A few weeks ago I had leftover kale and cauliflower from dinner. The recipe is a good one; there are olives and capers it’s full of salty goodness. I made a meal from what was left. This in itself wasn’t strange except for the fact that it was 8:30am. I tweeted about my peculiar morning meal and asked “is it normal to have kale and cauliflower for breakfast?” If we can use twitter as a barometer, it turns out people didn’t think my choice was that unusual. The ultrarunner Sarah Stanley informed me that she tries to have 5-10 vegetables for breakfast.
In other countries savory breakfasts are quite common. In Norway and smoked fish plays a prominent role in breakfast. In Costa Rica there’s Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) often served with eggs. In Japan miso soup and pickled plums are commonly served. It’s been documented that higher protein breakfasts result in lower calories consumed later in the day but there is also evidence that a savory breakfast can also help weight-wise. A study in the May issue of The Journal of Nutrition compared savory and sweet “preloads” or tastes. There was increased food intake after the sweet preload compared to the savory preload. The researchers concluded that savory taste might help regulate appetite.
I never could quite understand why breakfast is so often super sweet. Of course Americans are not alone in their predilection for sweet breakfasts, we didn’t invent the pain au chocolat. Nope, we invented fruity pebbles (1971) , pop tarts (1977) and muffins (3oz in 1950, more than doubled since) the size of our heads. While you may not be a full-fledged dinner for breakfast person (our lovely intern Joanna found the Japanese breakfast interesting but added “rice and beans in the morning? I don’t thing I could ever do that!”) what we eat early in the day can affect our food choices later. And whether it’s cereal or soda, most of us can benefit from eating a little less sweet. If we can have breakfast for dinner, why not have dinner foods for breakfast?
Are your breakfasts more often savory or sweet? What are your favorite breakfast foods? Do you ever eat dinner for breakfast? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had in the morning?