I’ve always found it ironic that we tout breakfast as the most important meal of the day and yet most Americans tend to eat empty calories for breakfast. It’s easy to see why. We live in a fast paced world that values convenience and the creation and marketing of breakfast cereals, bars, and other grab and go items made from grains and sugar have taken us far from the tradition of a home cooked breakfast which included much higher levels of protein, vitamins and minerals which go much farther to fuel and satisfy us.
If you have problems processing carbohydrates, you’ve probably discovered by now a breakfast of cereal, breakfast bars or toast just isn’t going to cut it. A lot of people are left scratching their heads when it comes to figuring out how to change their breakfast routines to better accommodate their food intolerances and still manage a quick breakfast.
As someone with gastroparesis, FODMAP issues and MCAS, trying to find something new and interesting to eat sometimes feels like walking a field of landmines, but over time and much trial and error I’ve found my tried and true foods that work best for me. Of course this is the first step in any journey to attaining good gut health with gastrointestinal issues. Once you’ve managed that, then you can begin to figure out how to do it with some convenience.
If your GI problems are complex, you may have to redefine “breakfast” a little, too. If you’re allergic to or don’t like eggs, obviously moving to a traditional egg breakfast is not going to be for you. You may hate sausage or eating pork is forbidden for religious reasons. This is okay. Just because we don’t traditionally eat lamb or stew for breakfast as a society doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Don’t let conventional “wisdom” hold you back from doing what’s necessary to achieve positive changes in your health.
If you have gastroparesis, everything you put in your mouth becomes super-important. It almost feels like the opposite, because the stomach no longer absorbs a lot of the nutrients from food. Digestion also slows as paralysis takes over, so eating becomes a lot less frequent, while nausea becomes well known. Eating sometimes feels like an exercise in tortuous futility, but it is precisely because of these reasons that people with GP should be paying very careful attention to their first meal of the day. Our food can take so long to digest that it may be the only meal we manage to eat. Even if it’s not, it may be in upwards of 8-12 hours before we can eat again and the more nutrient dense foods we can pack in, the better the chance we have of absorbing them. After all, you can’t absorb nothing and many grain products out there are nothing but empty calories.
Many of us with GP also have stomachs that lie. It will tell us we’re full if we eat 2 bites or 20. I’ve found that oftentimes I get to control this, however. If I eat 2 bites and stop, my stomach is going to signal within 5 minutes that I’m stuffed to the gills and sometimes I can’t eat again for a ridiculous amount of time (12 hours to a whole day). If I keep eating, I can usually eat a normal sized meal (not an American sized meal, a properly sized meal based on actual serving sizes) that includes a serving of meat, a serving of potatoes or rice, and a serving of vegetables; sometimes there’s even a bun or some bread in there somewhere. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes my stomach just says hell no. But on most days, so long as I’m eating what I’m supposed to and NONE of what I’m not, then if I eat my whole meal all at once, I’m fine.
For me, protein (primarily meat), white potatoes and white rice are my staples. I build every meal on at least one of these ingredients and breakfast is no exception. Yes, it takes planning, but it’s still possible for me to make my breakfast in the same amount of time as it takes to make a bowl of cereal. I have no religious restrictions and I’m quite fond of traditional breakfast foods, so I have that going for me. I do miss eating cold pizza for breakfast now, though. LOL.
How to make breakfast fast:
- Precook your meats – I buy two packages of sausage every week and cook it up all at once. That way, I only have to throw a serving in the microwave for 45 seconds and I’m ready to go. You can do this with patties, links, bacon, chicken, just pick your meat! If you’re on the low histamine diet, be sure to freeze the meat immediately after cooking and defrost it in the microwave just before using it.
- Precook hard boiled eggs- Boil your eggs for 9 minutes and cool slightly before peeling. Place them in a storage container and use them throughout the week. If you’re on the low histamine diet, you can still eat the yolks!
- Precook scrambled eggs- scramble up to a dozen eggs and store them in a container in the fridge. Microwave for 30 seconds to reheat. Add some low FODMAP cheese before microwaving or top with some low FODMAP Red Tomato Salsa for a little extra kick.
- Buy precooked ham slices and heat them in the microwave. NOT LH appropriate.
- Heat tater tots in the toaster oven – If you like to have potatoes with your eggs and sausage in the morning, throw some tots in the toaster or regular oven and go on about your business until they’re done. If your other items are already pre-cooked, it only takes another minute or two. Remember to add extra salt if you’re a POTSie!
- Have leftovers- it’s often easy to make extra of something when you’re making dinner, so why not do that and save it for your breakfast? All you have to do is reheat it and you’re ready to go. Remember, if you’re on the low histamine diet, your left-overs should be frozen immediately after cooking and cooling them.
- Pre-make breakfast burritos – Then pop them in the microwave. If you’re short on time, wrap it in a napkin to take with you.
- Pre-make breakfast bowls – it’s easy to scramble together some eggs with your favorite breakfast meat(s) and some tots. Put them in individual containers, toss on a little cheese and throw them in the microwave, and you have a complete breakfast ready to go in a couple of minutes.
- Need it to go? Put some pre-cooked sausage on some bread (gluten-free or wheat or if you’re mold sensitive, try a yeast free biscuit) and wrap it in a napkin to take with you. Grab a safe piece of fruit to help round things out.
- Whole fruit and a handful of nuts – Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy. If you truly don’t have time to sit down and eat, grab a piece of fruit and some nuts or a slice of bread or a biscuit with some nut butter on it.
- Check out some microwave breakfast cup recipes (just do a search, there are a million) and see what you can find that’s compatible with your diet. I’m not really into them personally, but there do seem to be a few options out there that might work.
If you’re going to eat cereal or grain heavy products for breakfast, try to choose ones with high protein, low FODMAP grains and try to eat more than just the one item. There are some companies coming out with low FODMAP convenience foods now, so take a look at what they have.
When you have a sensitive system and have to watch not just the types of carbohydrates that you eat, but also the amount you consume, you really can’t afford to go eating a carbohydrate heavy breakfast anymore. To me, it’s just common sense to give your body and your digestive system its best chance for a good day by providing it with the best fuel. That doesn’t mean being tied to the stove every morning though, as there are many ways to make a high protein, low FODMAP breakfast fast and easy.
Looking for Low FODMAP Recipes? Check out ours!