Lentils for Breakfast? Science Says YES!

Gloria Tsang newYou probably don’t think of lentils as being a regular breakfast food. But you might want to start! A new study from researchers at Carleton University, published online in advance of the January 2013 issue of a scientific journal LWT – Food Science and Technology, found that the antioxidant properties of lentils may enhance the probiotic bacteria in yogurt. In other words, the researchers found that the probiotics count in yogurt actually increase when lentils are added!

You may not want to start adding lentils to your morning yogurt, but why not add a lentil dish to your breakfast routine? Keep in mind that the benefits are strongest with whole lentils, rather than dehulled lentils, as the study suggests that the antioxidant properties are found in the hull.

So, how can you add lentils to your breakfast and up your yogurt’s probiotics? Here are some of my favourite lentils breakfast recipes:

  • Banana Lentil Muffins: If you eat breakfast on the go or at your desk, one of these muffins makes a great, portable addition to a single-serving yogurt cup.
  • Lentil Granola Bars: Even more portable, these bars be eaten anywhere, at any time (and even dipped in your yogurt if you forget your spoon!).
  • Red Lentil Breakfast Pancakes: For a special weekend breakfast, try serving these pancakes topped with Greek yogurt and fresh berries.
  • Red Lentil Porridge: A classic breakfast staple for a cool fall or winter morning, this warming breakfast is excellent topped with yogurt or served with yogurt on the side.

I have one more lentils-and-yogurt suggestion for you, but it’s not something you’ll eat for breakfast. Indian Dhal is a curried lentil dish that is often served with yogurt to cool the spicy flavors. Served over rice, it makes a quick and healthy family dinner. For an authentic yogurt topping, blend in some finely chopped cucumber.

So there you have it – yogurt and lentils, a surprisingly easy set of foods to pair for breakfast and get your day off to a healthy start.