Beyond Cereal: 5 Painless Paleo Breakfasts For Busy Moms

on September 6, 2012

This is a guest post from my sweet friend Marla Sarris, author of the Paleo cookbook “Pigskin Paleo“.

This is quite a big week!

Many people in the US enjoyed a long Labor day weekend, yesterday was Brendan’s 6th birthday and The Dude’s 15th birthday and it was also the opening day of the NFL season.

Now, the start of the NFL season may not mean much to you, but for me, it meant the launch of my first, and long awaited cookbook, Pigskin Paleo!

I’ll share a bit about the challenges we face when trying to eat healthy, why Paleo is my lifestyle of choice, what exactly this “caveman diet” is, for the uninitiated, and how you yourself may benefit from giving it a try. Finally I’ll top it all off with some quick and easy Paleo breakfast ideas for you and your family.

So lets get to it! :)

The Challenge of Staying Healthy

Eating healthy when gathering with friends can, at times, be challenging. And whether you’re watching the next big game at home or at a local watering hole, the football season is no exception to this rule.

Gameday fare doesn’t always consist of the best foods and as a result you may end up in a cycle of constantly serving what’s cheap and easy instead of what’s best for your friends and family. Believe me, I’ve been there.

There is, however, a bright side. With a little bit of planning you can ensure that everyone’s overjoyed with with your appetizers, entrees and desserts, whether they realize that they’re eating healthy or not.

The key to this, in my opinion, lies in one simple word. Paleo.

What is Paleo?

Paleo is a very satiating style of eating, that’s also good for your body. Quite simply Paleo can be defined as:

  1. Eat Plants, Animals, Nuts and Seeds
  2. Move Frequently and Lift Heavy Things

Those are two simple steps, but let’s just break them down a bit.

First off, notice the order of the first rule. Plants should always come first in any Paleo diet. One common misconception is that Paleo consists of eating bacon and red meat all the time and veggies are an after thought. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some bacon, but plants are at the core of Paleo.

Eating plants, animals, nuts and seeds is another way of saying to eat only whole, real foods. Narrowing our intake in this way results in the elimination of grains and processed foods, which has the added benefit of meaning that each and every Paleo recipe is also gluten-free. If you eat lots of fresh vegetables, a good quantity of properly sourced meat and fish plus a few nuts and seeds here and there, then you, my friend, are Paleo.

Move frequently and lift heavy things is where things really become fun. As my friend Vic likes to say, treadmills are for gerbils.

In my definition, living a Paleo lifestyle also means living in a way that includes more natural movements for our bodies. All this means is that you’ll want to do what works for you and makes you feel best. As long as that somehow consists of moving (pretty simple when you’re not sitting) and lifting heavy things (like your kids). Personally, I prefer a warrior workout, but if you’re doing those two things then you’re right on track.

Now you may be wondering where these “rules” came from. The Paleo diet is based on the research of Loren Cordain (among others). In his search for answers when it comes to nutrition, he began to find patterns that have remained true since the years of our Paleolithic ancestors. Eating Paleo is simply treating our bodies as we have for millions of years. 

This Guide to Eating Paleo sums it up quite nicely in a beautiful way.

The Ultimate Guide to Eating Paleo

How Paleo Has Improved My Health and Well-Being

While my husband and I have been constantly reading and experimenting with the principles of the Paleo diet for almost 4 years, I can only speak from our personal experiences. Of course your mileage will vary, but I’ve lost a total of 60 lbs since beginning the transition into a Paleo lifestyle, ten of which I lost in the last three months during some more in-depth experimentation with sugars.

Over the years I’ve experimented with fasting, sugar restriction, small eating windows (windows of time, not actual windows ;) ), exercising at different times of day, exercising in a fasted state and so much more, but Paleo was always at the heart of every change I made.

Weight loss aside though, the major reason that I love sharing the principles of Paleo with others is due to the way this lifestyle has made both me and my husband Jeff feel. I personally have more energy, sleep better, very rarely get sick and I currently feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I like to joke about it, but I’m currently at the lowest weight I’ve been since the first time around, meaning, in my adult life, I’ve never been the weight that I currently am now.

Once you transition away from processed foods and start focusing your attention on real foods, you begin to really understand your body.

For example, I used to think that the afternoon crash was just an inevitability of life. It can genuinely seem as though we’re hardwired to have an energy dip in the afternoon or that the cup of morning joe is an absolute necessity, but, at least for me, I quickly learned that these inevitabilities were merely side effects of the SAD (Standard American Diet). It’s very easy to consider these ailments simple facts of life, but once we begin to understand and feel how our bodies react to different foods, we can begin to live without the dependencies or adverse side effects that we have, quite possibly, taken for granted for years.

Let’s make a Paleo breakfast

Now let’s shift gears a bit so I can share some quick and easy ways to introduce your family to the Paleo lifestyle. We’ll start bright and early with breakfast.

When it comes to providing meals for others, including family and kids, that’s when planning ahead can be a big help. Now that school is back in session, I know you’re probably extremely busy, so here are five quick and easy Paleo breakfast options to help you jump right in.

5 Quick and Easy Paleo Breakfast Options

1. Banana-Nut Pancakes: I was recently on vacation in Miami and made this recipe for me, Jeff and a couple friends. Using three ingredients, I was able to have these pancakes ready to feed four people in just 15 minutes.

  1. Mash 2 bananas
  2. Combine with 2 heaping scoops of chunky almond butter (use peanut butter if you prefer, just know that peanuts are legumes and technically not Paleo) and blend with 4 eggs in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Mix well and scoop ¼ cup onto a hot griddle or flat pan over medium heat. Wait for bubbles to appear then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Top each pancake with a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips (the darker the better), if you prefer, and serve.
  5. You’ll notice that these won’t need any maple syrup or added toppings but feel free to top with fresh fruit if you’re looking for a little extra sweetness. And if you have a little extra time and want that savory, protein and fat boost, fry up some of my favorite sugar-free bacon as a side.

2. Eggs Over Easy Salad: This is my breakfast of choice when I need something in a pinch. Plus it’s a good source of protein and vegetables to start your day. If you have your veggies already cleaned, chopped and stored in the refrigerator it can take less than 5 minutes to put this breakfast together.

  1. Melt some grass-fed butter or coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Crack two eggs and cover then prepare your salad on a plate.
  3. Combine fresh baby spinach, peppers, onion, carrots, tomato, celery, avocado, broccoli or any of your favorite vegetables.
  4. Cook the eggs to your preferred doneness; I like mine over easy (the juices from the egg create a delicious dressing as you eat and run over the veggies).
  5. Season your salad with some sea salt and pepper, maybe a touch of avocado or olive oil and any other seasonings. Top it off with your two eggs and enjoy.

3. Breakfast Smoothie: For a super quick liquid option throw some spinach or kale in a blender along with some fresh or frozen fruit, additional vegetables, ice and blend for a quick and easy breakfast smoothie. Combine with 1-2 hard-boiled eggs (make these 1-2 days ahead and store them in the refrigerator) and this makes a great breakfast-on-the-go. You’ll find this recipe for my Banana-Pear Green Smoothie in Pigskin Paleo.

4. No Grain Granola Cereal: I regularly make Primal Granola Bars and store them in the freezer for occasional snacks. But if you’re missing that crunch that typical cereals provide, take some bars out of the freezer and break them apart in a bowl. Add some almond, coconut or whole milk and you’ve got yourself a Primal cereal.

5. Leftovers: Now, I’ve saved the best for last. What’s the quickest and easiest Paleo breakfast option? Well it’s sitting right there in your refrigerator. I find that one of the most hearty, satiating breakfasts that is most over looked are leftovers. For some reason we tend to get stuck in the routine of cereal, waffles and eggs being the only options for breakfast, but fortunately a simple trip to your refrigerator can yield a gold mine of chicken, steak, pork or turkey. Throw some fresh vegetables on your plate or into a skillet for a few minutes and you have yourself a complete Paleo breakfast in no time.

So that about does it! I hope I’ve whet your appetite to dig deeper into the world of Paleo nutrition.

For more Paleo recipes and to pick up a copy of my new book, Pigskin Paleo, head on over to MARLAsarris.com.

Have you tried paleo eating or are you thinking of trying it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Discussion

20 Responses to “Beyond Cereal: 5 Painless Paleo Breakfasts For Busy Moms”

  1. Alison Ray (@SassyMomChicago) says:

    I just started eating Paleo 2 weeks ago and love it. What is your recipe for Primal Granola Bars, there wasn’t a link. Thanks for sharing all the great info.

  2. M the Organizer says:

    This was a really good lesson for me. I’ve heard so much about the Paleo diet but didn’t know exactly what it consisted of. I feel like it would be tough if you’re vegetarian (a lot of my family members are) but it nothing that a little creative weekly menu planning couldn’t take care of. ;) thank you!

    • Marla Sarris says:

      Awww Mridu, thank you for the sweet words. I’m glad I was able to help provide a little background to the mystery of Paleo. Let me know if I can help, I really love getting creative in the kitchen, so I’m down to brainstorm with ya :)

  3. Hilary Martin says:

    I love eating Paleo, it’s yummy and totally works with my hyper-insulinemia. I used to have serious crashes all day long, and those are completely gone. I’m a little confused about the actual truth for carb/wheat intake. I work out about five times/week pretty intensely and I’ve heard from fitness professionals that folks who are very active should still do some oatmeal or quinoa for energy. Plus, I had a trainer tell me that my body type doesn’t work well with no carb (I’m 5’10”). So, still looking for some guidance on that piece — how MUCH carbs can I or should I eat and what type. Ultimately, is any carb intake a violation of the diet? My goal is (always) fat loss.

    • Marla Sarris says:

      Hey Hilary! I totally understand your confusion. It’s so hard to decipher what information is good and trustworthy, especially when fitness trainers and professionals are all providing conflicting information. I personally think the best route to take is through trial and error because everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to everything. If oatmeal and quinoa work well with your body then I wouldn’t say you should remove it, however if you’re not sure if it’s necessary or not I’d do a little test and get rid of it from your diet for 2-3 weeks and then reintroduce it to see if it makes a difference with energy for you. If you’re eating Paleo then you’re not on a no carb diet, you’re just getting your carbs from whole resources (vegetables and healthy fats) as opposed to grains. Sweet potatoes are a good carb to use that is also a healthy and Paleo friendly food for athletes and active folks, and there’s many ways to prepare them. :)

  4. Gwen says:

    I’ve been eating this way on (and off) for 15 years… but had no clue there was an actual name for it! I can really feel the difference when I go off!

    It gets hard to keep things interesting, so I’m definitely going to check our Pigskin Paleo!

    • Marla Sarris says:

      Hi Gwen! Not that I like assigning labels but I’m glad I could introduce some terminology for ya hehe

      Thanks for checking out Pigskin Paleo and if you pick it up, let me know what you think with a quick Amazon review. :)

  5. James says:

    Wanted to let you know the the egg recipe (eggs over salad) was the first time I’ve been able to willingly eat eggs. I gave you some deserved props after i of course hi-jacked the recipe ;-)
    http://sixpackabsv.com/primal-breakfast-for-a-king/

  6. Jacqueline Nihipali says:

    Thank you so much! I started Crossfit and they suggested the Paleo Diet. I have bought books on it but still seemed so overwelmed by the information. However! You laid it all out for me and I super appreciate the way you did it, because I get it now, and feel good about moving forward! THANK YOU THANK YOU

    • Marla Sarris says:

      That’s awesome Jacqueline, so glad I could help! I’ve been CrossFitting for the last few months and absolutely love it but it is quite stressful on the body so that may affect your results, just an FYI. I know when I started my food intake increased. Keep me posted on your progress. :)

  7. Amy says:

    I’ve been eating Paleo for about 3 months now and I love it! My only problem is that I am tending to eat too much fruit because I am such a fruit addict! I can’t eat nuts because they cause me migraines, and I don’t eat red meat or pork, so I am more limited on this diet than others. I think I am eating too much quinoa also. From the research I have done, quinoa is a seed, so it is o.k. to eat on Paleo. Do you eat quinoa Marla?? Thanks for your great website!

    • Marla Sarris says:

      Amy I have the same issues with fruit, I absolutely love it! With all the holiday festivities and non-Paleo treats from last couple month I’m back to limiting my sugar intake. You may want to consider having one piece of fruit a day and restricting from there if you’re worried about your fruit intake. Personally I don’t eat quinoa, but we do occasionally have white rice.

  8. Natalie says:

    Any tips for an active, picky 3 year old? We are making paleo our new llifestyle and our LO is having a tough time with snack time. She is s little carnivore but I can’t feed her ribeye all day long! :-) Thanks!

    • Marla Sarris says:

      haha ribeye all day long sounds good to me! ;)

      As for snacks a piece of whole fruit (think apple, pear, banana, etc.) and a kiddie palm full of nuts is what comes to mind first. If you don’t have any worries preparing something there’s always the old ants-on-a-log (celery and almond butter with a few raisins) or any way you can dress up something “ordinary”. For example you can make veggies more fun by creating a face on a plate with some sliced cucumber for eyes, a cherry tomato for eyeballs, a carrot stick for a nose, some raw green beans for a mouth or any combination to fancy it up. Plus if you have some pesto you can really get creative with the nose. :) Each day could be a new veggie picture snack and the fun of the plate might just entice her to have eat it all. I just posted a homemade beef jerky recipe that could be a substitute for the ribeye and isn’t anything sweet, if she’s not a fan of the teriyaki flavor just replace the coconut aminos and minced garlic with whatever seasonings she enjoys. One of my favorite snacks/sides is avocado and that’s a good healthy fat that will hold her over till the next meal. One of my favorite Pigskin Paleo recipes is shredded cabbage over an avocado, topped with pesto. I hope some of those suggestions help. :)

  9. Erin says:

    Thanks for the breakfast ideas! My husband and I are in day 4 if eating paleo. Breakfast was our biggest obstacle as we were big bread eaters in the morning because it was quick(bagels ect). And eggs can get old fast :) question….we feel like we’re eating all day but still feel hungry at night. Is that normal? Should it subside as our bodies adjust? Thanks

    • Marla Sarris says:

      Hey Erin! You should be fully satiated with each meal you’re having. I would be curious how much healthy fat you’re including each day. Some examples are grassfed meat such as ribeye, along with avocado, olive oil, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, olives, any coconut product, etc. Adding a good sampling of those each day should help keep you from being consistently hungry. Also depending on how much sugar was in your diet previously I’ve found that when I have fruit my sweet tooth kicks in and makes me even more hungry so I’d try to stay away from ending a meal with fruit, save that for snacks with a palm full of nuts. I hope you & your husband are still going Paleo strong. Lemme know if I can help with anything else! :)

  10. Rickie Monaghan says:

    I am 3 days into my new Paleo lifestyle, and am loving it! My hubby and I are easy to please, but I am having a tricky time feeding my 3 year old son. His favourite breakfasts were always carb-centered (bagels, waffles, chocolate milk). He is not on-board with my new suggestions of fruit and eggs and coconut milk! Any ideas for waffle- like substitutes which are Paleo-friendly? Luckily my 4-year old daughter eats anything I give her, and she is loving her new Paleo lunches in her lunchbox this week!
    Thanks!!

    • Marla Sarris says:

      Hey Rickie! You could start him off slowly with Paleo breakfast muffins, then it seems like a carb-centered recipe like before. Here’s a quick blueberry muffin recipe for ya but you can play around with it and add any ingredients you’d like. I prefer savory over sweet and if you can win him over with these, maybe he’ll try the savory kind next. At least he’ll get some eggs in with the sweet muffins for some protein.

      Preheat to 350. Whisk together 6 eggs, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup coconut flour, pinch sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Fold in 1 cup blueberries, transfer to a muffin tin (I use parchment muffin cups for easy cleanup) and bake for 35-40 minutes.

      For a more savory muffin whisk eggs in a bowl and combine with 1lb browned ground beef or bison, 1/2 cup minced chopped onion, 1/2 cup minced bell pepper. Pour those into a muffin tin and top each muffin with fresh chopped dill.

      I don’t have a waffle maker, so I’ve never experimented with those recipes to give you any recommendations there but you could always try the pancake recipe I included above in the waffle maker. You may need to add a 1/2 cup coconut flour and maybe some coconut milk but give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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