Easy Whole Food, Plant-Based Breakfast Ideas
When I first switched to a whole food, plant-based diet I’d stress about what to eat. I’d scour the web for recipes, always on the lookout for something quick, easy, and satisfying. I spent a lot of time trying recipes with disappointing results in many cases. I didn’t have a good feel for what I liked yet, or what foods to keep on hand. I had to unlearn years of poor eating habits and replace them with healthy habits.
Over the last several months, I’ve gotten much better at whipping up creative meals with what I’ve got on hand. I’ve also learned what to have on hand (see my Essentials page). Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have to follow specific recipes. I can mix and match foods I like with great results.
The bottom line here is that it takes time to settle into new habits. If you’re going to change your eating habits, like I did, you have to give it time. It’s going to be difficult at first, but if you stick with it you’ll learn what works for you. For me, it’s been worth the effort, and I can’t imagine going back to my old eating habits.
Steel Cut Oats
One of my favorite breakfast foods is steel cut oats. They’re easy to make, healthy, and very satisfying. To me, they have a buttery flavor, and I love the creamy texture. My favorite way to cook steel cut oats is in my Instant Pot, but you can also simmer them on the stove. Simmering takes about 20 – 30 minutes, and you can do this in large batches and refrigerate so you’ve got oatmeal for the whole week.
I like to add some plant-based milk to my oatmeal, to thin it out a bit. Then I like to add a few chopped dates, some raisins, banana, walnuts, chia pudding, and sometimes I’ll add a little dry cereal (keep reading for cereals I like) for some crunch. So delicious!
Here’s how I cook mine in the Instant Pot:
- 1 Cup Steel Cut Oats
- 3 Cups Water
- Spices (such as cinnamon, optional)
- This can be whatever you like. I typically add fresh berries, walnuts, banana, raisins, dates, cinnamon, some plant-based milk and/or chia seeds.
- Add oats and water to Instant Pot.
- Close Vent.
- Using manual mode, set Instant Pot to 3 minutes and turn off the “keep warm” feature.
- Allow Instant Pot pressure to release naturally.
- Add spices and toppings.
Chia seeds are very healthy, and they’re extremely easy to incorporate into your breakfasts with a little bit of pre-planning. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids and loaded with fiber. When you soak chia seeds in water, or a plant-based milk, they form a gel-like ”pudding”. I like to add fresh fruit, nuts, dates, and/or raisins to chia pudding for breakfast. Or, more commonly, I’ll mix chia pudding into my oatmeal or cereal. To make chia pudding, add one part chia seeds, and three (for a thicker consistency) to four (for a thinner consistency) parts plant-based milk to a jar and refrigerate overnight. I like mine thinner, so here’s my “recipe” (which makes enough to last me a week or more):
- 1 Cup chia seeds
- 4 Cups plant-based milk (I use plain, unsweetened almond milk)
- 1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a jar.
- Refrigerate overnight.
There are a few different kinds of cereal I really like. Uncle Sam’s, which you can find at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or possibly in the health food section of your local grocery store. You can also get it from Amazon as a last resort because it’s pretty pricey. Another line of cereals I really like is the Engine 2 cereals, which you can find at Whole Foods. My absolute favorite right now is the Ezekiel cereals. I’ve found these at Whole Foods, as well Kroger’s while traveling recently. They’re also available from Amazon. I typically add chia pudding, walnuts, banana, blueberries, and other fresh fruit to my cereal. And, of course, I eat my cereal with plant-based milk.
Don’t be afraid to try new food combinations. If I’ve learned anything since switching to a whole food, plant-based diet it’s that there’s no right or wrong. Get creative. Experiment. Like me, you’ll probably find new food combinations that you love.