Salad, for Breakfast?

What are you eating for breakfast these days? Green tea and a protein bar? McSomething? Coffee and a doughnut?

Seeing Michelle Obama with the new USDA food plate (replacing the old pyramid) has me rethinking how my own food habits stack up. I’ve decided that at midlife, I can’t afford to be careless about my diet choices.

I usually have a yogurt with some chopped almonds or walnuts. It’s fast, heart healthy and satisfying. But maybe it’s time to shake it up a bit. The weather is warmer, and I don’t want that same old cereal weighing me down. But what else is there? As a former caterer, I read recipes like some folks read magazines. Often I turn to the Internet for inspiration, and recently I stumbled upon an idea that might just change my morning routine: breakfast salad.

I got the idea from behavior-change expert Mark Stibich, PhD, who blogs at He suggests that a salad is a great way to get our vegetable servings early in the day and to avoid that midmorning slump from carb-heavy breakfast alternatives. His go-to morning meal includes greens (bagged to save time) and a hard-boiled egg, with some almonds and red pepper strips. Easy enough.

In a few keystrokes, I discovered many breakfast salads from which to choose. One recipe I can sink my teeth into—pardon the pun—from the Food Network is spinach, egg and lean Canadian bacon. I could put this salad into a half pita if I need to eat on the go. (OK, I know I should be sitting at the table to eat. . .)

One common theme I notice about the breakfast salads is that they try to start with familiar breakfast fare—a citrus or a granola, and an egg, either hard or soft-boiled. The greens are a main ingredient, but how about cinnamon croutons or a maple-walnut dressing? The possibilities are mouthwatering.

I usually associate blueberries with breakfast, but often they end up in pancakes or muffins. To get a healthy dose of fruit and vegetables by 7am, I may try a blueberry and orange combination on top of spinach with a quarter cup of granola for crunch (recipe below). When blueberries are in season, try using fresh instead of frozen in the vinaigrette recipe below.

I feel better all day after eating a healthy breakfast, and I want to add fruits and veggies to my daily intake. If breakfast salads have worked for your healthy lifestyle, please let us know.

Blueberry Breakfast Salad
(Adapted from

Serves 2

Blueberry vinaigrette (recipe below)
½ pound mixed, torn salad greens
1 cup blueberries
1 cup orange sections or canned mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup granola

Toss greens with 3/4 of the blueberry vinaigrette. Divide the dressed greens between two plates. Arrange 1/2 of the orange sections and 1/2 of the blueberries on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with 1/4 cup granola. Drizzle remaining dressing on top. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Vinaigrette
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup blueberries
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp minced shallot
Pinch kosher salt, ground white pepper and paprika

Combine ingredients in food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Chill 30 minutes to blend flavors.