This is one in a series of stories; visit The Daily Meal Special Report: Breakfast in America: What It Is and What It Means for more.
Those who know me well know that I’m all about breakfast. I never skip it, and often have two, one at home when I first wake up and then a second when I get to the office a few hours later. I love eggs, omelettes, bacon, bagels, pancakes… name a breakfast food and I’ll likely give it a thumbs up. So when we started talking about doing this month’s special report on breakfast, I jumped at the chance to experiment with eating my favorite meal every meal for a week: 21 breakfasts in all, plus snacks. This is how it went down.
Day 1, Monday
5 a.m. — Lately I’ve been loving these Thomas’ English Muffins Double Protein with Oatmeal variety, toasted, with a schmear of Simply Jif peanut butter. I love coffee but can’t stomach it first thing in the morning, so I make a mug of Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold tea with two percent milk.
6 a.m. — After my morning run I have a glass of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and coffee, because as a working mom of three I am all about a steady flow of caffeine most of the morning. I wish I could tell you I was a coffee gourmet, grinding up a small amount of Costa Rican or Sumatran beans and expertly brewing it in my French press, but the honest truth is that my palette is not that advanced and my time (and money) is pretty precious, so instead I buy giant bags of Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee at my local Costco. With some half-and-half, it is my delicious wake-me-up.
9 a.m. — Time for second breakfast! This is normal for me, I’m afraid, and my experiment is really not ready to begin. I stop by Pret A Manger in Penn Station to pick up one of their extraordinary avocado and greens breakfast shakes. Cool, creamy, and delicious. I also grab a Dunkin’ Donuts cold brew, which fared quite well in our blind taste test of cold brew coffees recently.
Noon — I’m judging a food competition this afternoon, so I eat a small egg bowl I brought in from home (via Fresh Direct, our local home grocery delivery service) so that I won’t be famished and scarf down too much at the competition. Details: a hard-boiled egg with roasted eggplant, tomato, olives, red onion, lemon, and herbs with a side of creamy hummus.
2 p.m. — Okay, so the food competition at NYC’s Grand Hyatt (a regional competition for Hyatt chefs) is wonderful, but the five ingredients the chefs have to design their dishes around with today are quail, corn, Tazo green tea (cool, right?), clams, and heirloom tomatoes. I taste all the dishes because hey, it is my job, so I’m not breaking my breakfast rules (yet).
6 p.m. — Still pretty full from the food judging, so I grab a banana and some raw almonds as a snack. (That’s breakfast-y, right?)
8 p.m. — Back at home I crack a couple eggs and fry them over easy, on top of one slice of Ezekiel bread with some butter. Perfect any time of day. (My kids eat with their dad well before I get home, so luckily I’m on my own with this breakfast-for-dinner thing — not that they'd all mind eating French toast or pancakes every night!)
Day 2, Tuesday
5 a.m. — Amy’s Organic makes an awesome Black Bean Ranchero Breakfast Burrito. I pop it in the microwave, but am so full afterwards that my morning workout becomes a fast walk rather than a run.
9 a.m. — Second breakfast time: another Pret avocado and greens shake.
1 p.m. — I’m stumped about what to have for lunch. Luckily I work at a food site, duh, so I turned to our search and found this piece on 10 Breakfast Options That Are Better for You Than Eggs and remember my Grandmother Ida’s favorite breakfast: cottage cheese with lightly-sweetened cling peaches. It’s actually perfect for this hot day.
3 p.m. — A Fuji apple and a round of Babybel Light cheese. Confession: This is my go-to afternoon snack at work, but it’s breakfast-like so I feel good about it.
8 p.m. — No eggs yet today, so it is omelette time! I use one whole egg and then the white of another to hold down the calories, steam some broccoli, and then sauté with bell mushrooms and white onions and just a little spray canola oil and a dab of unsalted butter. (Here’s how I learned to make the perfect omelette.) I finish it off with rainbow peppers and sea salt from the grinder. Hooray! Eggs for dinner.
9 p.m. — Okay, time to make some overnight oats! This has become my go-to recipe. For this batch I throw in fresh blueberries instead of grapes.