Planning A Fail-Safe AIP Breakfast Routine

Breakfast really is the most important meal, as cliché as that sounds. You might be wondering why? Well, one of the biggest factors is that what you eat for breakfast sets your metabolism for the day.

Have you ever started your morning with pancakes (even Paleo, or AIP versions!) smothered with maple syrup, and wonder why you feel hungry every couple of hours for the rest of the day? Your body got a big helping of starch and sugar first thing, setting you up for a wild blood sugar roller-coaster ride as time goes on. Even when you decide you are done with the sweet stuff and try to get off that ride, it is still likely you’ll experience continued cravings and it will be difficult for you to make the right food choices. This is not a good way to set yourself up for success!

What is an alternative? Eating a big, nourishing breakfast including good amounts of fat and protein, and dense with nutrients is the best way to set up your blood sugar regulation up for success. Although we know which foods to eat and avoid during the elimination phase, a less-often-tackled issue is the balance of macronutrients (that is the proportions of fat, carbohydrates, and protein) that help you achieve your goals. While I don’t make specific macronutrient recommendations for everyone, since goals and stages of illness are all unique, I can tell you that starting to focus on a nutrient-dense breakfast with adequate fat and protein, and lower in carbs will help anyone start to see improvement in this area.

What is so hard about eating a great breakfast?

Well, a lot of people (myself included) experience a few barriers to getting a good breakfast on the table. Some aren’t hungry in the morning, others have aversions to certain foods (like proteins) in the morning, and many others have their schedules so packed that they opt for easier and more convenient options. While the first two sometimes need some troubleshooting in the realm of digestion or habit formation, the last one is by far the most common: convenience.

While quick and easy meals (like smoothies) are convenient in the morning, when time is at a premium, I would argue that convenience comes back to haunt most folks during the afternoon sugar crash. Even though we can AIP-ify common quick meals like smoothies, n’oatmeal, granola, and pancakes, I’d argue these aren’t the most ideal options for long-term healing, and many of us who have had long-term success at both lowering inflammation and balancing our blood sugar don’t rely on them to start our day off.

So, what are we looking for in an ideal AIP breakfast?

  1. Most of us will want to opt for a macronutrient ratio that trends more towards fat and protein than heavy on carbohydrate and starch. This is going to help satiate us as well as fuel our metabolisms with healthy fat that will keep us going longer than than sweet stuff. You’ll notice I don’t give firm ratios here – some folks do best on a very low-carb approach, others do better with some starchy carbs in as long as they have some protein and fat to blunt the effect. The trick is to experiment to find out what works best for your metabolism, starting on the lower-carb end of the spectrum.
  2. Meals that are easily cooked from scratch or prepped ahead for a quick re-heat. Like I said above, the biggest barrier with breakfast is usually timing, which can always be circumvented by planning ahead (you guys are probably so sick of this by now, but set yourself up for success!).
  3. Meals that contain the highest amount of nutrient density. This is often lost out on breakfast! It is great to set a habit of adding some “extra” nutrient density at breakfast as a matter of routine. Maybe you add a scoop of fermented vegetables, drink some kombucha or bone broth on the side, or sneak some organ meats into your breakfast patties. Getting some of those “wins” in earlier in the day is likely to help you continue to make nutrient-dense food choices throughout the rest of your day, or as a secondary effect, blunt any less-than-ideal food choices you might make later.

What do I do to plan a “fail-safe” breakfast routine?

  • I always keep backup meals in the freezer for breakfast “emergencies” (they come particularly in handy when returning late from the airport or when I have unexpected dinner guests who eat up any leftovers planned for the next morning). I keep a few single-servings of chicken soup as well as some meat patties frozen at all times, and replenish as soon as I run out.
  • Every weekend, I cook one soup or stew and save it as my “breakfast bowl.” I could eat through this in a matter of days, but I choose to leave it for breakfast and allow time to cook or assemble my other meals, as I often have more time later in my day. This is the easiest and quickest breakfast option in my house – just heat and serve!
  • When I don’t have a premade breakfast soup or stew, I cook a protein and assemble it with some leftover vegetables, ferments, and some fruit. I usually do this in the summer when soup isn’t appealing. I’ll rotate between breakfast patties, a whole roast chicken, a pot roast, and sometimes salmon.

Using these three strategies, I am never faced with the option of not having a nutrient-dense breakfast ready in a short amount of time. Having my breakfast options set means that I am able to start my day eating the way that I know gives me the highest amounts of energy and leaves me able to make less decisions and experience less stress in the mornings.

Looking for recipes to include in your routine? Here are some of my favorite recipes that I’ve published on the site:

I’d encourage you to consider if you are making a good enough effort to set yourself up for success in the breakfast department. Have you found any tips or tricks to setting up your own “fail-safe” breakfast routine?

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.

15 comments

  • Marie Geer says

    Thanks for your info about breakfast. Now I know why, after eating breakfast for two weeks(when I started the AIP) I haven’t been experiencing cravings and surges of my blood sugar and I’ve also lost 10 lbs.!! I’ve enjoyed almost all of the recipes but have a question about the spices. If I have to use dried spices, what is the equivalent in measurement to fresh spices? Also, because of the high cost of grass-fed beef, can I substitute in recipes with grass-fed ground beef instead? I have allergies, an under-active thyroid, and psoriasis, plus my doctor thinks I have a leaky gut. She told me about this protocol. After two weeks, my energy is finally increasing but still having loose bowels. I have no gall bladder so I’m considering ox bile and digestive enzymes. thank you for sharing this plan with us, helping us along the way, and giving us great recipes!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Marie! I am so happy you are feeling better after eating a better breakfast, it really does work! About spices – dried spices are a little more potent than fresh, so I would decrease the amount by 1/2. While we believe grass-fed beef is better both environmentally and nutritionally, if cost is a barrier to you then you can try using conventional meat, just try to get hormone-free at the very least. Wishing you luck!

  • Zoe Della Rocca says

    I struggle with eating breakfast period! I’ve never been great at finding something small enough that’s not too heavy.
    Fruit smoothies with coconut water and collagen seem ok. I just can’t stomach savoury soups and patties first thing…. is there something else?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Zoe,
      Could you eat a little protein with that smoothie? Like maybe 1-2 meatballs? Getting some quality fat and protein in first thing can be super important, but I get that appetite can be rough for some in the morning.

  • Jean M Noon says

    would you recommend my breakfast smoothie made with:
    cucumber, celery, maridol papaya, power greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc mix from Trader Joe’s), ginger, organic blueberries, acai, chia seed, flax seed, tart red cherry juice, pomegranate juice, aloe vera juice, flax milk? are any of these ingredients contraindicated for AIP diet? thank you for your feedback!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Jean,
      Generally I don’t recommend smoothies alone as a breakfast on AIP because they don’t have enough protein and fat to balance blood sugar throughout the day. Of the ingredients you mentioned, the seeds like chia, flax, and flax milk won’t be allowed in the elimination phase. I would add a meat patty or some meatballs on the side to a green smoothie so you can hit all those macronutrients and fuel yourself for the day.

  • I often make your magic chili recipe and have that for breakfast. One of my all time favorites. I have also adapted a lasagna recipe that is nice for breakfast or when I have to get out the door early and need a lunch option.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Stephanie – I had the chili for breakfast as well! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • jackie says

    hi mickey,
    i’m about to start AIP and smoothies for breakfast are my go-to. they tend to keep me full well throughout the morning until lunch. curious as to what are your thoughts about a smoothie that contains protein powder (from grass fed beef either from julian bakery or designs for health), dark leafy greens, handful of blue berries or strawberries, coconut oil, and water? i’ll definitely take your advice and be more intentional about changing up my breakfast as best i can. i’m a big fan btw and appreciate the valuable knowledge you offer to the community 🙂
    thanks!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Jackie! It is really up to you – I don’t think smoothies are ideal, but if that is the only thing you can manage in the AM it is better than not trying AIP at all! Careful on the protein powder as there are not many that are AIP compliant – Rootcology has a protein powder that has the right ingredients but I have not tried it. Good luck!

      • jackie says

        thanks Mickey! it’s true, it is very difficult to find a complaint powder but i will look into rootcology. i did confirm that designs for health has an unflavored beef protein powder that would work too 🙂 appreciate the response!

  • Grace says

    Hi! Thanks for the article! I’m hoping someone can speak to those of us who can hardly stomach protein in the mornings….the thought makes me nauseous. I often do a smoothie with protein powder and collagen peptides, but even that can feel like too much. I have crazy food allergies so I can’t eat any fresh fruits or veggies either so there’s an extra challenge. Anyone have tips? Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Grace – any way you can do a veggie-based soup, with some fat like avocado, and a good helping of broth and veggies?

  • cindie thomas says

    I have Hashimotos and have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I am not on meds for the diabetes and have been able to control it with diet and exercise, but I feel like my normal diet is no longer working. Would you recommend AIP Paleo or Keto?
    Thank you!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Cindie! I’m not a medical practitioner and I can’t advise on medical conditions. A lot of folks in our community with Hashimoto’s have had success after going through the elimination and reintroduction protocol (AIP). I’d also suggest you work with a good doctor to evaluate your thyroid labs and see if you need medication. I hope you are able to find something that works for you!

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