Eggs. Pancakes. Waffles. Ultra-refined sugar cereals. Sausage. Biscuits and gravy. French Toast. Toast. Grits. Oatmeal. Smoothies. Protein shakes. Crepes. Omelets. Cold pizza.
Unfortunately, these items summarize the standard breakfast items of the American diet. Obviously not all of them are necessarily “bad” for you, however the fact remains that we can most likely find healthier options.
America has a growing obesity epidemic, and a lot of that’s to do with the amount of carbs, ultra-processed foods, and the sheer amount of red meat that we ingest (on average 60 lbs per person a year).
If we look at other parts of the world, we will see that the Japanese have an excessively (traditionally) healthy diet— which no doubt has something to do with the average life span and relative health of that nation.
We all know that the best start to your day is a good breakfast—and while it may be strange to the average North American palate, let’s take a look at a standard Japanese breakfast. An important factor to note: portion sizes. The movie “Supersize Me” was made for more than one reason. Japanese portion sizes tend to be smaller than those standard in North America.
Start with a simple bowl of rice—brown or white, though white would be more traditional. Add to the spread a bowl of miso soup (water, miso paste, scallions, nori, and tofu are some typical ingredients if you want to make it yourself, though instant varieties are available), a rolled omelet or tamagoyaki (these can be made in a normal frying pan and are NOT as large an omelet as you’re thinking), and edamame, (soybeans). Season any of this as you so desire.
Top this off with what you’re probably going to think is the strangest breakfast item of all—fish. Salmon or mackerel are the popular favorites, usually broiled or grilled.
It may sound weird, but that’s just because we’re not used to it. Weird does not stop it from being good, and good for you. A single cup of miso soup, according to fatsecret.com, for example, has 84 calories, 3.36g fat, 7.78g carbs, and 6.02g protein. Four ounces of tilapia has 109 calories, 1.93g fat, no carb content, and 22.77g protein. A half cup of edamame, boiled, shelled, and salted, has 120 calories, 9g fiber, 2.5g fat, and 11g protein, among other stats (making it a great snack all on its own).
If this type of breakfast is not your forte, check out our Granola Recipe or take a look at the customs of another country and find a different way to spend your mornings!