Healthy American breakfast

American Breakfast Through the Decades

Healthy American breakfast

As with everything in this fast-paced, fleeting world, the average American breakfast has evolved over time.

One hundred and ten years ago, that kale-and-almond-butter smoothie you’re clutching in your Soul Cycle-sweaty claw would be replaced with a filigreed silver table fork, perhaps spearing a wiggly lump of jellied veal.

Or, 42 years ago, you might have been choking down something called Crab Imperial Chesapeake in between slurps of Tab. Or, 31 years ago, you could have been double-dipping between bowls of Rainbow Brite and Mr. T novelty cereals. (I hope you ’80s kids know how good you had it.)

And as with every trend, the popular dishes and products gracing American breakfast tables over the years were influenced by a number of factors: the socio-economic and political landscape ( food rationing during the World Wars), breakthroughs in technology (welcome to the 1930s, refrigerators!), and the advent and evolution of pop culture (hello, 1950s “teen-agers”!). But some trends proved lasting—even during the Great Depression, families still managed to fry up a plate of bacon and brew a pot of coffee.

1900s: Rice, cold meat, and jellied veal

In the days before refrigeration, home cooks prepared only regional, seasonal foods. Many upper-class families had the time to enjoy three lavish meals a day, and breakfast was no exception.

In Mother’s Cook Book: Containing Recipes for Every Day in the Week (1902), author Marion Harland offers a handful of heavy, complicated breakfast recipes.

There’s chicken in jelly, hashed cold meat, jellied veal, rice-and-meat croquettes, and something Harland calls “A Nice Breakfast Dish.” A sample recipe: 

 “Chopped cold meat well seasoned; wet with gravy, if convenient, put it on a platter; then take cold rice made moist with milk and one egg, seasoned with pepper and salt; if not sufficient rice, add powdered bread-crumbs; place this around the platter quite thick; set in oven to heat and brown.”

Notable breakthroughs: In 1906 the Kellogg Company debuts their Toasted Corn Flakes, and the electric toaster is invented in 1908.

1910s: Canned fruit, fried hominy, and coffee 

Soon after the US entered the Great War in 1917, the government urged citizens to monitor their food intake in an effort to conserve staple food items, such as meat and wheat, to ship to US troops and their allies.

This meant that the pig-trotters-in-aspic-laden breakfast tables of yore were replaced with canned fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, and butterless/eggless/milkless (a.k.a. proto-vegan) baked goods. But following a food conservation program apparently didn’t mean totally skimping.

The classic Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1918) by Fannie Farmer includes this sample breakfast menu: Fried hominy, maple syrup, raised biscuits, sliced peaches, and coffee. 

Not too shabby, World War I.

Notable breakthroughs: Refrigerators for home use are invented in 1914, but don’t become available until after the war.

1920s: Codfish and bacon

Home refrigeration changed the game in the 1920s; for those with access to money and electricity, safe food storage meant increased creativity in the kitchen. Codfish cakes, anyone? In this post-food-rationing era, people once again welcomed cushy breakfast spreads. This is the era of Gatsby, after all. Cocktails, fruit or otherwise, abound. As does bacon. Bacon all the time.

In a 1922 edition of Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries, a sample breakfast menu included: grapefruit, codfish cakes, bacon muffins, and coffee.

Notable breakthroughs: Quaker Quick Oats are introduced in 1922, packaged bacon makes its triumphant debut in 1924, and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies appear in 1928.

1930s: Toast, coffee, and Bisquick

For the “average” American family that wasn’t totally fucked over by the crash, the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 didn’t result in deprivation or starvation.

Rather, it marked the arrival of what would become an integral philosophy driving the modern American lifestyle: finding cheaper alternatives.

This aligned nicely with the introduction of readymade food, which required only one purchase in the place of several.

A regular breakfast circa 1935, as outlined in Ida Bailey Allen’s Cooking, Menus, Service, might include: Pears, cracked wheat, top milk, creamed codfish on toast, coffee, and milk.

Notable breakthroughs: Bird’s Eye frozen foods appear in 1930, Bisquick pancake mix in 1931, and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Cream of Mushroom canned soups in 1933.

1940s: Mint, orange juice, and apple butter

Another war, another round of food rationing. Between 1942 and 1947, the government urged families to plant “victory gardens” in order to cultivate their own produce, to can their own food, and to cut down on the good stuff sugar, butter, and meat. 

However, the sample breakfast menus offered in a 1944 issue of the Good Housekeeping Cook Book still include staples bacon, eggs, and something called “waffles de luxe,” which really doesn’t sound so bad. A sample brunch menu includes: orange juice topped with mint, creamed ham and mushrooms, waffles de luxe, maple syrup, apple butter, coffee, and milk.

Notable breakthroughs: General Mills rolls out CheeriOats in 1941; the name is changed to Cheerios in 1945.

1950s: Casseroles, ham and eggs, and cocoa

Frozen foods, casseroles, “exotic” ingredients (think pineapple, ham, and pineapple-and-ham casseroles), TV dinners, bomb-shelter pantries, and the rise of the ideal housewife: Welcome to the 1950s.

The June 1954 issue of Good Housekeeping includes recipes to arm the aforementioned ideal housewife for an onslaught of weekend occasions, including an unexpected visit from the neighbors, a heat wave, a picnic, “entertaining teen-agers,” and a nuclear attack (that last one I made up). Breakfast menus include: “Pineapple juice, baked ham-and-egg sandwiches, quick-fried apple rings, coffee, and cocoa” for the teens; and “Orange juice, help-yourself cereal tray (assorted ready-to-eat cereals and milk); Gen’s ham and eggs, buttered toast, and coffee” for guests.

Notable breakthroughs: Dunkin’ Donuts is founded in 1950 and IHOP shows up in 1958; Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are introduced in 1952, Eggo frozen waffles in 1953, General Mills’ Trix in 1954 and Cocoa Puffs in 1958. 

1960s: Bacon strip pancakes and corn Lorraine

Enter the junk-food boom. Sugary cereals stake their claim as the breakfast of choice in most American households. Fast food drive-throughs also emerge, as do inventive breakfast recipes advertised by big brands Aunt Jemima, Post, and Kraft, many of which include bacon. Aunt Jemima’s bacon-strip pancakes. 

If you’re not yet convinced of this decade’s reckless use of bacon and cheese, check out Del Monte’s 1962 recipe for Corn Lorraine, a horrifying spin on the classic quiche Lorraine involving canned creamed corn and evaporated milk plopped into a pie shell and topped with Swiss and a pound of pork.

Notable breakthroughs: The nation’s first Wendy’s restaurant appears in 1969; Kellogg’s Fruit Loops and Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch become available in 1963, Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms in 1964, Yoplait in 1965, Quaker’s instant oatmeal in 1966, and Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats in 1969.

1970s: Chicken livers and Egg McMuffins

The 1970s saw the emergence of a farm-to-table/locally sourced food movement. Coupled with the decade’s passion for fondue, booze, muumuus, and all things funky and foreign, this resulted in some interesting food trends.

Case in point: In 1974, the food editors at Family Circle Cookbook offered their ideal “Party Brunch” menus, including: pineapple-orange shrub, Crab Imperial Chesapeake, chicken livers, stroganoff, fluffy boiled rice, cherry tomatoes, coffee or tea.

Notable breakthroughs: Post’s Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles appear in 1971, Starbucks is founded in 1971, and Honey Nut Cheerios go on sale in 1979. Fast food breakfast sandwiches, McDonald’s Egg McMuffin in 1972 and Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast in 1977, become popular. The first soy-based bacon appears in 1974. (Thanks, hippies!)

1980s: Diet Food, breakfast on the go, and more bacon

Oh, hey, chemicals and additives! Welcome to the average American breakfast table.

In the ’80s, novelty cereals, frozen breakfasts, and diet/lite/lo-cal everything became the sustenance of choice for a shoulder-padded army of Jane Fonda-worshipping working gals (and guys, probably).

If an office-goer had time to eat breakfast at all, she might opt for portable food, a muffin or quiche, so she could stash her breakfast right alongside her kitten-heeled work pumps and her Rolodex.

Betty Crocker's Working Woman's Cookbook, published in 1982, offers an ideal weekend brunch menu for the titular Working Woman: eggs-stuffing casserole, bacon or sausage, broccoli spears, fruit and spinach salad, spiced coffee

Notable breakthroughs: Tofutti hits the shelves in 1981, Pillsbury Toaster Strudels in 1985, Snapple in 1987, and Healthy Choice frozen meals in 1989.

1990s: Novelty cereal and fun yogurt

Everyone loves the ’90s, probably because you were watching cartoons on a sugar high.

TV-show-inspired cereals Reptar Crunch, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal, Jurassic Park Crunch, and Batman Returns Cereal arrived on grocery store shelves; YoCrunch encouraged you to put candy in your yogurt; and thanks to the Bagel Bites theme song, pizza for breakfast was a totally legit choice.  

A typical Saturday morning of binge watching Recess may have included a bowl of Trix and a blue-raspberry Go-Gurt.

Notable breakthroughs: Berry Berry Kix appear in 1992, Trix Yogurt in 1992, Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs in 1994, French Toast Crunch Cereal in 1995, Oreo O’s in 1998, and Go-Gurt in 1999.

2000s and beyond: Kale, cupcakes, and more bacon

In the early-aughts, kale, smoothies, kale smoothies, low-carb everything, and cupcakes became pop culture-fueled food trends. This is also when the organic/farm-to-table/fair-trade/small-batch revolution (Part 2) began, hence the kale smoothies.

Also, if you were at least semi-conscious and a meat-eater in the 2000s, you probably ingested a bacon doughnut, a bacon martini, a bacon milkshake, and/or Baconnaise. That’s because bacon was in everything.

To relive the confused, cupcake-obsessed, bacon-slinging, health-conscious aughts, have a bacon breakfast cupcake and a smoothie. (Best enjoyed while wearing a Von Dutch hat and watching The O.C.)

Notable breakthroughs: General Mills’ Milk n’ Cereal bars appear in 2000, making cereals Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch a portable treat thanks to a “milk” frosting. Heinz rolls out purple EZ Squirt ketchup in 2001. 

The moral of the story here, kids? Coffee and bacon are forever. 


Lighter American Breakfasts

Healthy American breakfast

Here are dishes that fit any morning routine, whether you're in need of a quick weekday smoothie or a more decadent weekend brunch. But each is made just a little bit healthier, and that feels just right.

View Recipe: All-American Granola

Whether you're running on full speed before work or sitting down to a leisurely brunch on Saturday morning, you'll find recipes here to fill you up and keep you going the rest of the day. Best of all, these classic dishes have been lightened without losing their incredible flavor.

First, enjoy bit of crunch in the morning with a serving of All-American Granola.

Sweetened with maple syrup and studded with dried cherries and sliced almonds, this pantry staple is easy to customize. Try dried blueberries, cranberries, or even apples, and maybe even a little flaxseed for fiber. Or toss with fresh berries before serving.



View Recipe: Caramel-Pecan Sticky Buns

It's hard to resist the sweet smell of cinnamon buns—now you don't have to. Chopped pecans add richness and just the right amount of crunch to these sticky treats.

View Recipe: Savory Egg Muffins

The Stove Top Stuffing Mix we all grew up with is making its way to breakfast. Prepare these the night before so you can pop two into the toaster oven for a quick—but filling—breakfast.


View Recipe: Egg and Cheese on a Roll

This is a popular grab-and-go breakfast for New Yorkers on the run. Countless variations exist, and we've added one more with our own homemade favorite. Lighten up the cheese and eggs, swap the roll for an English muffin, and doctor the sandwich with ketchup and a healthy dose of hot sauce, just they do in the Big Apple.

View Recipe: Peach and Blueberry Pancakes

Each third-cupful of this thick batter produces a pancake that is wonderfully fluffy and filled with fresh fruit. The combination of peaches and blueberries never fails to please.

View Recipe: Red Flannel Hash

This hash is a Yankee tradition, so called, some say, for its colors, which resemble a red flannel shirt. It’s customarily served the morning after a New England boiled dinner, when there's plenty of leftover corned beef and potatoes. Our version combines roasted beets and potatoes with a small portion of corned beef for a lighter take on the original.



View Recipe: Monkey Bread

The sticky-fingers aspect of this dish makes it a surefire hit with the kids, and the spiced and buttered rounds go a long way.

View Recipe: Alabama Cat-Head Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

No, there's no cat in these biscuits; they've earned their name because of their size. This recipe is a riff on the Southern classic from Demetri's BBQ in Birmingham, AL.

Adorable and delicious, these mini donuts are the perfect treat to satisfy the strongest sweet tooth cravings. We dressed these breakfast beauties in a sweet maple syrup glaze. Use a mini donut pan, available in most cookware stores.


View Recipe: Cajun-Style Shrimp and Grits

At Castaways Raw Bar and Grill on Holden Beach in North Carolina, they serve up huge portions of spicy shrimp and grits. This version is inspired by theirs—zesty with green onions and tasso ham, with a generous dose of Cajun spice.

View Recipe: Mushroom, Bacon, and Swiss Strata

This make-ahead breakfast casserole streamlines a morning routine few other recipes can. Assemble it the night before, then pop it in the oven about an hour before you want to eat.

View Recipe: L.E.O. Scramble

L.E.O. refers to the winning combination of lox, eggs, and onions in this savory scramble. It's a New York diner favorite that’s easy to prepare at home.


View Recipe: Tex-Mex Migas

“Migas” means “crumbs,” and that’s just what this dish is—small bits of tortilla, cheese, salsa, and eggs scrambled up into one of the Southwest’s signature specialties. A staple of the Lone Star State, migas can also be found in Mexican breakfast spots across the country.

View Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Scones

Although scones are among the most quintessentially British teatime treats, the addition of cranberries, a fruit indigenous to America, keeps them firmly on our side of the pond.  This recipe is courtesy of food writer Susan Axelrod.

Shakshuka is an Israeli dish that is becoming increasingly popular across America. Serve spoonfuls of the spicy tomato-and-pepper sauce over rice.


View Recipe: Baked French Toast

Don't be surprised to hear your kids bolt bed when they smell this delicious dish cooking.

View Recipe: Philly Scrapple

There are many local variations of this breakfast staple, but it commonly includes various bits of pork, ground cornmeal or wheat, and seasonings. In Philadelphia, it’s served with a sunny-side-up egg, and elsewhere it’s served with everything from grape jelly to apple butter and honey to ketchup and mustard.

View Recipe: Maine Blueberry Cake

This dish is often served as dessert after traditional Maine lobster bakes, but it makes for a fantastic breakfast treat as well.



I Broke Breakfast

Healthy American breakfast

Read: The most contentious meal of the day

“Breakfast food” might be an arbitrary concept in America, but it’s a distinct one: cereal with milk, a cup of yogurt, eggs, muffins, fruit, oatmeal, juice. Maybe pancakes or waffles on the weekend, if you have some extra time.

There are some regional variations, bagels or biscuits, but the menu tends to be far more predictable than lunch or dinner. And although American breakfast isn’t nutritionally or philosophically cohesive, how the country goes about its morning meal isn’t a mistake.

Modern breakfast in the United States tells the story of more than a century of cultural upheaval.

American breakfast begins in Europe, which provided the food norms imported by early colonizers. There, the day’s first meal had emerged from centuries of prohibition under the Catholic Church.

“There was a period of time in England and western Europe where eating breakfast was sort of tied to gluttony,” says Heather Arndt Anderson, the author of Breakfast: A History.

That all changed with the Protestant Reformation, when morning sustenance became more broadly permissible, if not all that exciting, or even distinct from everything else people ate. Lack of refrigeration meant the meal was usually sour and tepid. In Germany, beer soup was common.

In early America, breakfast remained a matter of convenience for most people: bread; preserved meats; repurposed leftovers; and things, eggs, that were easy to prepare and regularly available to rural families, Arndt Anderson says.

According to Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at New York University, that’s consistent with how much of the world still approaches the day’s first meal.

“Poorer people everywhere, especially in places India and China, eat the same kind of food for meal after meal,” he says. “The strict differentiation of meals is partly an American thing, but partly a thing of upward mobility.” Breakfast food, as a concept, is a luxury.

As colonial America developed into a more robust culture with distinct class markers, breakfast started to change with it.

At first, this evolution was slow.

America was a growing country, but technological limitations in both communication and food preparation meant that the morning meal was a largely regional concern, dictated by crops and livestock, as well as the previous day’s leftovers.

In at least one sense, a college student waking after a night out and scarfing down two slices of unrefrigerated pizza rapidly aging in their delivery box is actually just participating in what breakfast has historically meant to billions of people.

The alarm with which Americans now commonly regard eating day-old, unrefrigerated food started to develop as the Industrial Revolution changed food preservation, the workday, and cultural conceptions of health.

Arguably no one was more directly responsible for these shifts than the Kellogg brothers, who developed Corn Flakes in the late 1800s as an outgrowth of John Harvey Kellogg’s work at his Battle Creek Sanitarium, in Michigan.

Kellogg was a doctor and an adherent of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which advocated a bland, vegetarian diet and abstention from things caffeine and alcohol.

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10 Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Healthy American breakfast

2 of 10

Strawberry Parfaits

If you've got a sweet tooth when you roll bed, head straight for this low-fat strawberry parfait. Breakfast that tastes dessert? That's our kind of morning!

Calories: 169

Get the strawberry parfait recipe!

By Katherine Perry
Photo: John Kernick

3 of 10

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese

Gourmet breakfast in just 13 minutes? Sign us up! This smoked salmon, asparagus, and goat cheese scramble is full of healthy fats and packed with protein.

Calories: 328

Get the scrambled eggs recipe!

Text: Katherine Perry
Photo: Mitch Mandel

4 of 10

Orient Express Oatmeal

Short on time but need a breakfast that packs a punch? You'll only need four minutes to whip up this flavorful oatmeal. With almost 20 grams of protein, it will keep you going well past lunchtime.

Calories: 420

Get the orient express oatmeal recipe!

Text: Katherine Perry
Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

5 of 10

Multigrain Blueberry Waffles

Just the waffles Mom used to make—but better for your heart! These multigrain waffles are high in fiber and low in fat. Perfect for a nice Sunday brunch.

Calories: 221

Get the multigrain blueberry waffles recipe!

Text: Katherine Perry
Photo: Rodale Images

6 of 10

Sunrise Sandwich with Turkey, Cheddar, and Guacamole

In this improvement on the Egg McMuffin, we've subbed in lean turkey for Canadian bacon, added lycopene-rich tomato, and crowned it all with a spread of heart-healthy guacamole.

Calories: 360

Get the sunrise breakfast sandwich recipe!

Photo: Mitch Mandel

7 of 10

Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Wake up to a delicious blend of banana, strawberries, blueberries and peanut butter. This fruit smoothie recipe is a good source of protein and fiber.

Calories: 225

Get the berry smoothie recipe!

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

8 of 10

Berry Wafflewich

Prepare the waffle according to the package directions. Spread peanut butter on the waffle. Cup the waffle in your hand, add berries, then squeeze lightly. Think of it as a berry breakfast taco.

Calories: 170

Get the berry wafflewich recipe!

Photo: Polka Dot/Thinkstock

9 of 10

One-Minute Cheesy Mushroom Scramble

Including prep and cook time, this scramble will take you only four minutes (meaning you'll have plenty of time to curl your hair before work).

Calories: 293

Get the scrambled eggs recipe!

Text: Erin Hicks
Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

10 of 10

Oatmeal, Buttermilk, and Blueberry Pancakes

Perfect for brunch, these moist, light pancakes are filling, not fattening! Adding oatmeal to the batter is a delicious way to add fiber to your morning meal.

Calories: 129 per pancake

Get the blueberry pancakes recipe!

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas from Around the World | Eat This Not That

Healthy American breakfast

Here's the thing about why breakfast is so important: After 6+ hours or sleep, your body is starved of nutrients and needs an injection to fire up its metabolism and return to full operating capacity. Unfortunately, too many Americans feed it nothing but sugar-soaked cereals, juice, or bacon-egg-n-cheeses, ensuring a day of limited productivity (and possibly a lifetime of cholesterol issues).

Other countries may not have our amber waves of grain, but many do offer a healthier breakfast blueprint.

Take inspiration from these 10 international breakfasts that contain both the nutrients you need and deliciousness par excellence.

None of these is 100 percent perfect—but most ly a lot healthier than yours. Check 'em out and then find out The 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds!

It's difficult not to find fans of the typical Turkish breakfast among nutritionists and gourmands a.

The impressive spread of meze-style dishes starts with olives, tomato, white cheese, parsley (squeezed with lemon) and moves on to eggs, honey, cubanelle peppers, cucumbers, garlic sausage, and savory pastries.

The olives are a particularly good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat while the ever-present tea is loaded with antioxidant catechins. And you all know how much we love tea around here, what with our The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse and all.

The centerpiece of any good Israeli breakfast is Shakshouka, eggs poached in a tomato and vegetable sauce, best taken alongside salat katzutz—a finely chopped vegetable salad with tomatoes, red onion, parsley, cilantro, cucumbers, and red or green peppers.

the Turkish breakfast, cheese (especially Tsfatit), olives, and yogurt are common, making the meal low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat, dietary fibers, calcium, riboflavin, and phosphorus.

If you love creative egg dishes, don't miss these 25 Best Egg Recipes for Weight Loss.

Breakfast in Japan eschews most Western ingredients in favor of steamed rice (or okayu rice porridge), tofu, pickled vegetables, fermented soy beans, dried seaweed, and of course, fish.

If any eggs join the spread, they are elegantly rolled into a tamagoyaki omelet. Altogether, it's extremely low in sugar, and high in goodies manganese, magnesium, selenium, potassium, and vitamin A.

The accompanying green tea adds antioxidants.


A steaming bowl of breakfast Pho usually comes stuffed with a huge variety of vegetables and herbs—cilantro, bean sprouts, mint, spring onion, lime, roasted peanuts, chili, among others.

The bone broth also packs perks for your gut, where the gelatin can help seal holes in the intestines. Be warned that not all versions are created equal, and some contain unhealthy amounts of sodium—so it may be best leave most of it in the bowl.

Curious about bone broth? Try a K-cup to get bone broth from your Keurig!

The traditional Egyptian breakfast and national dish, Fūl Medames, is thought to date to the time of the pharaohs.

The main ingredient, fava beans, are usually stewed overnight and then spiced with cumin, chopped parsley, garlic, onion, lemon juice, and chili pepper. Chopped hard boiled eggs are sometimes added, too.

The body benefits just as much as the taste buds, with very low saturated fat, no cholesterol, and lots of fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Black beans—and the heavy amounts of iron, zinc, potassium, thiamin, and folate inside—play a central role in breakfast here.

Mixed with rice, spiced with cumin, pepper, and garlic, Gallo Pinto often comes with eggs on the side and a host of vitamin-rich tropical fruits mango, pineapple, papaya, and plantains.

The breakfast might have a lot to do with Costa Rica's “Blue Zone” designation, given to countries with long-living populations. Speaking of what to eat as you age, don't miss these 25 Foods People Over 45 Should Eat!

Icelandic cuisine may not inspire much salivation, but its breakfast is one of the healthiest—and perfect for fending off dark, icy mornings.

Hafragrautur, an oatmeal porridge, is is cooked in water or milk before being sprinkled with brown sugar, raisins, and melon seeds; this makes it low in cholesterol and sodium and high in dietary fiber, manganese, and selenium.

Add in a shot of omega 3-rich cod liver oil and a few spoonfuls of protein-packed skyr, the semi-tart Icelandic version of Greek yogurt, and you're ready to get shoveling. Love oats? Then don't miss these 50 Best Overnight Oats Recipes!

Kasha may be all the rage in American health food stores today, but it's been on tables in Russia for far longer, primarily at breakfast, as a warm porridge made from oats, millet, buckwheat, or semolina.

Cooked in milk to give it extra creaminess, it's topped with butter, spices, dried fruits, or jam. Very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, the porridge is an excellent source of dietary fiber and magnesium, and manganese.

The buckwheat version is particularly good at lowering high blood pressure, thanks to the rich supply of flavonoids.

Breakfast is perhaps the best excuse to dive into supremely delicious Nasi Lemak. Soaked and cooked in coconut milk, rice is garnished with anchovies, cucumbers, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, and spicy sambal sauce.

It's traditionally wrapped in a banana leaf, but that's just a renewable place setting. Yes, there's a bit more fat than is good for you (eat less rice to reduce), but it's balanced with lots of manganese, protein, and carbs.

The chili in the sambal also boosts the metabolism (depending which nutritionist you talk to).

The subcontinent's widespread embrace of vegetarianism means a breakfast healthier than most. In the south, Upma, a thick concoction made from dry roasted semolina is popular.

The succulent savory flavor infused by the cumin, green chilies, cilantro, and turmeric also contains a range of nutrients. Turmeric in particularly has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

You'll also benefit from a high dose of selenium, folate, and thiamin, plus the protein and vitamin E and B in the whole grains.

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!


24 New-Classic American Breakfast Foods To Start Your Day Off Right

Healthy American breakfast

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day. It's also my favorite meal of the day.

After having lived in Europe and China for a decade, it's my opinion that nothing beats diner style potato hash, pancakes smothered in syrup, and some kind of egg variation with a cup of coffee in the morning.

There's just something about a hearty breakfast (infused with coffee, of course) that really sets my day off in the right direction.

Maybe it's the fact that working a typical 9-5 means most of us don't really have time to sit down for this meal except on the weekends or special occasions. I'm sure there's some psychological effect of being a kid an only big breakfasts on the weekends when mom had time to cook. Who knows.

Regardless of whether or not you share my nostalgia, breakfast is a meal that can do a lot for you. Getting some calories in your body early in the morning gives you some kindling to start the furnace and get your muscles moving in the morning.

Protein keeps you full until lunch, and liquids cure your dehydration from sleep, meaning you'll be able to think more clearly. Despite recent studies showing that adding breakfast to your schedule isn't the ‘easy way' to lose weight, it's still a very simple way to start your day on the right foot.

Best American Breakfast Foods

Here's a list of 24 classic American breakfast staples…even though French toast, Belgian waffles, and English muffins might make you do a double take.

24. Pancakes and Maple Syrup

Who doesn’t love waking up to the smell of pancakes? There is something about pancakes that suggests that the day is going to be great, especially if you are sharing them with your family.

Regardless of how much of a hurry you are in, pancakes is one breakfast that you really do need to take slow. This makes them a fantastic way to slow down and get your day going on the right food, rather than rushing right from the start.

23. Toasted English Muffin

Having a toasted English muffin can be an easy and fast option for breakfast. One of the great things about these is that there are so many different options for toppings – so you can really tailor them towards what you to eat.

Some of the simpler options are butter, Nutella or cream cheese, but there are also many more interesting and complex alternatives. In fact, you can simply treat an English muffin much a sandwich and use this as a guide for what to put on them.

22. Eggs Benedict

Eggs benedict is one of the most common example of using English muffins as a breakfast food. These are really common at restaurants, but they are also surprisingly easy to make at home.

The breakfast simply includes an English muffin, some type of ham or bacon (Canadian bacon is often used), a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. The combination of flavors works very well together, and this is also a high protein breakfast, which can help you to feel full for longer.

21. Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy is a particularly common breakfast in the United States, especially in the South, although the meal isn’t very common in other parts of the world.

In fact, the word biscuit in British English refers to cookies, so the phrase biscuits and gravy doesn’t even make sense in British English. Despite this, the American version of biscuits and gravy can be a particularly hearty breakfast and a great introduction to the day.

20. Bagel with Cream Cheese

Bagels are a great option for an easy breakfast, especially as you can cut them in half and stick them in the toaster to warm them up. There are a lot of different varieties to choose from, including ones topped with sesame and sunflower seeds, as well as ones with different dough types, rye and whole-grain.

As with English muffins, there are a wide range of options for toppings. Cream cheese is a particularly good option and another common approach is cream cheese along with smoked salmon.

19. Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a particularly appealing breakfast choice for anyone who enjoys sweet foods. They are also particularly appealing because of the taste of cinnamon, as this is a really good breakfast flavor.

Many people buy cinnamon rolls as-is or buy ones that just need to be put in the oven, but actually making them from scratch isn’t actually as challenging as it seems. The sweet and sugary nature of this breakfast means that this makes a good treat, but not something you should have as breakfast every day.

18. Belgian Style Waffles

Belgian waffles tend to have large squares, deep pockets and relatively light batter. When done right, the waffles will tend to be crispy on the outside, but light on the inside.

The deep pockets mean that there are a huge range of potential toppings, including fruit, syrup, chocolate sauce, ice cream and frequently combinations of all of those. Breakfast versions of the waffles tend to focus more on fruit and syrup flavors, but even then, there are a lot of different options.

17. Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast burritos are a more savory option for breakfast, but they are also a very hearty option. a normal burrito, these typically involve a flower tortilla that is wrapped around the filling. The difference here is the specific filling.

Breakfast burritos often make use of breakfast staples, scrambled eggs, ham, cheese, sausage, bacon and hash browns, but once again, the options for variation are endless. Salsa, potatoes, avocado, beans, spinach, feta and mushrooms are just some of the many other potential ingredients that can be included.

16. French Toast

French toast is another nice addition to breakfast. This one is often associated with lazy Sunday mornings, but it can work nice any day, especially as it is relatively fast to prepare.

The basic approach involves soaking or dipping bread in a beaten egg mixture and then frying them. There are, of course, many variations depending on the specific recipe that you choose, including the use of milk or cream in the mixture, as well as spices nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon or sugar.

15. Bacon and Eggs

Bacon and eggs are two foods that most people associate with breakfast – and with good reason. The flavors work well together and often you will see some type of starch included, such as a croissant, some toast, fried potatoes or hash browns.

You might see the eggs scrambled, poached, fried or even occasionally hard boiled. Regardless of the variations used, bacon and eggs is still a particularly satisfying way to start the day.

14. Fruit Smoothie

Fruit smoothies are a more health conscious way to start the day, and they work really well for people who don’t have a whole lot of time. After all, you can put them in a to-go container and drink them along the way. Fruit smoothies also work well as a way to add in other healthy components to a diet.

For example, people often mix in leafy greens or protein powder to make a more complex and filling smoothie that sill largely tastes fruit. As always, there is a huge number of different variations that can be tried and people tend to tailor their smoothies towards their own preferences.

13. Plain Toast & Butter or Jam

Toast is probably one of the simplest options for breakfast, but it still remains an extremely common one. After all, to cook the toast you just need to stick a few pieces of bread in a toaster and wait for them to be done.

Then it’s just a matter of adding on whatever toppings you , such as butter or jam. On busy days, I have a tendency just to eat the toast as I am going the door – as that lets me make sure I at least have something in my stomach to keep me alert.

12. Hashbrowns AKA Potato Pancakes

The term hash browns basically refers to potatoes being pan fried after being shredded, although there are some variations on the definition. Often you will find these in the form of hash brown patties, although the loose shreds of hash browns are also common.

While hash browns aren’t commonly used on their own as a breakfast item, they are frequently used on the side of other parts of the meal, eggs and bacon.

11. Sweet Crepes

Crepes have a lot of similarities to pancakes, but they tend to be thinner and lighter. This makes them perfect for fillings, and often you will see crepes rolled up with fillings in a similar way to burritos.

The term sweet crepes generally refers to the fillings, because crepes are generally made in the same way regardless of whether sweet or savory fillings are used. Some common sweet options for crepes include fruit, powdered sugar and chocolate syrup, a berry sauce, or sugar and lemon.

10. Breakfast Parfait

Parfaits are a great option for getting granola, fruit and yogurt into your breakfast in a more interesting and more portable way. If you make these up in portable containers (mason jars are especially common), the parfaits become something that you can make the night before and take with you for a very easy breakfast or lunch.

Many grocery stores also offer their own versions of parfaits, but as is often the case, homemade ones do tend to be better.

9. Griddlecakes

Griddlecakes are another interesting breakfast addition. The term is a confusing one, as it is often considered a synonym for pancakes, yet can also specifically mean cake- or biscuit- foods cooked on a griddle. In the latter case, you can see a wide range of variety in recipes and end products.

Regardless of the specific definition or recipe, griddlecakes are a very good breakfast option, Often you will end up with a hearty and sweet breakfast that offers a great way to get your day going.

8. Sausage and Egg Sandwich

As fast food restaurants will testify, breakfast sandwiches ( this sausage and egg one) are a very popular way to start the day. As with other options on this list, sandwiches this are great because they are relatively portable while still offering that breakfast taste.

This type of sandwich can be made on normal bread, but more common alternatives are English muffins and ciabatta buns. Whatever approach you take, they are certainly delicious and great fuel for the day.

7. Stuffed Omelet

Omelets come in endless varieties, especially when you are considering the stuffed variety. This type of omelet essentially acts as a sandwich, with the fillings wedged between the two sides of the omelet – although you certainly can’t pick it up and eat it a sandwich.

Most omelets rely on cheese as some part of their filling, such as mozzarella, cheddar or even feta cheese. Beyond this, fillings can include a wide range of combinations of different meats and vegetables.

6. Croissants

Croissants originate in France and have been particularly common in both France and Austria throughout history. However, they are becoming increasingly popular as a breakfast staple in the United States and are easily recognizable by their crescent shape.

Croissants tend to be flaky and buttery, although their relatively light substance makes them largely unsuitable as the sole component of a breakfast. Nevertheless, they are especially common in a continental breakfast and many people do start the day with a croissant and a cup of coffee.

5. Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are a fairly common anytime food, but they are also a good addition to a breakfast.

They are light enough to work well with a cup of coffee for people who don’t eating very much in the morning. Yet at the same time, a blueberry muffin can be a good way to round off a more hearty breakfast and satisfy any lingering cravings for sweets.

4. Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros doesn’t sound a particularly American dish, but it is a dish with Mexican origins that is becoming increasingly common in the United States. At its heart, this is an egg-based dish that uses elements of traditional Mexican cuisine.

The dish includes the use of, tortillas, tomato-chili sauce, refried beans and rice. However, there are also many variations to the dish, including additions sour cream and lettuce that aren’t part of the dish’s original culture.

3. Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are fast, easy and extremely common as an addition to breakfast. The protein from the eggs makes them especially appealing as a breakfast option and the eggs can offer a hearty start to any day. There are many variations that can also be made with scrambled eggs, such as including ham, cheese or chives as part of the egg mixture.

While most people use either milk or water to make the eggs, they can also be made using cream, which creates a richer (and less healthy) dish.

2. Hot Oatmeal or Porridge

Porridge itself has a long history of being a common breakfast food and oatmeal is the latest example of this (generally speaking, oatmeal can be considered a kind of porridge).

Both types of breakfast contain oats and a type of fiber that has been associated with lowering cholesterol. While oatmeal and porridge can be very good additions to the breakfast table, be a bit wary around the pre-packaged and flavored varieties. Often these are high in sugar. You are better off choosing plain versions and flavoring them yourself.

1. Quiche

As an egg and cheese based dish, it’s pretty easy to see why quiche can be used as an appealing breakfast food. the one in this image, ham or bacon is also a common addition, and other potential ingredients include mushrooms, sweet potatoes and spinach.

The most common approaches to quiche involve the use of pastry, but for those who don’t want the effort, crustless recipes do exist.