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Breakfast Around the World

Explore Time: 10 Minutes

By Raymond Wong, HealthCorps Spring Program Development Intern 2021

Let’s face it, we tend to eat the same meal for breakfast on a daily basis without giving it much thought. Sometimes our last-minute morning routines get in the way of preparing a nutritious meal and subsequently, we resort to munching down on something quick.

So, what’s the big deal about breakfast? Students may get into the bad habit of skipping out on breakfast, but there are important health benefits to eating breakfast in the morning as it’s often called the most important meal of the day! In fact, the definition of the word breakfast is quite literally the meal to break the overnight fast. Skipping out on breakfast can lead to brain fog and fatigue. From creamy plantain porridge in Jamaica to sweet bread filled with bananas in Brazil, chowing down on breakfast fuels our tank and provides key nutrients and a boost of energy for our bodies to push through our daily activities!

Have you ever wondered what breakfast looks like in other parts of the world? Try these quick and easy breakfast ideas to if you want to mix up your morning!

1. Hagelslag on bread

In the Netherlands, Hagelslag refers to candy sprinkles. It is most commonly enjoyed over a slice of bread with unsalted butter to satisfy a sweet craving for breakfast. Hagelslag is authentically made with Dutch dark chocolate, which has health-boosting antioxidant properties.  

  • Total prep time: 5 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Slice of bread (choose whole wheat for more fiber!)
    • Unsalted butter 
    • De Ruijter chocolate sprinkles (Dark chocolate) 
  • Recipe 

2. Congee

Congee is a classic meal for breakfast in many countries of Asia. This rice porridge is rich in consistency and creamy in texture, providing warmth and filling comfort. Preparing a whole pot of rice porridge ahead of time can provide enough servings for the whole week! 

  • Total prep time: 1 hour and 10 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Rice 
    • Water or stock 
  • Recipe 

3.  Natto with rice

Natto with rice is a traditional Japanese breakfast. You might be wondering, what is ‘Natto’? It is simply a fermented soybean product with a stringy consistency. Serving it over rice, and oftentimes with egg is a nutritious and yummy combo for providing protein, carbs and a variety of minerals to kickstart your day. Surely, you have to give it a try as it is certainly a unique dish, perfect for a quick and healthy breakfast! 

  • Total prep time: 5 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Rice 
    • Natto 
    • Raw egg (optional)  
  • Recipe 

4. Vegemite on toast 

In Australia, Vegemite is a popular product that is spread over toast. As shown, it’s a thick and dark paste made from Breyer’s yeast extract with a blend of other rich ingredients. Although it may sound unappetizing, Vegemite on toast has a rich and unique umami flavor that many Australians love and enjoy. Give it a try! 

  • Total prep time: 5 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Slice of bread (choose whole wheat for more fiber!) 
    • Vegemite spread 
  • Recipe  

5. Plaintain porridge

Interested in another yummy porridge recipe? Yes, please! A bowl of hot plantain porridge is a popular breakfast item in Jamaica. This dish is not only quick to cook, it’s also easy to prepare as it requires only a small handful of ingredients. Cooked plantains are a rich source of fiber and have an abundance of vitamins. Plantain porridge makes for a comforting meal as it’s both flavorsome and filling. 

  • Total prep time: 15 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Plantains 
    • Warm water 
    • Almond milk 
    • Cinnamon 
    • Nutmeg
    • Vanilla extract  Condensed coconut milk 
  • Recipe  

6. Cuca de banana

Cuca de banana is a delightful breakfast treat from the south of Brazil. If you enjoy munching down on banana bread, then you have to give cuca de banana a try! It has a similar texture to coffee crumb cake cultivated with a rich overlay of sliced banana toppings. Similar to other sweets, it is important to eat in moderate quantities.  

  • Total prep time: 80 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Bananas 
    • Sugar 
    • Flour 
    • Baking powder 
    • Baking soda 
    • Oil 
    • Water 
    • Eggs 
    • Vanilla 
  • Recipe  

7. Hafragrautur 

Hafragrauter is a popular oats porridge, or oatmeal in Icelandic diet. Although the name may sound unfamiliar, the differences between this and American oatmeal are minimal. Hafragrauter is a healthy, and hearty meal that helps lower cholesterol levels and improves blood sugar control. This typical Icelandic breakfast provides warmth and comfort especially in colder climates! 

  • Total prep time: 10 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Oats 
    • Milk 
    • Water 
    • Brown sugar 
    • Raisins 
  • Recipe  

8. Roti prata

Roti prata also called roti canai is a delicious flatbread originated from southern India. It is also commonly found in several neighboring countries in southeastern Asia. Roti prata is crispy, buttery, and flaky.  

  • Total prep time: 50 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • All-purpose flour 
    • Egg 
    • Whole milk 
    • Water 
    • Salt and sugar 
  • Recipe  

9. Huevos motulenos 

From the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico, I present to you huevos motulenos, a sweet and savory breakfast dish! Huevos motulenos is very picturesque and has a variety of vibrant colors that makes this meal pop out. Nevertheless, it is very easy to prepare and cook as each ingredient can be prepared however you like it! Traditionally, it is served with avocado, eggs, refried beans, smoked ham, and salsa with peas topped on fried tortillas. A perfectly well-balanced and healthy meal! 

  • Total prep time: 20 minutes 
  • Ingredients
    • Corn tortillas 
    • Ham steaks 
    • Eggs 
    • Refried black beans 
    • Salsa  
    • Peas 
    • Queso Fresco 
    • Cilantro  
  • Recipe  

10. Arepas 

Last, but not least, Arepas! It is a popular breakfast food in Venezuela, but also commonly consumed in other Latin American countries, such as Columbia. Traditionally, Venezuelan arepas are small and thick cornmeal cakes that have a nice crispy texture on the outside with a slight tenderness on the inside. Switch up your bread recipes with this! 

  • Total Prep time: 30 minutes 
  • Ingredients 
    • Areparina (Masarepa)  
    • Warm water 
    • Sea salt 
    • Coconut butter 
  • Recipe  

For more information about the benefits of breakfast, check out HealthCorps’ free downloadable tip-sheet, available in English and Spanish.

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