By Meri Raffetto, Wendy Jo Peterson

Beginning your day with a great Mediterranean-style breakfast gives your body the energy it needs to get moving. Whether you’re in a hurry and need to grab something on the run or have more time to prepare a home-cooked meal, the Mediterranean diet gives you ample options. A typical workday Mediterranean breakfast is often similar to a snack, usually consisting of two items you can throw together from your pantry.

The most traditional Mediterranean breakfast options include the following, typically accompanied by milk, juice, or coffee:

  • Toast with nut butter (like Nutella or peanut butter), fruit preserves, olive oil, or tomatoes
  • Bread with cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal
  • A small pastry

Even though these items are small, they typically include protein and fat (through the nuts and dairy), which help you feel fuller and more satisfied until your next meal or snack. Eating something small is far better than skipping breakfast altogether. This tendency is one part of this diet philosophy that works well with the Westernized world, where many people have limited time in the morning or perhaps get a queasy stomach from eating a large breakfast.

Similar to the United States and Canada, the weekends are often a time of cooking more elaborate breakfasts in the Mediterranean. To truly live the Mediterranean experience, choose some simple breakfasts for most of your week and then enjoy a big breakfast a few days a week. Doing so helps you to keep your calorie intake within a good range and allows you to enjoy some amazing foods throughout the week. Remember, people in the Mediterranean love food and eat a large variety during the week.