November 12, 2014 by Dr. Sana Keller
A few other typical American breakfasts:
Now check out these typical breakfasts from countries around the world:
Japan: Miso soup and rice or rice porridge (okayu), sometimes served with fish or pickled vegetables.
Switzerland: Cereal blend of oat flakes, nuts and raisins and other dried fruit (muesli), often eaten with plain yogurt.
Norway: Muesli or flatbread (lefse) with cheese, butter, thinly sliced salami or smoked fish.
China: Rice porridge (congee) eaten plain or topped with vegetables, fish or meat.
Australia: Whole wheat cereal biscuits (Weet-bix) with milk, oatmeal with milk and a dab of butter, toast with local honeys or marmalade and, of course, Vegemite, a food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.
El Salvador: Fried sweet plantains, casamiento (black beans and rice in an onion sauce) and salsa (platos tipicos).
Sri Lanka: Fermented rice flour pancakes made with fermented rice flour served with a spicy sauce or flavored with egg, honey or coconut cream (hoppers).
Korea: Stew of some sort, rice and several side dishes, such as fermented vegetables (kimchi), spinach and spicy cucumbers.
India: Flatbread (roti), thin crepes made of lentils (dosas) or steamed rice-dough pancakes (idlis) with spiced potatoes and various dips and chutneys.
Germany: Cold meats (liverwurst), cheeses, soft-boiled eggs and a variety of hearty breads with jams and marmalades.
Mexico: Fried corn tortillas topped with salsa, eggs, pulled chicken, cheese or refried beans (chilaquiles) or two eggs on a fried tostada with tomatoes, ham, peas, plátanos maduros, queso fresco and, oftentimes, black beans (huevos motulenos).
Venezuela: Soft corn flatbread (arepa) stuffed with different fillings such as cheese, meat or beans.
Turkey: Dried sausage made of ground beef with garlic and a variety of spices like red pepper, cumin and sumac served over eggs (sucuklu yumurta).
Typical American breakfasts often include sugary cereals, white toast with jelly, breakfast sandwich (fast-food or microwaved), a large bagel with cream cheese, a doughnut or Danish roll. Basically white sugar, white flour, highly processed and lacking in nutrients.
Notice the difference between breakfasts from other countries and the American breakfast— Other countries’ breakfasts tend NOT to be sweet (or derive sweetness from fruit instead of added sugar) and contain noticeably LESS processed foods.
So how did the American breakfast get so far off course, nutritionally? Many American breakfast options could stand in as dessert—Yikes! There is no single or simple answer to this question, yet it should raise a red flag in our minds since the majority (if not all) of the countries listed above (other than the US) have better health statistics than we do, including obesity rates.
So what is the ‘Take Away’ from this? Changing basic breakfast habits could lead to long-term health benefits for you and your family. Consider it a huge step in the right direction on your Healthy Lifestyle journey.
Now I fully realize that completely overhauling breakfast for you and your family might be met with some resistance (or a lot of it!), yet with the ever-growing rates of obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, a ‘remodeling’ of breakfast could provide long-term health benefits. Below are some healthier options for breakfast that could be slowly worked into your morning routine. Links to simple recipes are below—check them out!
- Chia Seed Pudding—One of a kabillion (well, almost a kabillion) recipes online. (Sub frozen berries—I use a small amount of honey—Can use any nut milk instead of coconut milk)
- Quinoa Breakfast Bowl/Breakfast Cup/Granola Bars, etc —Here are a few ideas (24 actually) to start with!
- Egg Muffins—Can make ahead of time for a quick breakfast. I recommend a silicone muffin pan for ‘quick release’ (trust me!) and briefly warming in a skillet when warming leftovers to avoid microwaving—Add a slice of multi-grain toast or small piece of fruit!
- Yogurt with Berries and Granola—Plain Greek yogurt with no rbST (growth hormone) and minimal additives. Examples: Fage, Voskos, Stonyfield Organic Oikos, Chobani. Frozen berries work well out of season (organic if possible, due to high pesticide residue). Make a healthy batch of granola or find an organic, low sugar (made with honey) version. Easy to prepare the evening before!
- Overnight Oatmeal—Definitely a make-ahead option for the week! (Sub almond milk for skim milk)
These make great lunches, too! I’m a big fan of ‘Breakfast for Lunch’!
I know that many of you are already ‘doing the healthy breakfast thing’—Please comment below and share your faves!
Sana Keller, PhD, RN, CNC Health Unlimited LLC
Photo credits: buzzle.com, jeaniescozumel.com, en.wikipedia.org, nubodycontouring.wordpress.com, commons.wikipedia.org, primaverakitchen.com, simplyjuliana.com, myutensilcrock.com, triedandtasty.com, apple-of-my-eye.com