The first meal of the day holds importance for many of us, and there are so many variations on what people and families eat for their morning meal as you travel around the world.

In her upcoming book, Eating From Our Roots, Maya explores recipes from around the world, as well as heritage foods. One of these is breakfast, which can look very different depending on your ethnicity and culture. Maya reached out to fellow registered dietitians, friends, and neighbours to learn more about what they grew up eating. Every dish is absolutely delicious and will surely inspire you to expand your breakfast horizons.

1.   Johnny Cakes – Tobago

As a child, when I visited my Uncle Ranny in Tobago, we would have fresh milk from his cows, smoked herring, and johnny cakes. The herring was prepared with onion, garlic, and thyme, and served with freshly sliced tomato and zaboca (avocado). The johnny cakes were made with a mix of cornmeal and flour. This was a breakfast we would enjoy on enamel plates. This meal does take time to prepare, but in my opinion it’s well worth it, as it’s incredibly nourishing and satisfying. For the person short on time, smoked herring and johnny cakes can be made in a large batch and enjoyed for subsequent meals.

2. Bota Nedovi – Zimbabwe

Cordialis Kasago, MA, RDN, DipACLM, a California-based dietitian who specialises in eating patterns of the African diaspora, shared a breakfast staple from Zimbabwe. Bota nedovi is a porridge made with peanut butter. Whole ancient grains like maize meal, sorghum, millet, or a combination of grains is mixed with boiling water and brought to a simmer; then finished with a dollop of peanut butter and sugar to taste. Kasago notes Bota nedovi is “a filling breakfast packed with slow-digesting and blood sugar-balancing whole grains, complimented with protein, vitamins, and minerals such as folate, magnesium, and vitamin E from the peanut butter.” This breakfast lends itself to busy mornings as it’s quick-cooking and requires minimal supervision. It can also be transferred into cups for a nutritious lunch at work or school.

3. Savory Oat Bowls – Multiple Countries

If oats are a staple in your morning, Tessa Nguyen’s savoury oatmeal bowls are the place to start. Nguyen is a chef, registered dietitian, plus a founder and principal of Taste Nutrition Consulting. She notes this breakfast is so versatile because the maker can get creative depending on what ingredients they have on hand. And a major bonus? This particular recipe is FODMAP-friendly for people who are following the low-FODMAP diet. Nguyen says she loves porridge because it shows up in so many diverse cultures with different spices, herbs, and or seasonal elements that make it distinctly unique.

4. Crema De Farina – Puerto Rico

A breakfast that her neighbour, Gildren Alejandro, grew up eating in Puerto Rico was avena, crema de farina, or crema de arroz – porridge, cream of wheat, or cream of rice. Alejandro remembers her Mum making the breakfast porridges with milk, cinnamon sticks, lime, and some sugar. Sometimes it was served with sliced bananas. She also remembers lots of delicious breakfast fruit like mango, guava, guanábana, and pineapple. This option is versatile, as the grains can be modified to meet the needs and tastes of the home cook.

5. Gyeran Mari – Korea

A common breakfast in Korea, is gyeran mari (rolled egg omelette) with a toasted seaweed wrap and other side dishes. With the base of seaweed and rice (note: the white rice is not commonly seasoned, and salted sesame oil is preferred in place of soy sauce), families can add pretty much anything they have in their fridge to round out the breakfast. They may add leftover meat, grilled fish, or avocado. This sounds like a wonderfully satisfying and savory way to start the day.