Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dinner for Breakfast?


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?

28 comments:

  1. Most of my breakfasts consist of oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup..so that probably makes me sweet. When I have eggs however, I like them extra savoury. Lately, I've enjoyed poached eggs with asparagus and parm. Or eggs over sprouted english muffin with goat cheese and spinach. I'm actually meeting a friend for breakfast in about an hour, and wondering which route to take...savoury or sweet?

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  2. Gina (Candid RD)June 6, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    Funny thing, I actually prefer a sweet breakfast (of course, not like Pop Tarts, more like my homemade granola and pumpkin with yogurt) and for dinner Nick and I like to do the breakfast for dinner (aka: EGGS!).  We do this all the time actually :)

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  3. I think you have a lot of company with sweet breakfasts, who doesn't like granola?

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  4. I say if you make that friend eggs with goat cheese and spinach they will be very happy. I like oatmeal too, I often have it salty though but I realize I am a weirdo (in more ways than my food).

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  5. I like savory breakfasts like huevos rancheros, grilled cheese, fish tacos or just fish, kale and eggs and beans on toast. I know not everyone likes "regular" food for breakfast, and it surprises me when people say they could never eat it for breakfast. I like oatmeal, but I eat it plain. I only eat cereal a couple times a year and even then it is normally plain Cheerios or shredded wheat. I also eat a breakfast snack practically every day and that's a grapefruit. 

    I can relate to the preloading of sweet tastes. Once I get that sugar in my mouth, it's off to the races! Unfortunately it doesn't seem to matter what time of the day the sugar thing happens...

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  6. Wow-5 to 10 veggies at b-fast is impressive! I have to say, i was definitely more of a "sweet" breakfast eater when I was younger, although super sugary cereal was not a common occurrence at our house. One gave my mom used to make was cream of wheat with bacon. I would top that with milk ad a little bit of sugar and it was a yummy concoction of sweet and salty. These days I probably eat more savory b-fasts (love eggs with onions, feta, and spinach or sliced avocado on toast sprinkled with s&p), but I usually also include some fruit with b-fast too ,so I get a combo of sweet and savory. Left you a reply on my blog re #icecreamlove :-)

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  7. Jessica E KilbrideJune 6, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    Totally depends on my mood! I rarely eat "dinner" for breakfast but I will often have eggwhites with veggies (broccoli, spinach, kale, whatever), avocado, and salsa. My typical breakfast if I'm not in a rush involves a banana with peanut butter and some form of cereal (used to be Kashi Good Friends but apparently I was getting TOO MUCH fiber so now it's Special K - which I still think of as empty calories but until my body gets back to normal it'll have to do) with almond milk or soy milk. In a rush, it's whole grain bread with peanut butter in the car. 

    In the Dominican Republic, one of the things they served at breakfast was a fried square of cheese. Apparently it's very common there. It's hard enough to justify fried cheese, even harder to justify eating it at 7am, so I didn't actually have it but it is very common.

    And as far as the girl who could never have rice and beans in the morning? Try it! it actually goes great with eggs. There's this restaurant in Northampton, MA (where the graham cracker was invented, actually) called Sylvester's that has low-fat huevos rancheros....amazing - rice, beans, egg whites, and homemade salsa. So good.

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  8. I love fried cheese with a tiny bit of jam! I even tried to make frying cheese last Friday for the first time, but I scorched the milk. 

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  9. When we went to Costa Rica last year I LOVED eating their Gallo Pinto daily - soooo good and filled me up for our activity filled days! I wish I could get it to taste the seem here, they had delish seasoning and cilantro MMMmm

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  10. If I had any desire to eat my leftovers I would...but my cooking skills are quite limited, so I stick to my shakes for breakfast. So easy!

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  11. PS: In Tokyo I did have the traditional Japanese breakfast but a piece of fish and rice just didn't sit well with me so early....

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  12. and it sounds good to me (depending on the fish and the rice)

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  13. good point, if I have delicious roast chicken or even poached salmon, it calls me.

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  14. I bet you could replicate it. I love the first hand Gallo Pinto experience.

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  15. so I'm voting cheese over Special K (if you care). Northampton, interesting we stop there to and from Vermont, I'll have to make note of Sylvester's.

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  16. how does one fry cheese? Isn't cheese good enough before frying? 

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  17. and your baked eggs EA, I dream of those. Hot cereal with bacon, that sounds good. 

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  18. I wonder why that is Caron. I'm with you, if I eat it at dinner I can eat it at 9am, hungry is hungry. Many people disagree though weightlifters are known for chicken breakfasts (not because they like the taste though).

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  19. First time I came to the US I was stunned that people were eating donuts.. still amazes me. I never eat sweet in the mornings.

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  20. Cheese is heavenly before frying. This particular stuff is called queso blanco, which some people think of only as a dip. But this stuff doesn't melt. You simply slice it and throw it in a hot pan - it doesn't melt. Serve with jam. yummy. Also, something I had first in Holland and then Chile is a ham & cheese sandwich with jam. I think I'm repeating myself...I need a snack.

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  21. I usually prefer a savory breakfast. I love an over-easy egg, tomato slices, and sauteed spinach. I actually quite often use dinner leftovers and turn them into breakfast. Sometimes I start with a bed of lettuce, add some leftover roasted veggies (I roast a lot of veggies), and then top them with an egg. I also like a slice of quality dark, (true) whole grain bread with avocado, tomato slices, & basil. When my breakfast is sweet, it's usually oatmeal with plain Greek yogurt, almonds, and fruit.

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  22. Love a woman who's not afraid of leftovers.

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  23. The doughnut, whole other story and interesting history. 

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  24. I sometimes like a sunnyside up egg over fresh baby spinach drizzled with balsamic and sprinkled with sea salt. It's SUCH a good breakfast.
    In the summer when the field tomatoes are ripe I love to eat them for breakfast too.

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  25. I tend to stick to breakfasty breakfasts, but I do occasionally have dinner leftovers if that's what I feel like!  I think there's nothing wrong or weird about having 'normal' meal foods for breakfast. What's the difference?  Just get your protein and fiber in and you're good to go! 

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  26. "breakfasty breakfasts" made me laugh.

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  27. these sound delicious, I love an egg over salad greens too.

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  28. I actually eat Butternut Squash & Eggs for breakfast with cinnamon & stevia, but I am not opposed to eat salmon for breakfast, that's for sure!! :) 

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