Healthy vegetarian breakfast ideas aren’t necessarily so different from regular healthy breakfast items you already make and enjoy. Of course, it always goes back to what kind of vegetarian you are (or the person you’re cooking for is). How does one find the time to cook a healthy breakfast? Well, quite frankly, sometimes you just have to make the time, whether that means waking up a little earlier or putting some things together the night before.
If you or your family is a fan of drive-thru breakfast creations, such as breakfast burritos or Egg McMuffins, it’s simple enough to put together your own. All that’s required are whole grain English muffins, a slice of low-fat cheese, an egg (or egg substitute, or egg whites—whatever you prefer), and any other toppings you might like such as some sliced tomato, onion, or perhaps even some Italian herbs. While the egg is cooking (and maybe even the onion or tomato, if you prefer they not be raw), you can toast your English muffin, top it with the cheese, and then broil it in the oven to melt the cheese. Or, after the egg is done cooking, you can assemble it along with the other ingredients on your English muffin and cook the sandwich grilled cheese style in a pan.
A breakfast burrito is also easy to assemble. You can choose to include ingredients like beans and rice; peanut butter, banana, raisins and cinnamon; or use more typical breakfast items such as scrambled eggs, cooked mixed vegetables (onions, green bell peppers, tomato, etc.), and a sprinkling of cheese and black pepper. Wrapping everything in a whole grain tortilla makes this a portable option, or you can forego the tortilla and simply make an omelette and serve it with some whole wheat toast. If you or the vegetarian in your household does not eat eggs, it is simple enough to make a vegan version by swapping out the eggs for tofu.
It’s no secret that I adore fresh fruit, but it may come as a surprise that this year the one food-related thing I asked for on my birthday was fruit salad. Did I know what I wanted for lunch? Dinner? Dessert? No, all I really cared about was that this fruit salad my sister had made the previous week was also present for my birthday festivities. While I wouldn’t call it a complete breakfast by any means, I think fruit salad is a great addition to the breakfast table. You’d be surprised at how well your favorite fruits mingle together. I like to cut up apples (a variety—fuji, granny smith, red delicious…), melons (cantaloupe and honeydew), berries (strawberries, blueberries), grapes, and pineapple. If you’re worried about the fruit browning, you can add a little lime or lemon juice.
In addition to a fruit salad, you might consider including some yogurt to your breakfast. I purchase plain nonfat so I can doctor it up however I like (sometimes I feel like blueberry one day, but just a little vanilla another; I also enjoy experimenting with fruit preserves), but feel free to use what you enjoy. I mentioned in this article that sometimes when I’m on a road trip with my family I’ll order the fruit and yogurt parfait from McDonald’s, and that’s something I like to recreate at home. To make a parfait, all you have to do is layer fruit (whatever kind you like! My favorites are blueberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries, and sometimes chopped bananas), yogurt (or cottage cheese), and cereal or granola.
If you’re tired of eating oatmeal (or oat bran, or another whole grain breakfast option), you might consider a Japanese favorite: sweet breakfast rice. All you do is add together about 1 c of leftover, cooked rice (I prefer brown); ¼ t cinnamon; 1/8 t vanilla extract; ½ t brown sugar; and ½ c milk (although you may find that you’ll want to adjust the amount of sweetener, vanilla, and cinnamon to your liking) in a small pot or a medium-sized bowl. Stir everything together, and heat the mixture on the stove or in the microwave until thoroughly heated through. While I think it’s great as-is, sometimes I add about 1 T of raisins during the cooking time (so they plump up) or a drizzle of cream after the breakfast rice is warm.
Sometimes people don’t feel like eating much in the morning, and that’s okay too. If you want something a little less heavy in the morning, you might consider a breakfast bar, sliced apple with peanut butter, or a couple of slices of whole wheat toast with a few toppings (butter, earth balance, no added sugar fruit preserves, or even just some banana slices). These are just a few suggestions to get you started, really the sky is the limit on your breakfast creations.