Creating a reasonably healthy meal from restaurant offerings is a challenge in general. But breakfast seems to be particularly daunting. Everything is either eggs, processed meat, sugar or some combination thereof. But with a little creativity, you can pull some whole food out of the hat.
Our old standby, oatmeal is usually an option. The drawback, many restaurants use instant oatmeal. That is a less than ideal choice, but better than nothing. Verify that they make it with water, not milk and order a side of fruit to go with it. Bonus options, bring your own ground flaxseed to add. It’s easy to carry, even if you’re flying.
Check out the omelet section. That’s where you’re going to learn what type of veggies they have available. A western omelet is often a good place to start. Then, ask them to sauté all the vegetables you can list in little or no oil. If they can’t understand that, order a veggie omelet asking them to hold the egg, cheese and meat. Order with toast or no-oil hash browns and you have a great meal.
Whole wheat toast or English muffin. Make sure you order it “dry” otherwise you will likely get something soaked in butter. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get some peanut butter or avocado to go on it.
Hash browns/breakfast potatoes with no oil. Yep, that is a thing. Or if your gut can handle a little oil, don’t worry about it. Double check that they don’t make their hash browns with eggs and you’re golden (see what I did there? Hehe). Add a side of salsa, some avocado or hot sauce to pump up the flavor.
Fruit. I’m a little hesitant to suggest ordering fruit in restaurants because they seem to only ever have not-quite-ripe melon and passed-their-prime grapes. But you might get lucky and get berries. It’s always worth asking.
Beans. If you are in Europe, beans on toast is easy to find. In the US, not quite so much. But it never hurts to ask the question. You might be surprised.
In places that serve all meals all the time you can also ask about potatoes or sweet potatoes. The stars might align and they’ll have one for you.
If you are in places like New York City, Seattle, Portland, Austin or San Francisco you could very likely find an amazing tofu scramble. Let’s hope that becomes the norm everywhere in the coming years.
I’ll be in southern California for my grandmother’s 90th birthday Aug 16-19. I’m going to be bringing rolled oats and ground flaxseed with me and keep my fingers crossed that the hotel will have some kind of fruit I can add. If not, I’ll be in search of a grocery story.
I’ll update you next week on how it went and what I ate!
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.