I’m an all-out breakfast person. I have no lunch routine and can honestly do without it some days. As for dinner, it comes in a close second to breakfast, but oftentimes some wine and a little fruit & cheese platter will do the trick. Breakfast, on the other hand, I have no exceptions for. If I don’t eat a filling breakfast, I turn into a monster and I am not to be f-cked with under any circumstances.
In a perfect world where time and money flow freely, I would wake up every day the way I do when I’m on vacation - over the course of a drawn out, 2-3 hour breakfast. I’d kick things off with tall, cold glass of water with lemon, followed by a freshly-brewed cup of Rook coffee with a little heavy cream (swoon) all while enjoying some form of impressive literature, a.k.a the Saturday Comics. Then, about an hour later, I’d break out some fresh berries to nom on while my poached eggs with bacon-avocado toast was being magically made over a bed of fingerling potato-kale hash. Naturally, I’d be soaking all of this up on a porch somewhere overlooking the ocean with the sun rising and happy birds softly chirping along the horizon.
Unfortunately, the normal Monday-Friday does not allow for such a magnificent breakfast routine. And as someone who clearly has a strong affection for eating during A.M. hours, I’ve had a difficult time adjusting. To compensate, I used to order my breakfast daily from a midtown bodega near my office. Regularly, I would have two eggs over easy, a side of bacon, hash browns with cheese, onions and peppers, rye toast lightly buttered and some fruit. After a while, though, I knew I had to change things up. For one, I was in need of a nap or a long walk after eating every morning - neither of which is plausible at my place of work. More importantly though, I was spending close to $50 a week on breakfast (thank you, New York prices). That’s $200 a month on breakfast. Not necessary. So, I changed things up and crafted a new morning menu.
The criteria? Each breakfast has to be satisfying, healthy, and CHEAP. Of course, it was also important that each meal be easy to make and heat up, whether at home or at work. (NOTE: I’m all for the whole “don’t eat at your desk” thing, but when you don’t have a cafeteria, you don’t have a choice.)
1. ‘Topped off’ rice & beans + an apple
Do you know how little it costs to cook a plate of rice & beans? And furthermore how delicious and nutritious it is? Brown rice costs pennies (even if you get the microwaveable kind) and it holds very well over time. Same goes for beans. Make a batch of each on Sunday and bring them to work in separate containers. For added deliciousness, slice up an avocado, pack a baggie of diced scallions & shredded cheese, and stash hot sauce at your desk. Hello, Latin-American vacation.
2. Frittata & berries
A frittata is basically a quiche without the crust. It’s surprisingly easy to make as well. All you need is leftovers and eggs, really. I always have spinach and mushrooms in my fridge, in addition to some kind of cheese and I’m never short of potatoes. Here’s how to make it: sautee some potatoes with onions, adding in whatever veggies you have left over. In a separate bowl, scramble eggs with cheese (I recommend pepper jack for a kick and a good melt) and pour over top evenly. Do not stir. After a minute or two on the stove, pop the pan in a 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Now, just slice it equally into 4-6 large slices and you have a satisfying, hot breakfast for an entire week! Note: A mix of mozzarella and prosciutto is also delicious for this.
3. Cereal + hardboiled egg + clementine
This is perfect if you, like I, have a work refrigerator with endless cartons of milk in it. Milk that’s always fresh + always free = deal. Trader Joe’s has healthy cereals for as low as $2.69, clementines come in packs of 16 or so for $4 and organic eggs cost $4-5 a carton. Basically, you’re getting 12 days of breakfast for less than $1 a day. Boom.
4. Fresh Banana-nut / Apple-Pie Oatmeal
Sure, you can buy the steel-cut oats that will pretty much feed you for a year, but you can also “splurge” on the $3 boxes of 8 packets in the fun flavors of apple cinnamon, maple syrup, etc.. It’s still healthy, okay? Seriously. It is. To freshen it up, chop up apples (for the apple cinnamon pack) or slice a fresh banana (for the maple-syrup pack). Top it off with some crushed walnuts & a drizzle of honey (also stashed at your desk). For some protein, make the oatmeal with that free office-milk. Or, just boil an egg!
5. Avocado-Bacon Toast
Okay, so you may or may not have a toaster at your office, but regardless, this toast is doable. Cook the bacon ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Mash up 1-2 ripe avocados and add a little lemon and sea salt. Toast up some version of a nutty, whole-grain bread, smear the goodness and top it off with a slice or two of bacon. It’s honestly as easy as that and should last you 2-3 days (a squeeze of fresh lemon does wonders). If you don’t have a toaster in your office, you can always swap the bread for a bodega-bagel OR, better yet, eat this breakfast at home
Do you have a favorite breakfast that you audible to in the morning? Share below!