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In the early days of the modern-day nation of Israel, many people lived on a type of collective farm called a kibbutz. The kibbutz workers usually started their workday after eating only a snack. They then returned to their communal dining area mid to late morning to partake of a heartier version of breakfast, often called the Israeli breakfast. They could then continue on with their workday with renewed energy.
This hearty breakfast is still offered by many hotels and restaurants today because of its popularity. I’ve experimented with this style of breakfast and feel that it is a time-saver, as well as being very tasty. I heartily recommend this type of breakfast, especially for days when you know you will be exercising, walking or hiking, or partaking of other more strenuous activities.
Picky Eaters Get to Choose
One of the joys of the Israeli Breakfast is being able to choose from a wide variety of healthy foods. In my opinion, it is fairly easy to set up a pretty wide variety of foods without much extra trouble, if any. Mostly, it’s a matter of trimming and slicing any raw vegetables and fruits to be offered.
What Kind of Foods Should I Offer?
My feeling is that replicating the Israeli breakfast menu exactly is not at all necessary. Often, it is possible to replace one food with another local food. For example, while hummus is often a part of the menu, I see no reason why you cannot replace it with bean dip made with olive oil, oregano, and chili powder. I’m not convinced that corn chips are a good idea, but whole grain pita chips would be good.
While the Jewish beliefs forbid the mixing of dairy and certain meats, I would consider grilled or baked chicken a great substitute for their fish on occasion. Sardines and wild-caught salmon would also be good. Eggs are also often used for protein, and hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, and fried eggs all easily fit in. It also helps to simply consider your family’s preferences.
More Yummy Choices
Various nut butters, such as almond butter or peanut butter, would be useful and tasty. You can also provide protein and a feeling of fullness with a handful of nuts. Whole grain breads or toast fit right in, also.
Add in fresh fruits and vegetables — tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, bell peppers, as well as mixed salads — to make it both filling and healthy. I also see no reason to avoid a healthy vegetable soup, if you enjoy it.
A variety of fresh fruits are suitable for additional nutrition and taste. Consider apples, oranges, bananas, melons, grapes or strawberries.
Nutrition and Satiation Through Snacking
Because you’re not eating large amounts of any one thing, it’s easier to keep your nutrient levels high and your calorie levels reasonable. It’s more like large-scale snacking than a full meal. The energy provided, however, is enough to take you through a hard day working in your garden. Because not everyone does manual labor, it is also possible to scale the meal back far enough to keep calories reasonable for a day working in your office. Because it is high-fiber, it is also very filling.
Keep It Healthy and Enjoy
If you decide to try the Israeli breakfast, be sure to eat a wide variety of different foods. You want protein, as well as fruits and vegetables, breads and crackers and dips.
Also, be sure to eat foods cooked or mixed with olive oil. When I cut all other fats out of my diet but used plenty of extra virgin olive oil, my cholesterol and my blood pressure both dropped to within healthy limits. I also lost some weight without heavy exercise or being hungry.
In another post, I’ll describe how to make a party platter or a family evening meal that is a similar style. Youngsters in particular really enjoy being able to pick their foods from a variety. Parents just need to encourage a variety on their plates so they don’t overdose on, say, peanut butter on toast!