Could You Stomach a Salad for Breakfast?

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Maybe you indulged in a weekend-long sugar binge or found yourself elbow-deep in birthday cake leftovers at 1 a.m. last night. Or maybe you just woke up with a craving for something savory. No matter the scenario, sometimes a sweet smoothie or fruity yogurt won’t cut it for your morning meal, and trust us—we’ve been there.

That’s why we're intrigued by a new trend in the blogosphere: salads for breakfast. We first spotted the idea on The Kitchn, where editor Faith makes a convincing case for a having big, hearty bowl of greens in the morning, and other bloggers have picked up on the idea as well. 

Nutritionally it makes sense. We know how much damage sugar can do to our bodies, and the sweet stuff tends to hide in huge amounts in our breakfast foods. Another nutritional bonus: "Many people don't eat enough veggies throughout the day, so this helps you stack them up at the beginning," says Keri Gans, R.D., Shape.com's Weight Loss Coach. Plus in the heat of the summer, a hot plate of eggs or a steaming bowl of oatmeal start to sound a lot less appealing.

Okay, so what kind of salad are we talking about, exactly? The good news is that you're not limited to a pile of lettuce. There's a citrus-seared tofu version with brown rice, avocado, and grapefruit; a kale and potato dish; and a caprese-style salad with prosciutto, mozzarella, basil, and poached eggs—all of which sound pretty tasty. But for breakfast? Something just seems a little off about starting the day with a salad.

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However, after a recent weekend I spent overindulging in all things sweet, from piña coladas to frozen yogurt, the last thing I wanted on Monday morning was my usual Greek yogurt and berries. So I decided to give the breakfast salad a shot.

At around 9:30 a.m. (I admit I couldn't stomach it at 7:30 a.m.), I dug into a homemade mix of avocado and tomato chunks, some arugula, crumbles of tangy feta, and two hardboiled eggs. Maybe it wasn’t exactly a big bowl of greens—more of a mezze platter—but it was delicious, and kept me full until my 2 p.m. lunch break on a crazy day.

Although I can’t imagine eating this way all year long (a cold breakfast salad on a chilly winter day?), during the summer, as my diet veers more off-track over the weekends and I have no desire for oatmeal, morning salads may very well make a regular appearance in my weekly breakfast rotation this season.

To make the most of your breakfast salad, follow these tips from Gans: 

  • Make sure to include protein, such as egg, tuna, or beans; otherwise you'll be starving before lunch.
  • Fat is important for satiety as well, so choose healthy choices like slivered almonds, avocado, or olive oil.
  • High-fiber carbs are needed for quick energy—something you're in dire need of first thing in the morning. You can add a serving of fruit, like grapes, orange or mango slices; or a half-cup of a whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa, or barley. (Next time I'll add in some sliced fruit!)
  • Of course pile on the lettuce and your favorite raw veggies! 

What do you think about eating a salad for breakfast? Tweet us @Shape_Magazine and @LockeVictoria or tell us in the comments below if you've tried it—or ever would!

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