right now. What are you still doing here??? Go!
This is the most amazing baked oatmeal I’ve ever had. I have had it for breakfast every day for the last like 4 weeks.
I use fresh peaches and I don’t peel them.
I top with a fresh peach and a good dollop (or two) of almond butter.
Please, please, please, don’t pass this up. K bye!
It’s in the oven right now! My husband isn’t feeling well. We had a big lunch so I asked what would he think of having breakfast for dinner. Can’t wait till it’s done!
What can i use instead of black strap molasses
You can use coconut nectar, maple syrup, or date syrup in place of molasses. We haven’t tested the recipe with these substitutes, so we’re not sure of the final flavor and texture. Since these substitutes will likely be sweeter than molasses, I would start with less than the 2 tablespoons called for and taste before adding more.
looking forward to making this thanks
Let us know how you like it!