Kelli Foster is the author of the forthcoming cookbook, The Probiotic Kitchen, which includes 100+ everyday recipes using probiotic foods, like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. She is also the author of Buddha Bowls, an editor at Kitchn, and her work has appeared in Triathlete, Chicago Athlete, and Greatist.
Breakfast is hands down the easiest time of day to eat more probiotics — and it doesn’t matter whether you skew sweet or savory. After writing a cookbook about all the ways to incorporate probiotic foods into your diet, I realized so many probiotic foods are a natural fit first thing in the morning.
I want you to have the same aha-moment that I did, so just like I do in The Probiotic Kitchen, let’s start with a run through of some probiotic foods, then a look at the most popular healthy breakfasts where they have a natural place.
So many probiotic foods are a natural fit first thing in the morning. You’ve got fermented dairy heavy hitters, like yogurt (don’t forget about cultured coconut yogurt!), skyr, kefir, and cultured cottage cheese, which maybe you already associate with breakfast. And then there are probiotic foods, like kimchi, fermented kraut, and tempeh, that you might not think about first thing in the morning, but I assure you, also have a place in your morning meal.
Smoothies: These creamy drinks are welcome ground for any of your favorite fermented dairy products. Add up to 1/2 cup of yogurt (regular, Greek, or cultured coconut yogurt), skyr, milk kefir, or cultured cottage cheese to your next smoothie. It’ll also up the protein for a more filling drink.
Overnight oats and Bircher muesli: These make-ahead oats typically get mixed with milk. Give them a probiotic boost by swapping some of the milk for an equal amount of milk kefir or mixing in some yogurt.
Eggs and Omelets: Place your eggs (any which way you cook them!) on a bed of Greek yogurt, and I guarantee it won’t be the last time you do it. Kimchi and fermented kraut (add up to 1/4 cup) also make a super fun omelet filling – just wait until the eggs are set and you take the pan off the heat before adding.
Breakfast sandwiches: A layer of fermented kraut (any kind is fair game!) or kimchi adds the most delicious punch of flavor to your favorite breakfast sandwich.
Breakfast bowls: The beauty of breakfast bowls is that they can be sweet, savory, or a combination of both, and more importantly – anything goes here! I like to top mine with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and forkful of kraut or kimchi. Crumbled tempeh adds a boost of probiotics and protein.
Avocado toast: A big forkful of kraut or kimchi is a quick surefire way to liven up basic avocado toast. You can take it a step further by mixing some of the brine into the mashed avocado. Also try spreading a layer of cultured cottage cheese or yogurt under the avocado.
Fancy toast: If you love ricotta toast, try giving cultured cottage cheese a quick whirl through the food processor. The curds smooth out, and this luxuriously creamy (and probiotic-rich!) toast topper will totally remind you of ricotta.
Pancakes, French toast, and waffles: Greek yogurt, plus a dollop of jam or tiny drizzle of maple syrup or honey, has become my new go-to.
Your turn! What’s your favorite way to get a dose of probiotics first thing in the morning?