Now that I’ve been on a Paleo diet for two years, people ask me all of the time what I eat. I usually give a basic explanation of what I do and don’t eat on Paleo, but they respond in a similar way: “No… I mean EXACTLY what do you eat?”
I decided I would write a few blog posts that answer that question. When I started Paleo, I had a list of what I could and couldn’t eat. But it was hard to imagine what that actually looked like on a day-to-day basis. The biggest hurdle for me was breakfast. In my previous life, my daily breakfast usually consisted of either oatmeal, a bowl of cereal, eggs with toast or pancakes. All of these options are off the table now that I don’t eat gluten, grains, dairy, soy, legumes, highly processed foods, refined sugar and nightshades.
Eating a good breakfast is the key to a good day for me so I have learned it’s worth extra time in the morning to start my day in the best way possible. I have developed a few fundamental rules about my ideal breakfast:
- As with all of my meals, I try to make sure breakfast includes some form of protein, a nutrient-dense produce, a starchy veggie that is high in carbs, and healthy fat.
- I usually eat breakfast around 9 a.m. (usually in the van while I’m driving to work, believe it or not… I have a 20-minute commute). At that point, I haven’t eaten since about 6 p.m. the previous night, so I am HUNGRY. #intermittentfasting
- Finally, I like to eat hot food. I really don’t like cold food for any of my meals, including breakfast.
These meal ideas might sound overwhelming at first, but they are really just a matter of preparation. I have learned to throw something in the oven first thing in the morning so it’s ready when I want breakfast. I also cook in batches so that I have left-overs I can heat up easily.
Here are my four go-to breakfasts, plus my favorite hot drink and a quick breakfast:
EGGS WITH SPINACH AND SWEET POTATO TOAST
This is my favorite breakfast, which I eat most days. At the beginning of the week, I usually chop up a few sweet potatoes to make the “toast.”
Simply peel and slice a sweet potato and place it on a baking sheet. I sprinkle mine with cinnamon and olive oil. Bake at 375 for about 30-45 minutes. I keep the extra toast in a ziplock so I can grab a few slices each day.
I sauté the spinach in olive oil and cook the egg in the same pan. I try to eat spinach as many days as possible because I struggle with chronic anemia caused by Celiac Disease. The carbs in the sweet potatoes give me energy, while the eggs and olive oil make me feel full.
I also use the sweet potato toast throughout the week anytime other people would use bread. It makes an AMAZING “bun” for a hamburger! I often put some type of real-fruit preserves on my toast.
PORK WITH SWEET POTATO AND APPLE HASH
This is my other standard breakfast.
To make the pork patties, use:
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Mix together and scoop onto a baking sheet. Flatten the meatballs with a fork.
Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour or until no longer pink in the middle.
At the same time, I bake the sweet potato hash.
Peel and chop two sweet potatoes
Chop 2 or 3 apples
Add a handful of dried cranberries and a handful of pecans or walnuts.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Splash with olive oil.
Bake at 375 for about an hour.
PORK SAUSAGE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SPINACH
When I’m tired of eggs and don’t have time to make the pork patties, I opt for pork sausage. This is a relatively clean brand that I get at Costco. The brand name is Jones.
I need to think ahead to prepare the butternut squash. Here’s how I make mine:
Put a whole butternut squash in an electric pressure cooker on a trivet with one cup of water. Cook at high pressure for 18 minutes. Allow the steam to release naturally or do a quick release if you are in a hurry. (This is the pressure cooker I use.)
Allow the butternut squash to cool, then, cut in slices. Peel the slices and chop into cubes. (It can be difficult to peel a butternut squash when it’s raw. You will find that the peel pretty much falls off after it’s cooked in the electric pressure cooker.) You can eat the butternut squash at this point. But if I have time, I like to add one more step. I put the butternut squash cubes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and splash with olive oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 375.
Sauté the spinach and heat up the frozen pork in a pan.
When I started doing Whole 30 a few years ago, this was my absolute favorite thing to eat. I loved these simple pancakes because they tasted so much like the real pancakes that I missed so much!
These days, this is a very rare breakfast for me. It just doesn’t give me all of the energy that I need for my day. Still, it’s a quick fix if I don’t have time or ingredients to make something else.
Two eggs, beaten
A splash of cinnamon
Mix all of the ingredients.
Heat up olive oil in a pan. Cook just like pancakes.
I usually spread some almond butter on the pancakes and dip them in maple syrup, but you can also eat them plain if you don’t do nuts or sweetener.
PALEO BANANA BREAD
Once in a while, I want a treat for breakfast, just like anyone else. That’s when I turn to one of my Paleo banana bread recipes. (These are grain free.)
My favorite nut-free version can be found in the “Eat What You Love” cookbook by Danielle Walker. Since she is trying to sell her cookbook, I haven’t been able to find the recipe online.
I also love this version that includes almond butter and almond flour. Since we have a nut allergy in our house, I only make this one if my son won’t be around to be tempted by the amazing smell of banana bread.
You can find the recipe here.
GREEN TEA MATCHA LATTE
Finally, I’m completely addicted to my Green Tea Matcha Latte. Here’s my recipe:
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon raw honey (I usually omit this)
Put ingredients in a single serve blender cup. Fill with boiling water.
Pulse in the blender for a few seconds.
If you want to know more about why I changed my diet and what I eat, you can read about that here:
Part One: A new view of food
Part Two: The start of my journey
Part Three: Malnourished in America
Part Four: Solving the gluten free puzzle
Part Five: The Isolation of autoimmune disease
Part Six: From Whole 30 to Paleo AIP
Part Seven: What do we eat?
Part Eight: A year later
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