My 5 Most Customizable Vegan Breakfast Ideas
We are often told that eating a healthy, balanced breakfast is one of the most important things we can do. And for me this is true to some extent. While I wouldn't say that having breakfast as soon as I get up works best for me, I do feel like the first meal of the day should be nutritious and healthy. I find that the first thing I eat sets me up for the rest of the day. So even if I sometimes don't eat until 11 am or even later (more on intuitive eating later!), what I eat feels tremendously important.
If I start my day with something that's too high in sugar, I know I definitely won't feel my best for the hours that follow. If I don't eat enough, I'm going to be more tempted to snack on bread or sugary foods. And if my food isn't at the temperature my body needs, no amount of cups of tea or cold drinks will quite compensate for it. I don't know : is this strange?
The issue when our breakfast requirements are so particular is that it can sometimes be difficult to find suitable options without feeling like we're always eating the exact same thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and I've been known to eat the same breakfast for weeks when the mood strikes, but for most of us a little variety never hurts. Plus it's an opportunity to get many different vitamins and nutrients on rotation that you wouldn't get if you chose to eat the exact same thing every day.
So here are my 5 go-to breakfast options that can be customized to infinity for the perfect morning meal, regardless of the season or your appetite!
Need I go on? Well yes, perhaps a little.
If you need a filling breakfast that won't leave you feeling weighed down, oats are the answer.
During the cold season, oatmeal (or porridge), to me, is the perfect choice. It lends itself to such a wide variety of flavours and textures that it's virtually impossible to get bored!
What I always do is add a banana while the oats are cooking. It sweetens the oats naturally, makes the meal more filling and gives it a wonderful texture.
Then the only limit is your imagination! Try adding cubed apple and cinnamon for an Autumn version. In early Spring, strawberries (or any frozen berries you like!) an a pinch of vanilla impart a wonderfully fresh flavour. If you need a bit of coziness, using a plant mylk of your choice can make your porridge as soft as a cloud. And if you are dealing with too much stress, the cacao and maca combination will do wonders.
Don't skimp on the toppings either:
For a nice crunch, add various seeds and nuts if you want the absolute healthiest option, or go for some delicious granola.
I almost never have a bowl of oatmeal without some kind of nut butter. Peanut is simple, cheap and full of protein, but hazelnut will go great with a chocolate bowl while almond will pair perfectly with a more fruity combination.
And speaking of fruit, adding some raw fruit on top is also delicious. Berries, kiwi, the rest of your banana if you used half of a large one inside the porridge itself... Even dried fruits can be great if you have a sweet tooth.
And in the warmer months, overnight oats are the way to go.
Instead of cooking your oats, you simply let them sit overnight in some mylk. It's perfect for when you know you won't have much time to prepare your breakfast the next day.
The same principles as the cooked version apply: add fruits, seeds, nuts, spices, nut butters, etc.
And the one thing I never go without is a tablespoon of omega-3 rich seeds such as hemp hearts, ground flax seeds or chia seeds.
Here's another favourite for those who enjoy a healthful and filling breakfast, so long as you follow a few ground rules.
As smoothies typically contain a lot of fruit, I never add juice or sweetened mylks to them. I usually even stick with water.
To me, no smoothie can exist without a banana - but perhaps that's just me, since I apparently can't ever start the day without one!
Frozen berries are a quick, easy and tasty addition that's also full of vitamins. But any fruits and veggies you enjoy can be included in whatever combination you like.
In summer, berries, peaches, watermelon, etc. there are so many to choose from!
In autumn, I enjoy the fig, grapes and pear combination the most. I'll sometimes also add cooked pumpkin to my smoothies, and perhaps pumpkin spice.
In winter, if I'm going to have a smoothie at all, I will make it with hot water so it's more like a fruity soup! That's also when I'm going to enjoy adding cacao or maca powder to a banana and pineapple smoothie, for instance.
And once again, never without my omega-3 filled seeds!
Some people will add a scoop of protein powder or oats, but if I'm really hungry I will usually go for a tablespoon of nut butter instead. You do you!
And don't forget: kale and spinach will go practically unnoticed!
This one, to me, is not really a go-to. It's more of a brunch option that I'll make whenever I'm really hungry or after a workout.
But I love how filling and versatile it can be.
The concept is quite simple: sautee (in water or oil) any vegetables you like. Usually onion plus a mix of veggies that will give your dish some character.
Then, once the veggies are cooked to your liking, crumble up your tofu and add to the frying pan, along with salt, pepper, some turmeric for that typical egg-like colour and whatever spices you need.
For example, if you want a Mexican-style scramble, go for bell pepper, sweet corn, red beans, chili pepper (or jalapeno), vegan cheeze, plus cumin and coriander (or cilantro). Serve as a burrito with guacamole.
For a spring version, you could add asparagus, garden peas and baby carrots. Serve on a piece of sourdough toast with a sprinkle of chives.
For a middle-eastern touch, go for chickpeas, bell pepper, aubergine (or eggplant), courgette (or zucchini), along with some cumin, coriander (or cilantro), mint and a touch of lemon juice. Serve with pita bread and some hummus.
Or go with whatever you have in your fridge or freezer and it will come out delicious every time!
Extra brownie points if you add greens!
Yogurt Parfaits or Yogurt Bowls
Probably my favourite option in summer, when I don't fancy a smoothie.
It's probably the simplest breakfast on this list as you just pick and mix without really having to prepare anything.
As your base, you will need some soy or coconut yogurt (of course if you have other options available to you, these will work too!). I always go for the plain, unsweetened version because I'm adding plenty of sweet things, but if you need it a bit sweeter, the choice is even wider.
And then it's just a question of adding some toppings!
For me, some omega-3 rich seeds (chia, hemp or flax) are unavoidable.
And then fruit, whatever you like or have on hand will be wonderful. I like to add berries, a banana if I'm quite hungry, pineapple, mango, kiwi... but the sky is the limit!
And if you want to go the extra mile, why not sprinkle over some granola or coconut shavings, or even add a little jam if that's your jazz?
These are very satisfying, particularly when it's a little cold (because you can have them warm!) and when you need something on the go, just like smoothies.
Instead of mixing together fruit and veggies, the focus is on a plant mylk base (oat, almond, hemp, soy, hazelnut... you name it!), to which I usually add a banana or a couple of dates for sweetness (if the mylk is homemade or unsweetened!) and either some protein powder, or cacao and maca powder, carob powder, nut butters, vanilla extract, a handful of strawberries, half an avocado, some coconut milk or cream or any soaked nuts or seeds you like. Then you blend it like you would a smoothie.
Soft and creamy, it's ideal if you don't want all the fiber you get from a smoothie (for any reason) or if you need more fat and protein than sugar in the morning.
When made with hot mylk, it's my absolute favourite if I have to be on the road in winter before the sun is even up and I need something warm and nourishing.
Give it a try, you won't regret it!
Bonus Idea: Fruit & Nuts!
No time to think? Can't be bothered?
Breakfast can be as simple as a banana and a glass of mylk or a dozen strawberries with a handful of almonds, or an apple with some peanut butter.
Sometimes, simpler can also mean better!
What are your most customizable breakfast ideas?