These countries know how to start their day right.
If day after day of starting your morning with yogurt, oatmeal, or a smoothie is making you want to crawl back into bed, you might be ready to switch up your breakfast routine.
Of course everyone loves a good stack of French toast or pancakes, but these classic American dishes can be heavy on the carbs and not offer much of anything else. (Psst… Learn how to make nutritionist-approved healthy French toast here.) Or, if you want something a little different and healthy, you could steal ideas from these champions of the A.M. meal.
Turkey: A full Turkish breakfast is pretty elaborate, consisting of plates and bowls and platters of tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, breads, jam, honey, and tea, but you don’t need to do the whole shabang. You could even pack some of these foods to eat at your desk.
Israel: Similar to Turkey’s breakfast, Israel loves its bread, dips, and veggies. You probably think of hummus as an afternoon snack, but try it for breakfast, along with olive tapenade, avocado, and the savory yogurt labneh. Israeli salad—a mix of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs—is also common in the morning. Oh, and add the beloved shakshouka dish to your brunch menu; that’s eggs poached in a tomato stew. Nummm. (Here’s how to make shakshouka.)
Costa Rica: In addition to being a feast for the eyes, this tropical country also has a simple and healthy breakfast. Their famous morning dish is gallo pinto, which is their take on rice and beans. (Try making it with brown rice or one of these healthy whole grains.) It’s almost always paired with eggs, often fried or scrambled. And obviously, fresh tropical fruit make a great addition to any breakfast.
China: Sweet breakfasts are pretty rare in China. While fruity oatmeal might be the norm in the States, China prefers its porridge in savory form. A common breakfast is congee, a savory rice porridge topped with meat or tofu, eggs, and veggies. Dumplings are also a common choice for easy morning eats. To keep fat and cholesterol low, choose steamed dumplings and get veggie dumplings instead of pork.
Switzerland: Although popular in several countries around Europe and beyond, muesli (pronounced myoo-slee) is a Swiss creation. The concoction of raw oats, nuts and dried fruits is similar to granola, but raw, so doesn’t have all that oil or sugar. One way to eat it, known as bircher muesli, is actually the precursor to today’s “overnight oatmeal.” The muesli is soaked in yogurt or fruit juice overnight and is eaten cold in the morning.
Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast: Studies show it may aid in long-term weight management. Here are other habits from people who’ve kept off the weight.
Best breakfasts from around the world. Spring City, PA: Today’s Dietitian, 2012. (Accessed on November 21, 2017 at http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030612p20.shtml.)
Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst. London, UK: British Heart Foundation. (Accessed on November 21, 2017 at https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/breakfast-cereals-ranked-best-to-worst.)
Enjoy an ethnic breakfast. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014. (Accessed on November 21, 2017 at http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/lifestyle/culture-and-traditions/enjoy-an-ethnic-breakfast.)