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Five Instagram worthy breakfast ideas you’ll want to get out of bed for (even if it’s Monday!)

With COVID-19 affecting many aspects of our everyday lives and our regular routines this article comes at a time when we could all use a little inspiration at mealtime that support our health goals. Maybe you are tired of the same breakfast all of the time and are ready for a much-needed and welcome change. Or perhaps you are looking for breakfast ideas on how you and your family can eat better that are also budget-friendly. Whatever the reason maybe, I am glad you are here: you have come to the right place and are not alone! Food goes beyond just being fuel to nourish our bodies: it is also an experience. Here I will show you some ideas on how you do not have to spend a lot of money in order to eat well and how you can have a gourmet quality breakfast experience for yourself and loved ones right from your own kitchen.


Breakfast tacos

Warm and soft tortillas served with spicy southwestern style black beans, salsa, fresh avocado, and topped with fried egg and fresh cilantro garnish.

How to make it vegan:

  • Tofu scramble for the fried egg
    • Vegan tortillas in place of the regular tortilla

How to make it lower carb friendly:

  • Low-carbohydrate (low-carb) friendly tortillas instead of regular tortillas
    • You can make your own or try different low-carb tortilla alternatives that are available online or in your local grocery store.

Link to recipe here


Yogurt charcuterie style breakfast board

An enticing colorful and textural spread of fruits, nuts, and seeds, with spices and toppings such as cinnamon, desiccated coconut, or dark chocolate with your favorite plain and unsweetened yogurt.


How to make it vegan:

  • Make with your favorite plain and unsweetened plant-based yogurt
  • For dark chocolate make sure to check the ingredient list to be sure it was made without animal products


How to make it lower carb friendly:

  • Fresh and frozen berries, specifically blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, have multiple advantages of not only being nutrient-dense but also offering several health-promoting qualities observed in research among human subjects such as: improving insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity, lowering systolic blood pressure and after-meal (postprandial) markers of inflammation, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels, as well as increasing fat oxidation, and thus are better options for those with (to include but not limited to): prediabetes, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or for those who would like to lose or better manage their weight.


  • Gone are the days of “chocolate is bad for you” and where you have to feel bad indulging in your favorite treat: just make sure you are buying 70% or higher cocoa dark chocolate!


  • Use no sugar added/unsweetened peanut butter


  • If you have a sweet tooth or are used to having a lot of sweets and sugar in your diet and are trying to wean yourself off, try switching to blood sugar and insulin-friendly sweeteners such as Stevia or erythritol-based ones such as Truvia and Swerve.


  • Toppings (e.g. flavored nuts and seeds and items such as shredded coconut) can be surprising and insidious sources of added sugar. Make sure that you read both the ingredient list and the amount of sugar per serving in the “Nutrition Facts” label and choose the unsweetened and no sugar added options.

Link to recipe here (pages 32-33)


Classic avocado toast

A bed of thinly sliced ripe avocado over crunchy toast, topped with crispy fried egg and red pepper flakes.


avocado toast for breakfast

How to make it lower carb friendly:

  • Enjoy with your favorite low-carb toast or bread
    • You can make your own or try different ones that are available at your local grocery store and online

Source and credits: Instagram @andapinchoflove


Peanut butter and chocolate swirl oatmeal bake

Warm and decadent baked oatmeal with gorgeous and tasty swirls of peanut butter and unsweetened chocolate. Delicious as is right out of the oven or with cold milk as you would have cereal.


How to make it vegan:

  • Substitute the milk and egg in the recipe for your favorite unsweetened vegan-friendly plant-based milk and for “flax egg,” respectively.

How to make it lower carb friendly:

  • Opt for:
    • Unsweetened/no sugar added peanut butter
    • A low glycemic impact alternative to brown sugar such as Truvia Brown Sugar Blend or Swerve Brown
    • If you plan on using plant-based milk in this recipe make sure it is unsweetened: plant-based milks are typically loaded with sugar!

Link to recipe here


The New York Time’s cheesy egg and polenta breakfast casserole

Channel your inner foodie with a gourmet twist on a traditional breakfast classic.



How to make it vegan:

  • Exchange:
    • The milk and eggs in the recipe for your favorite unsweetened vegan-friendly version and for “flax eggs” or tofu scramble, respectively
    • The dairy-based butter for your favorite plant-based spread
    • The cheeses in the recipe to the comparable vegan versions or ones that you prefer when you make your own twist of the dish!
    • The animal meat in the recipe for its respective vegan substitutes

How to make it lower carb friendly:

  • One cup of polenta is used for the entire dish. For perspective this dish serves eight people so 1/8th of this casserole will be about 18g carbohydrates (see link to original article for full nutritional information).
  • In the event that you wish to adjust this dish to make it lower in carbs you can try experimenting with one of or a combination of low glycemic impact substitutes such as golden flaxseed meal, almond and coconut flours, and xanthan gum in lieu of the polenta.

Link to recipe here*

*Get free access to the recipe by signing in with a Gmail email address.



How to make these (or any) recipes budget savvy:

  • Purchase what you can and know that you will use regularly in bulk by buying through wholesale/warehouse stores such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Costco.
  • Another option is getting a “case discount.” As an example, while shopping at the grocery store, bring the item of interest to a cashier or to customer service and ask, “how many of these come in a case?” and purchase the respective amount. The case discount should appear on your receipt along the lines of “CASE DISCOUNT -$__.”
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. This guide by the United States Department of Agriculture is a helpful resource to use for planning your menus based on which fruits and vegetables are in season and can be found here. Eating based on what is in season not only helps with saving money but also with nutritional variety and reducing boredom with the temptation to gravitate to the same items for meals.
  • Choose store brands over “name brands”
  • Plan your grocery trips and meals around what is on sale each week at the grocery store either through in-store coupon flyers or through the grocery store’s own app. Over time stock up on nonperishable/shelf-stable items that are nutrient-dense and can help make quick and easy meals as they go on sale. As much as possible and as applicable, you want to reach a place where you can shop out of your pantry when you need something vs. being at the mercy of paying premium price of what is at the grocery store because you need it now.
  • Finally, farmer’s markets are an excellent way to purchase generous quantities of locally grown produce that are not only affordable but offer the added bonus of a variety of farm fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to other food items such as eggs and unique specialty products.


So when it comes to eating healthy, here is what I tell my patients and clients: eating well should not feel as though you are depriving or starving yourself of what you love or having to go broke to live and enjoy life. Rather it is about embracing the big picture and celebrating the balance of eating what you like that happens to be good for you and your budget! As a former patient with prediabetes and now a medical professional, what I love most about what I do is being able to help my patients and clients realize success in their individualized health goals tailored to their unique needs, improve their quality of life, and being part of their exciting journey of their successes transforming into lifelong habits that not only positively change their lives but that of their families too.


About Penny Brooks

Penny S. Brooks is a nutrition biochemist and licensed and registered dietitian with various experience in research, food security, maternal and child health, and public health among acute care, outpatient, government, and consulting sectors in Miami and Washington, D.C. Having been diagnosed with prediabetes at age 10, with dietary and exercise modification and familial and spiritual support, her prediabetes went into remission one year later and since stands victorious against prediabetes. In her spare time she is passionate about utilizing social media and writing as a way to reach lay audiences with effective and easy to understand evidence-based information: connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn or say “hi” at!





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