Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast


Yesterday I talked about the worst breakfast ever. Today I’ll tell you about my new favorite breakfast.

Erik knows what he’s going to have for breakfast every day: Grape Nuts. He’s had Grape Nuts for breakfast pretty much every day since I’ve met him, excepting travel, special pancake-type breakfasts, or the occasional Grape Nut outage.

I’ve never been a fan of the cereal myself, since I learned as a child, much to my disappointment, that it contained neither grapes, nor nuts, but instead was composed out of tiny particles of cardboard.

I’m a restless breakfasteer.  I like variety. Typically I range between oatmeal, muesli, yogurt, toast or leftovers foraged from the fridge.

Lately, though, I’m very happy on this new kick of eating roasted sweet potatoes for breakfast. I chop up a bunch of yellow fleshed sweet potatoes (often called yams in the US, though yams are actually a different animal altogether), toss them in oil and salt and roast them in a hot oven until they begin to brown. (If you don’t ever roast sweet potatoes, give it a try. They are wonderful.)

A sheet full of sweet potatoes lasts me three or four days, which is about as long as I want to keep them in the fridge, and then I make a new batch. I just eat them straight out of the fridge in the morning. They are surprisingly good cold.

I eat them in this minimalist way, but of course you could heat them up. You could also toss them with nuts, or yogurt or raisins, or all three. I’ve thought about this, but never can be bothered to put in the extra effort.

(ETA 9/27/13: I’ve been eating the sweet potatoes with yogurt, fruit and nuts and it is really, really good. Sort of like eating a Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole for breakfast. The fact that didn’t have the wherewithal to crack open the yogurt container and the nut jar until very recently speaks to my deep lethargy on hot summer mornings. )

Why do I do this?

1) This breakfast suits my complete and utter lack of morning ambition. I scoop a cupful of these into a bowl and go and sulk in a corner, nibbling, until I wake up enough to face the world.

2) I’m trying to avoid processed carbs. And that’s hard when you’re married to the co-founder of the Los Angeles Bread Bakers Club. I could live on sourdough bread. I’ve resolved to ban toast from breakfast. Oatmeal and muesli aren’t overly processed, but I’m awful tired of them.

3) Sweet potatoes are a much vaunted “super food”. Primarily, they are incredibly rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. So high, in fact, I wondered if I might OD on vitamin A from eating them daily. The answer is no. You cannot harm yourself from eating too many sweet potatoes. You can take too much A in pill form, or too much cod liver oil, and you can kill yourself outright eating Retinol packed polar bear liver (should you have that golden opportunity), but the worst the vegetable form can do is turn you vaguely orange ( a revertible condition) and eating 1 sweet potato a day is not going to do that.

Incidentally, fat makes some of sweet potato’s nutrients more accessible, so you have every excuse now to eat those babies with butter, or roast them in oil.

4) I like getting this big hit of nutrition first thing in the morning. It’s sort of like exercising in the morning — do it early and then you don’t have to think about it the rest of the day. I mean, you should think about it the rest of the day, but if my nutritional choices for the rest of the day turn out to be less than stellar (i.e. “Does ice cream count as lunch?”)  at least I had my sweet potatoes.

What do you eat for breakfast? (Restless as I am, I’ll probably be looking for new alternatives soon.) Do you eat the same breakfast every day, like Erik, or are you a wanderer, like me?

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  1. I eat two eggs every morning. The protein keeps me from getting the late morning munchies. As far as sweet potatoes – love them roasted. Have you made a sweet potato salad yet? Very satisfying and pretty. As far as Grape-nuts go… Grape-nuts? Really Mr. Homegrown?

    • I think about how solid eggs would be as a breakfast, but just can’t find the energy to cook them until about noon!

      Sweet potato salad….omg…googling…

    • I hard-boil a bunch of eggs over the weekend for lunches. A hard boiled egg for breakfast might work.

      I flip flop between a tortilla egg rollup thing that is loosely based on the egg bing I ate in Taiwan a million years ago, and toast with cheese. I need a protein hit in the morning. Carbs don’t do it for me.

  2. I’m a wanderer too. My current breakfast favourite includes sweet potatoes too, but in a different way. I make a 2 egg omelette topped with goats milk cheese and sauteed sweet potato leaves. They taste like spinach but grow like weeds, and not just in early spring. They do well in full sun & strong heat. I have them growing in a raised bed outside the kitchen door. I usually harvest a fat handful of the leaves, do a quick spider check, chop them (the leaves, not the spiders) roughly and cook for a minute or two on high heat with a little salt & pepper. It’s delicious, and helps to control the creeping vine that would like to overrun the rest of my raised bed.

    • I grow sweet potato leaves, too. I’ve never thought of using them for breakfast! Thanks for the tip

  3. I’ve been looking for better carb/make ahead breakfast ideas! I usually eat a bagel, egg sandwich or cherrios with blueberries for breakfast…and sometimes a packaged danish or burrito from the gas station if I am running late.*hangs head in shame*

    My favorite way to make sweet potatoes is in a foil packet on the grill with sliced onions and butter. Next time I will add some sliced apple or dried cherries for breakfast sweets. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I had dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant a few months ago, and was served this wonderful egg soup. I’ve been making it 3 or 4 mornings a week since. You take a little chicken stock, add a bit of fish sauce, then bring to a boil, throw in two beaten eggs and let the thing boil again, scraping the bottom of the pan. The soup is incredibly simple but feels super-nourishing.

  5. at my shop there is a subletter that makes malted barley, for beer makers from barley he grows, malting is basically sprouting barley then drying it a a low tempeture. it makes the starch increase in the grain, and it tastes kinda good at this stage, grape nuts supposedly is this malted barley that is toasted and somewhat reconstituted. by seeing this process make me want to try grapenuts again, to see if I can identify the malted barley…. just sayin ….

  6. oh I forgot to mention that, in the malting process the actual sprouts are removed from the seed and he saves em for me as a chicken feed apparently chickens like the dried tiny hair like sprout thingy’s, so I now have a big bag of that to supplement their food. also I would never knowingly eat a sweet potatoe…

    • Barely cover the bulgur with water, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer (covered) for 12 – 15 minutes. I stir in a tsp of honey and add a little milk. It is healthy and divine.

  7. I try to encourage my children to eat a decent breakfast, and our staple at the moment is fruit, specifically blackberries that we can pick everytime we walk the dogs (raw, or made into a compote) with homemade granola or raw oats(youngest daughter’s favourite), natural yoghurt and/or milk.
    My teenage daughter would eat toast and jam everyday, but I try to add a bit of variety (and nutrition…)

    We’ll move onto porridge/rice puddings/semolina (if I can be bothered with all that stirring)/tapioca as the weather cools down.

    Favourite breakfasts are eggs/bacon/sausage and toast, and they’re great with the extra protein, but I have to psych myself up for those, rather than just putting out a selection of jars, bowls, and spoons and getting on with whatever else needs my attention.

    I finished off the previous evenings roast sweet potato wedges for breakfast yesterday and I think I could quite happily eat those most mornings 🙂 Sweet potatoes have to be imported to the UK from the USA though, so I do feel a bit guilty about buying them.

  8. Steal Cut Oats, need I say more….. Ok, Fritata (Spinich, mushroom) And number one, Cold Pizza! Sweet Potatoes are pretty darn good too.

  9. I am a breakfast wanderer also. I just finished up a heavy wheat toast with butter and home pickled cucumbers and kimchi on it. I LOVE bacon and eggs but rarely bother to fix it (maybe for lunch as by then I feel up to cooking), I also like brown rice with plain yogurt and a dash of sumac on it, or peanut butter on toast with a spoon of honey and a dash of cinnamon. Sometimes plain yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts, wheat germ, ground flax seed or whatever sounds good to me at the time. My husband told me once that I eat weird stuff for breakfast and I told him I was listening to what my body wanted and not telling it what it was going to get. Humm…now I am thinking to get a box of Grape Nuts and try them again. I used to eat them.

  10. Mostly leftovers on weekdays. I’m looking for a chunk of protein, and a green leafy vegetable. Mon days I lift weights, I add some sweet potato for carb replenishment.

    Keeps me satisfied, and no blood sugar swings.

  11. I eat the same thing most mornings. Yogurt bowl. Raw homemade keiffer, fruit, nuts bee pollen, and toasted coconut. You can make all of this in batches before hand when you have energy. When groggy just scoop from each batch to bowl. Keiffer is good for the digestion too. The fat from nuts, coconut, and keiffer stick with me till lunch

  12. oh great idea! I’m trying the VB6 thing to try to lose some weight, and I can handle lunch pretty well, but breakfast was becoming seriously monotonous. Coconut oil ought to do the trick on the fat thing and taste pretty good with it too. Glad I saw this.

    I’m definitely a breakfast wanderer.

  13. A big bowl of oatmeal made from organic rolled oats–and some fresh juice. Not that yucky instant oatmeal you wrote about yesterday. Sometimes a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit.

  14. Oooooh I’m going to definitely try this because I’m very happy with myself when I can make scrambled eggs and toast or even hard boiled eggs. But, last couple days I either eat cold beans (which are almost always in my fridge) or just have my tea because insomnia has been kicking my butt.

    Sourdough bread…processed? Oh noooo! I thought the recipe called for me to grind my own flour. Maybe I read it wrong….I better go check ;-P

  15. Smoothies are tied for 1st place with oatmeal. They are like blank canvasses for whatever my groggy self wants to throw into the mix. I always add ground flax seed to oatmeal(I keep it in a repurposed parmesan cheese container and shake it on lots of stuff), then maybe dry or fresh fruit, nut butter, shredded coconut, walnuts or cinnamon. Apple butter and walnuts is a winner! Smoothies usually start with bananas and coconut or almond milk, plus a big handful of kale, then in goes whatever kind of fruit or juice is on hand, maybe a spoonful of preserves, chia or flax seeds or almond butter. Leftover cooked carrots, sweet potatoes or young fresh peas are good as long as they aren’t salted. Maybe some mint leaves, vanilla extract, cinnamon or molasses. Sometimes the color is pretty hideous. Completely grosses out the kids. I’m going to serve some at a Halloween party, garnished with gummy worms, and hopefully change a few minds about how good they are!

  16. We vacillate between fried eggs over Mikes Killer 70 calorie thin sliced bread (SO GOOD) or every man for himself – which resembles whatever cereal happens to be in the pantry and a bunch of grumbling.
    In my single days, in the way way back, I used to just eat leftovers and a piece of cheese. I also weighed 90 lbs. ‘Nuff said.
    BTW – I didn’t know what about fat making the sweet potato nutrients more available! Love it!

  17. How wonderful to hear that I’m not the only one who eats a sweet potato every day! I bake them in sets of three, and eat one every day for lunch, diced at the bottom of my bowl, under a layer of celery/cucumber/carrot/lettuce, with my favorite dressing: olive oil/Braggs ACV/balsamic vinegar/braggs aminos. Glad to hear that the oil has a beneficial effect on the sweets. I got into them because they were root vegetables and thus ‘grounding’. They do add some gravitas to my salad; I’m satisfied for the rest of the afternoon. I’ve been eating this lunch for over 3 years and I’m not orange yet.

  18. im a wanderer too! i love a couple of soft boiled eggs over some buttered whole wheat toast.I had a hard boiled egg, two garden fresh tomatoes, and cottage cheese the other day. Some mornings, its oats from the 5 gallon bucket.also, i do love soup, or leftovers. the sweet potato idea sounds delicious, with salt and pepper, and some butter.

  19. Im a bit like Erik I seem to find and then stick with one thing for ages drives my husband nits!

    So my latest is this

    frozen blueberries, oats, almonds, dates, dried apricot, shredded coconut and freshly ground cinnamon. I cook the oats and fruit using water not milk or I use the overnight absorption method. Then I add homemade yogurt just before eating about 3 tablespoons and mix through it makes a really creamy bircher style museli.

    It keeps me going for hours and taste delicious i cant stop eating it!


  20. I cook sweet potatoes with water and natural cinammon. They’re naturally sugary, but if I want a little more flavor I add “Pilloncillo” (cane sugar in its purest form, you can find it at mexican markets). They turn out like a “sweet soup”. I then add milk and a spoon of peanut butter or a handful ot nuts 😉

  21. I love roasted sweet potatoes! (I often eat them for breakfast as well because they are so easy to digest)! I’ll pop one in the oven while I get ready in the morning and once it’s done I’ve lately been having it with a little ghee spread on top. Delicious!

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