Unless I'm eating with other people, food for me is fuel.

This applies to breakfast particularly. Like a scrambled fighter jet, I want the refuelling process in the morning to be as fast as possible.

Not eating is not a sustainable option for me. Higher functions slow as my brain begins to run out of glucose. I become slightly less human and slightly more lungfish. My mood drops.

Here are the major contenders who have competed in my search over the past few years for a fast and filling breakfast.

Fried eggs

Immediately flawed. Making fried eggs for breakfast everyday uses too much equipment.

The dish is also too slow to prepare, both when watching the eggs cook and when fishing for broken egg-shell fragments in a hot frying pan.

There is too much time spent cleaning up pans afterwards. As a hobby, I find scrubbing oil-and-egg stuck to a metal pan quite satisfying. But it's a hobby that I only allow myself to indulge in on weekends and public holidays, not at the careful moment of breakfast.


Huel is quick to prepare and easy to eat. You put powder and water in a bottle and drink it.

Unfortunately, Huel is not filling for me, regardless of the quantity. My time-until-very-hungry-again ('TUVHA') is about 90 mins with Huel. This is way too short. After 90mins post-Huel, my desk-side wooden clocks start looking appetising.

Blood sugar spikes are another problem.

During the period that I had a continuous blood sugar implant in my arm (for fun) this year, I watched Huel spiking my blood sugar in real-time. After adding Huel into the gastrointestinal mix, my blood sugar would climb like an impatient rollercoaster car, before dropping. For me, consuming Huel's "nutritionally complete" advanced drink-food - marketed at professional athletes - is sadly like eating cake.

I like the idea of Huel, and turning my eating experience into something like filling up a car at a gas station. But I don't want to eat Victoria sponge for breakfast.

Preparation time is also deceptively high. It is fast to dump powder and water into a shaker. But cleaning out the protein shaker bottle once it contains a half-liquid, half-solid slurry takes more time. This time increases if you delay washing the bottle for a morning, causing the Huel to behave like papier mâché. Such breakfast powders would make reasonable insulating materials if there is a construction supplies shortage.

Amazfit Complete

Very similar to Huel, with the same "nutritionally complete" effects. Similarly useful for building earthen houses in a future where town councils require all new accommodation to be built out of breakfast powders. Unsuitable for fuelling me in the morning.


The European version of Huel. A slightly softer marketing message. Same effects.

Two slices of Schwartzbrot (German black bread), 5 slices of brie, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 line of mustard

Putting butter, brie, and mustard onto a piece of bread is a fast breakfast to make. Creating the dish reminds me of creating an oil painting. The only significant differences are that your paints are mainly yellow, and your canvas is a piece of black bread.

To elaborate this dish, I would occasionally treat myself by warming one of the bread slices before eating. That said, I'd recommend only saving this heating for special occasions. As Benjamin Franklin said, "mark how luxury will enter families, and make a progress in spite of principle"[1].

Cleanup is also fast given that the dish uses only 1 plate and 2 knives. The fewer items to clean after breakfast, the better. The gentle way to think about this is that every piece of used-cutlery consumes seconds of your limited life.

Speaking seriously, the main flaw in this black-bread-brie-butter-mustard breakfast bonanza is procurement. Having so many ingredients requires you to manage your supplies.

This inter-ingredient dependence makes the dish fragile: Your breakfast orchestra requires a conductor. Imagine, after a few weeks, you might have a brie shortage. At this point, the dish would certainly become more 'elemental' and more 'deconstructed'. Yet, you might also find the remaining dish of bread-with-two-tablespoons-of-butter-and-mustard slightly less satisfying in its oiliness.

Porridge (Microwaved, with a spiral of maple syrup)

I'm in very early trials with this dish (we're 2 weeks in).

So far, the results have been extremely promising. Fast prep, fast cleanup, nutritious and filing. Perhaps microwaved water and oats will be my breakfast champion.

(Original article at: https://www.tomdekan.com/my-search-for-a-reliable-breakfast)

  1. : https://www.ushistory.org/franklin/autobiography/page37.htm ↩︎


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17 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:54 PM

I eat fried eggs every day and the description here is baffling (if less so than how people apparently use dishwashers). Eggs are a great food. Maybe you are bad at cooking and refusing to think about it and instead seeking out quick fixes.

You shouldn't have any egg shells in your eggs: cracking eggs is easy. If you have some sort of egg-shattering problem, have you invested 1 minute of deliberate practice into mindfully cracking eggs and getting better at it? (For another 5 minutes, you can learn to crack eggs one-handed as well - it's not nearly as difficult as it looks.) Equipment? It's the eggs, the frying pan, and perhaps some oil. Cleanup should take seconds if you have a working frying pan - the idea of it being an ordeal that can only be done on vacation days is baffling and makes me wonder what you are doing. We're talking cleaning off the oil and a few stray bits of egg, not repainting the house or hand-forging heirloom cast-iron dishes.

One concrete advice on cracking eggs with two hands: try to pull your thumbs in opposite directions as if you wanted to tear the egg in halves (as opposed to pushing them in).

There might have been some irony in the article. But good tips!

If you want eggs for breakfast and view them solely as fuel, why not boil and peel a batch once per week then have an egg or two straight from the fridge at the start of the day? 0 morning prep time. Similarly, if you pre-cook a bunch of bacon and pack it away into the freezer, it's a matter of seconds to microwave some hot bacon in the morning.

I find that US grocery stores often have frozen breakfast options -- I'm partial to the sandwiches with some cheese, some meat, and some egg on an English muffin or similar. They can take some experimentation to figure out how your microwave best reheats them, and can also be DIY'd if you'd rather spend the prep time to make a big batch every week or two and control what ingredients go in.

Instant oatmeal packets are a popular breakfast option here, and dumping a packet into a bowl with some boiling water is about as low-effort as cooking can get and still be cooking. Depending on what you're doing to make your porridge, you may find it lower-effort to prep it like overnight oats.

You can fry eggs in the microwave. I use a disposable paper bowl, pour in a bit of oil (I use coconut), swirl it to coat the bottom and a bit of the sides (or use a cooking spray). Crack two eggs in, break yolks and puncture surface of the whites, then cover with folded paper towel, pop it in the microwave and hit "1". (Cooking time will vary by microwave, bowl size, etc. so you'll need to experiment.) Toss the bowl when you're done, and that's it for cleanup.

(Note: technically, the eggs are more being poached than fried, but the oil makes the taste and texture closer to fried eggs. There just won't be any browining.)

food for me is fuel

https://powersmoothie.org/ maybe? It embraces this view. The cleanup consists of rinsing a single blender.

A few years ago I switched to eating yogurt at breakfast. I mix whole milk plain and vanilla yogurt with whole milk Greek yogurt. The vanilla is for taste but it has some added sugars. The other two have no added sugars so I haven’t had problems with blood sugar spikes. They have plenty of protein and fats and keep me satiated well until lunch. Another benefit - I lost about 30 pounds over 6 months and I’ve maintained this weight.

Why not granola/museli with seeds and a banana or apple on the side?

Did you have blood sugar spikes with Amazfit Complete or Joylent? I'm unsure based off your wording. Also, were you using Huel black? You talk about Huel advertising to professional atheletes, and I was under the impression that they only did that for Huel black.

Could you try adding more water to Huel/Joylent? Just use half of the powder, fill the shaker with water... and when it is empty, add the remaining powder and fill it with water again. This would make your stomach feel fuller, slow down the sugar intake, and make the shaker easier to clean afterwards. Not sure if you already do it, but you can sip the Joylent slowly during your work, you do not need to do "breakfast first, work later".

Just a random idea, try eating some cherry tomatoes in addition to Joylent (between the sips). Extra fiber might further slow down the sugar intake and make the stomach feel full, and the cherry tomatoes do not require peeling or cutting, and will not make your fingers dirty when you eat them during work.


I open eggs by hitting them with the sharp edge of a knife, which creates a crack, where I put my thumbs and tear the halves apart (in my experience, this creates minimum shell fragments). The eggs go to some other vessel first, to easier fish out the shell fragments, only then to the pan. (An extra vessel to clear, but that takes like 3 seconds.)

By the way, you can cook eggs in a microwave. Remove the shells, put the eggs on a plate, prick the yolks with a knife or fork (otherwise the yolk might explode), cook for... dunno, 1 minute maybe, depends on power and the number of eggs. The taste is a bit blander compared to doing the same on a pan, but I think you won't mind. And it is much easier to clean the plate afterwards.

I'm a bit surprised mealsquares haven't been mentioned yet! I've been eating 3-4 a day for years. Modal breakfast is a mealsquare with a milk and whey mix.

Glycemic index isn't zero, but it's solid food. Good sweetspot of not ultrabland, but also not strong enough that I would get sick of it.

(Would recommend microwaving. My typical preparation is wetting one a little with some water, sticking it in a bowl, lightly covering with a paper towel to avoid the consequences of occasional choco-volcanism, and microwaving at 50% for 1.3 minutes.)

Stir creamy peanut butter into either raw oats or the breakfast cereal of your choice. Only downside, you definitely need to have a drink with it, i drink tea, which i would do anyway.

Optionally you can add fruit, sliced apple and sliced banana both work well, i prefer apple. When i feel like i want a treat, i add a few chocolate chips.

Things you might consider :

  • eating capsule of complement fibers when drinking Huel. This slows down the absorption process and might reduce the spikes and comedown.
  • add a tasteless oil (canola oil for example) to the Huel after adding the water. Stir a lot to make the two mix well (if needed add an emulsifier like soy lecithin or use a milk frother). The end result will be just like Huel but with a creamy texture and A LOT more calories.
  • Some declination of powdered meals have extra proteins and less carbs. That might be a way to reduce the spiking.
  • hard boil a batch of eggs in advance and eat them every so often.

Careful not to slip into ketosis without meaning to.

Sorry for "XY Problem"-ing this, but I felt strong sad emotion when reading your post and couldn't resist trying to help - you wrote:

Unless I'm eating with other people, food for me is fuel.

Have you tried to rearrange your life so that you can eat the breakfast together with people you care much more often, to the point where you no longer care to make it as quick as possible?

There's only so many ways our hardware can be stimulated to feel happy, don't give up on "eating together with close people"!

As a reasonably active tall person, allow me to try to mitigate some of your sadness!

I suspect some people like me who eat time-optimized food do so because they have to eat a lot of food. I can eat 2000 calories worth of time efficient, nutrient dense food, and still go eat a big meal of conventionally tasty food with other people without blowing my calorie budget. Or I can eat breakfast, and then immediately leave to go eat re-breakfast because by the time I get there I'll be hungry again.

Trying to eat my entire calorie budget in more traditional ways would effectively mean I'm never doing anything but eating. I did that for a while, but it becomes a real chore.

Thank you for this Data Point. I'm 6'1" and age 43 and still have these issues. I thought by now I would not need as much food, but it's still there. I'm still rail thin, and I can easily eat two breakfasts and elevensies before 1pm lunch.

One thing I love is my instant pot. It can get me a porridge of maple syrup, buckwheat groats, sprouted brown rice, and nuts and dried fruit within 20 minutes by just dumping in ingredients. Yeah, it only lasts 90 minutes or so, but I have enough to eat it again in 90 minutes. Later, for lunch, I can combine some more with a 12" subway sandwich or something.

I eat a slice of Dave's killer bread with almond butter and some honey and cinnamon drizzled on top, microwaved for 30 sec, along with half a glass of vegan milk. I don't track my blood glucose, but am sensitive to simple carbs, and I feel quite good after this breakfast.

I used to simply eat a couple scoops of nut butter for breakfast, but then I grew soft or something.

There are low carb meal replacement drinks that won't spike your blood sugar such as Keto Chow.

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