As someone who’s been living a vegan lifestyle for the past seven-and-a-half years, I’ve realized that many people still don’t have much of an idea what we vegans actually eat, meal-to-meal, day-to-day.
As awareness about animal rights issues spreads, an increasing number of people are choosing to go vegan, whether out of respect and compassion for animals, to improve our health, or to reduce our environmental footprint.
With that in mind, here are some easy breakfast ideas that are both sugar-free (although of course it depends on the ingredients you use) and vegan, with gluten-free options.
Having a healthy breakfast is important to start the day off right. A plant-based, whole foods diet is scientifically proven to prevent many types of diseases. Why don’t you use these ideas as a springboard for going vegan yourself?
This can be as simple as oats cooked in water, but, if you prefer, you can also add toppings: dried fruit (such as raisins): chopped apple; nuts (like walnuts); nut butters; almond milk or another non-dairy milk; chia seeds or flax seeds (both of which contain omega-3 fatty acids); shredded coconut; cocoa powder or cacao nibs; or carob powder. For a gluten-free version, you can try quinoa flakes or buckwheat hot cereal instead of oats.
Peanut butter sandwiches.
These are healthy (provided you use natural peanut butter and whole-grain bread) and easy to make if you’re in a hurry. For variations on the classic peanut butter sandwich, try switching up your bread to a gluten-free option, or a different variation of nut butter, such as hazelnut or cashew butter.
Toast (or a toasted bagel).
Although plain toast is delicious as it is, there are many things that we can put on toast: nut butters, vegan margarine (such as Becel’s vegan variety or EarthBalance margarine), beans (beans on toast, anyone?), or refried beans, avocado, pureed fruit (a healthy alternative to jam), hummus or another bean spread, or lettuce and tomato.
There are even vegan chocolate hazelnut spreads available at health food stores, although you can make your own healthier, refined-sugar-free version by mixing hazelnut butter and cocoa powder. Of course, you can use gluten free bread, too.
Unless you happen to live near a vegan bakery, this is a “some baking required” option. Healthy muffin ideas include: banana muffins, bran muffins, blueberry muffins, applesauce muffins, pumpkin muffins, or oatmeal muffins.
For every egg that a recipe calls for, a quarter of a cup of applesauce or one third of a banana can be substituted. If you would like, you can also add a pinch of extra baking powder to make sure that the muffins rise correctly. If the recipe calls for milk, simply use a plant-based non-dairy milk or water instead.
Trail mix or granola.
Another quick option to have on the go! You can include various types of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and/or oats. Remember, honey isn’t vegan, as it comes from bees. If you want to sweeten the granola, you can try using agave nectar or coconut syrup.
If you drizzle nut butter over fruit and have it with a bagel, you’ve got a complete breakfast right there!
Energy bars or energy bites.
There are some energy bars that are healthy, and are made with dried fruits and nuts. However, most store-bought energy bars are less so, as they are packed with sugar.
Why not make your own?
I could write a whole article on green smoothies, but basically—you need to combine a dairy-free liquid (almond milk, another non-dairy milk, or water), fruit, leafy green vegetables, and possibly other additions (plant-based protein powder, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, chia seeds, and/or flax seeds.) Some people even blend quick oats into their smoothies to make it more like a pudding!
Don’t expect it to taste exactly like scrambled eggs, but if you make it properly, it can be delicious.
These can be store-bought (some of “Amy’s Kitchen” brand burritos are vegan) or homemade.
And don’t forget that you can always drink some unsweetened fortified soy milk or another non-dairy beverage with any of these breakfasts! If you’re switching to a vegan diet, it’s important to make sure you eat enough, as healthy vegan foods are sometimes lower in calories than animal products or processed foods.
Happy (vegan) eating!
Author: Carolyn Harris
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Jen Schwartz
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis