What’s for (Grain Free) Breakfast These Days?

August 7th, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Breakfast

I’ve had a number of conversations with some friends and family about breakfast recently, and so I decided to put together a collection of morning food photos from the past few months.  Once upon a time I ate overnight oats for breakfast every day!  As I’ve mentioned more than once lately, I’m going the grain free route most of the time and don’t even miss my beloved oats, cold cereal or cinnamon raisin Ezekiel toast with almond butter and banana.

(This [sorta scary] blog post is a good but lengthy explanation of why I’ve chosen to follow a mostly grain free lifestyle.  The Paleo Solution, Wheat Belly and The Primal Blueprint are loaded with convincing info and studies too.)

I’m up every day right around 6 AM, drink a couple cups of coffee with half and half and usually feel ready for something more substantial anywhere between 9:30 and 10:30.  These days, breakfast is usually some form of protein and a vegetable.

This was today’s breakfast beauty, tossed salad with salmon.  I had an email conversation with a friend yesterday about canned salmon and it left me with a hankering for salmon salad this morning.

Salmon Salad

This salad started with half an avocado (mashed), a tbsp of dijon mustard, a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Once my dressing ingredients were well combined, I added half a can of salmon and then half a small cucumber, one shredded carrot and half of a giant (DELICIOUS!) tomato and a heaping handful of pre-prepped salad greens.

Stirred together to coat the vegetables well with the fish and dressing mix, and then plopped it into a shallow salad plate and called it breakfast.

(The Other Half got an exact replica of this salad with the other half of all the half ingredients I just listed.)

If it’s not a vegetable on the side, it’s a low sugar fruit like berries.  We are smack dab in the middle of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year in upstate New York and I am berry, berry happy about that.  (*insert canned laughter here*)

A breakfast example from earlier this summer, leftover salmon from dinner with some strawberries and raspberries.

Pink Breakfast

This particular pink breakfast was shared with the guy in green.

Breakfast Sharing

Another day it was one over easy egg (usually two, but there was only one egg left!) a couple of Applegate Farms sausage links with a side of steamed broccoli.

Sausage Egg Broccoli

Making extra of whatever we’re having for dinner makes it easy to add to add some vegetables to my breakfast plate.

Same plate, different day.  Same vegetable, different meat.  Two over easy eggs, bacon and more broccoli.

Broccoli Bacon Eggs

If I have time in the morning, I might saute up a big bunch of kale.  This was breakfast earlier this week, served along side sliced ham from a local pig farmer.

Ham and Sauteed Kale

In order to prep kale though, I need to find a way to keep the little boy busy,

Keep Him Busy

or else this happens while I’m standing at the sink.

Kaz on Table

(Do you see what I mean? This is also the reason my kitchen chairs are now laying on their sides for most the day.)

When he’s at the sink he’s photo bombing my kale pictures, but at least he’s not standing on the table.

Kale Photo Bomber

If I’m short on time or we need to be out the door first thing, I usually go the “yogurt and berries” route.

Plain whole milk kefir, a handful of frozen strawberries, half a banana, a handful of spinach – GO!

Strawberry Spinach Kefir Smoothie

Or kefir poured over fresh strawberries, no blender needed – I’ll use my teeth today, thanks.  (P.S., this makes a great afternoon snack too.)


A patriotic combo of blueberries, plain full fat greek yogurt and strawberries.

Berry Bowl

Or some pitted cherries, sunk into a bowl of regular plain full fat yogurt.

Cherries and Plain Yogurt

And for the record, I use to think people who ate plain yogurt had no taste buds, but plain yogurt is The Bomb.  The Fermented Bomb.  Maybe it’s because I go the full fat/whole milk route now so it’s more palatble than low fat or fat free?  Whatever the case, I love it – don’t be afraid to try it!

So that’s what I’ve got.  Eating anything good for breakfast these days?  Tell us all about it!

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17 Responses

  • jen says:

    I don’t know what it is but I LOVE the egg/broccoli combo.. I do the same as you and heat up the leftover broccoli with an egg. I like to have an egg for lunch sometimes too. I’m still on the yogurt/banana/choc chip/granola thing but actually was planning on looking up some kind of no/low grain combo. I had a bad week.. and always forget that eating bread and pasta just makes me want to eat all the things. I am huge on eating fruit for lunch lately! I am not there yet with plain yogurt haha.. I am finally getting to the point where I can eat vanilla yogurt straight up. Off to re-read salmon article now haha!

  • mike lally says:

    Thanks for this post, Alison. I have been struggling to get back on the Primal train since my surgery. I’ve been on a bread and sugar binge. This morning though I had some string veggies that I get pre-shredded/stringed from Wegmans. I threw in some pre-cooked and pre-chopped up bacon. And two eggs. I had a Vitamixed 2 cups of Chocolate Pur-eh tea with some Hemp Force powder, Coconut Oil, MCT-oil and a little grass-fed butter. Trying to light that Primal spark again. I am convinced it is because I am not around Zak and Patrick that is making it so hard to get back on track.

    • The same thing happened to me after Kaz was born – it was bagels and sandwiches all the time for a while there because they were fast, easy and tasty. Slow and steady, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now! And I agree… being surrounded by like minded people makes a big difference in motivation and commitment levels! I’ve been listening to a couple new Paleo podcasts (Everyday Paleo and Balanced Bites) and I swear they make it easier to stay committed.

  • CATHY says:

    I do partly paleo too. Can I ask why you wait 3-4 hours after waking to eat? I usually make a veggie and meat fritta or omelet muffins on the weekend to get me through the work week.

    • I wait until later in the morning to eat because I practice Intermittent Fasting (really, I just eat when I feel hungry, which happens to be later in the morning now than it use to be a few years ago) but also because eating a meat/egg meal is sort of “heavy” – I’m more in the mood for a breakfast like this a little later in the morning than I would be at 6 AM. I just mentioned that for anyone who might be interested in trying grain free breakfasts but can’t imagine eating something heavy in meat/protein at the crack of dawn.

      Love the omelet muffin idea for a healthy, make ahead breakfast when there’s not a lot of time in the morning!

  • Katheryn says:

    Your breakfasts look so good. I think I’ll whip some of these up! Thanks!

  • Courtney says:

    I am interested in giving this a try. How long did it take you to feel better? Did it take 3 months? Are you able to get your kids to eat a no grain breakfast? I can’t imagine getting my kids off of grains and sugar (ie plain yogurt instead of vanilla!). Any tips to get kids on board would be appreciated.
    Oh, and I am a former vegetarian that is slowly adding some good quality meat to my diet, but I can’t get my husband and 9 year old daughter on board with me (daughters age 5 and 2 have no problem eating meat 😉

    Thanks for all your thoughtful posts.

    • Hey Courtney, I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf in early June and he’s very persuading about trying it for 30 days. Because of this “30 Day” concept, I kept notes in my day planner (nerd alert!) so I can tell you with certainty that l felt noticeably better by Day 18, and on Day 22 I wrote “best day yet”! And when I say “better”, I mean no sugar or carb cravings, reduced hunger and just feeling really GOOD in general. (I believe less cardio and running has helped with these things too. I’m still walking, practicing yoga and do sprint intervals every 7 – 10 days.) “Paleo” also means no dairy, but I’ve kept some dairy in without issue. I still put cream in my coffee and stlll eat yogurt, but I do eat less cheese, only because I don’t really miss it. (I would definitely miss creamer and yogurt!) The biggest change for me was eliminating grains almost completely, as well as refined sugar most of the time too. Again, this is just “most of the time”, there will always be room for exception!

      As far as the kids go, I’m in the same boat with the big girls. They eat Ezekiel (sprouted grain) toast or for sandwiches, oatmeal for breakfast once in a while, bagels sometimes too if we’re out and about… I don’t buy cereal, boxed mac and cheese, crackers, granola bars, etc anymore, so they are not in the house and simply aren’t an option. (But they can eat whatever they want at a friend’s house, a party, etc.) We’ve had a lot of conversations about “why” I don’t feed them a ton of grains, and they know I’m only offering a meal with bread/grains for them once a day. Most days they have fruit smoothie for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, yogurt as a part of a snack, eggs for dinner if they don’t like what I’m making. Reducing the amount of grains they eat has been a long, slow process for sure.

      They too will only eat vanilla yogurt or sweetened kefir. I’ve thought about mixing in some plain to help them slowly adjust to a lower sugar content, but if they saw me do it they’d refuse to eat it!

      My 9 y.o. will sometimes eat meat, my 6 year old will not. Kaz eats anything! I was pretty much the only meat eater here for a while, Zak came around after reading Deep Nutrition and having conversations with other people who went from being veg to mindfully returning to eating meat. This too was a long, slow process, but once he read it for himself, he agreed with the nutritional science behind my reasons for eating meat again.

  • Erin says:

    Your local ham looks LEGIT, lady. Bravo on your yummy breakfasts! I’ve been going for eggs, greens, sauerkraut and sometimes bacon for my breakfasts, after several (or fifteen) cups of coffee with frothed coconut milk and grass-fed gelatin. Are you into gelatin? You should try it!

    • I think of you everytime I buy Bubbies sauerkraut! I am into gelatin, I haven’t put it in coffee yet but I do make my own gummies – love that coconut oil coffee for sure!

  • Lincoln says:

    I always enjoyed reading about your creative and tasty dishes and they provided me with some good ideas and recipes. Now, I would like to add a different perspective to the grain-free diet. Considering that for the most part of human history, labor was the primary activity throughout the day and carbohydrate is the essential fuel to sustain physical activities through the day. Modern sedentary lifestyle combined with abundant food created all types of problem leading to various diets to treat the symptoms. I think the key is balance, variety and moderation in one’s diet instead of various radical diets. If you take a look at the traditional Chinese breakfast for example, it has a variety of grain and very little to no added sugar (porridge, eggs, pickled vegetables, buns, stuffed buns, various tofu products, soy milk, beans, etc.), yet, historically, Chinese people have some of lowest cardiovascular and diabetic diseases, and much leaner on average compared to the Americans. This is without any special type of diet, it’s just what they eat normally.

    • I appreciate your perspective Lincoln, thanks. I would argue that for most of human history (before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago) fat (both dietary and stored body fat) was the main source of fuel for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. I find the case against grain consumption to be very compelling. Humans didn’t consume grains until the advent of agriculture, grains contain little to no nutrition unless they are fortified with minerals and vitamins. The research that points to grains as the cause of many of today’s common health problems (obesity, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, digestive troubles) is pretty convincing. Removing grains doesn’t just treat the symptoms, for many it’s the actual cause of their troubles. At the very least, going to extremes (removing completely or even significantly reducing grain consumption) can help increase personal awareness to the food choices we make and why, and can also make it easier to find balance and moderation down the road when eating a diet full of whole foods is more of norm, instead of the exception.