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I Stopped Buying into the Idea of “Breakfast Foods”

By June 27, 2017Eat, Think

Growing up, I was pretty married to the idea that there are designated “breakfast foods”. Things like cereal, pancakes, bagels, donuts, fruit, and sometimes eggs were my conception of what people eat for breakfast. Chicken and vegetables before noon? No way.

I laugh at my younger self now, because my standard quick breakfast is a bowl of roasted or steamed veggies, an avocado, and some turkey or salmon.

breakfast foods - avocado turkey broccoliWith a little food prep, it’s super fast, and it holds me over for several hours thanks to the balanced nature of the meal.

Other days, I’ll have a sweet potato with chicken and guacamole. And, yeah, sometimes I still have cereal and Greek yogurt or pancakes with almond butter and chocolate chips. 

What does this have to do with anything? It’s about the food rules we create for ourselves, either intentionally or by nature of the society in which we live. We tell ourselves we can only eat some foods at certain meals or eat at certain times of the day, simply because that’s how things are done. The problem is that doesn’t leave much room for listening to your body and figuring out what really works best for you.

Admittedly, pre- and post-workout nutrition is a little more specific. However, your body doesn’t have a timer to stop you from eating cauliflower first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. Some days, that might sound good. Others, it might not. Your job is just to listen.

I honestly started making my breakfast a little more like a normal lunch or dinner when I started Whole30, because most of the usual “breakfast foods” are simply not allowed by the plan and a girl can only eat so many eggs. Ultimately, Whole30 wasn’t for me, but I did notice that I felt pretty great after a more lunch-y breakfast. So, I kept at it – not as a rule, but as an experiment that happened to go really well. Personally, I feel satisfied after a breakfast that isn’t sweet or all that carb-heavy. I’m ready to get on with my day, no sugar cravings in sight.

Similarly, I know that after my evening yoga classes, one of the most satisfying things for me is Paleo “oatmeal”, which is on the sweeter side.

breakfast foods - paleo oatmealWhile I was always a fan of “breakfast for dinner” as a kid, that’s not how I see it now. It’s not “breakfast for dinner”. It’s just dinner.

The same goes if I want pancakes or a bowl of cereal for lunch after class, or a bowl of carrots and tahini at 9am, or a massive cookie at 4pm.

All my food meets the same standards now: delicious, nourishing, and exactly what I want.

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Author Ellen Slater

Ellen is a second year economics major at the University of Chicago, and she is originally from Columbus, Ohio. Her favorite things include writing, hockey, Ohio State football, tea, Diet Coke, photography, cooking and baking, yoga and running, and food and fitness in general. She talks a lot about all of these things on her blog, My Uncommon Everyday. She considers herself a connoisseur of pizza, nut butter, and dark chocolate.

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