The Breakfast Ina Garten Has Eaten Every Day For Over A Decade

We're going to go ahead and declare that Ina Garten is the queen of breakfast. There's not one of her dozens of morning meals we'd ever turn up our noses at, and we'd gladly go for any of her scrumptious waffles, her French toast, muffins, frittatas, or scones, any time — day or night. Considering how many fancy breakfast recipes she's published, you might expect that the Barefoot Contessa's usual brekkie would be an elaborate affair as well ... perhaps served in bed by her beloved husband Jeffrey, on a vintage silver tray with glass goblets of milk, coffee, and orange juice, and a single rose from the couple's garden in a bud vase.

We hate to burst your bubble, but in real life, her regular breakfast is far less ostentatious, and she's been doing it the same way for over a decade. When Ina Garten spoke with Bon Appetit about what she eats on a typical day, she revealed that she has "the same thing for breakfast every single day, 365 days a year." The simple, nutritious choice for her first meal of the day isn't necessarily shocking — it's how she makes it that's unexpected. She cooks it in the microwave. Oats offer numerous health benefits and are believed to help reduce cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and are packed with vitamins and fiber (per Healthline), so it really shouldn't come as a surprise that the Contessa's first meal of the day is so sensible and easy to prepare.

Store-bought and microwaved is fine

Ina Garten's go-to for her daily starter is McCann's Quick Cooking Rolled Irish Oats. The oats are steamed, rolled, and then cut thin and flat, which allows for their quick cooking time — the brand suggests that three minutes in the microwave is all that's needed. Garten makes her favorite breakfast with milk, salt, and butter, and enjoys it with espresso or a pot of coffee, as she explained to Bon Appetit, "depending on my mood." She also went on to say that while most people don't make their oatmeal seasoned, she finds it delicious that way, and without salt, it reminds her of "wallpaper paste." She reserves her birthday as the one special occasion for when she indulges in sweetening up her oatmeal with a touch of maple syrup.

A number of things make McCann's special. The company has been sowing its oats on Irish farms for over 150 years, and it attributes the location's soil, climate, and water quality to why its products are some of the best in the world, as well as lending its grains an exceptionally nutty flavor and plump texture. The whole grains are certified non-GMO (which almost all food in Europe is) and are minimally processed, which helps to maintain their nutritional profile. Plus, unflavored oatmeal is low in sodium and saturated fat and has zero cholesterol.

Oatmeal doesn't have to be sweet

When it's not her birthday, Ina Garten's routine breakfast is somewhat plain without the addition of a sweetener, and salty from the salt and butter. Leave it to the Barefoot Contessa to be ahead of the savory oatmeal trend. To feature and bring out oatmeal's savory power, some like to eat it topped with eggs, bacon, cheese, or other zesty additions like roasted garlic, hot sauce, and tomatoes, or greens like spinach and kale. Cooked oats have a neutral flavor that can pair well with just about anything when treated like rice or other grains.

Whether you like it sweetened with brown sugar, cinnamon, berries, and sliced bananas — or heated up with spicy salsa, black beans, and avocado, oatmeal can serve as the perfect base to highlight other flavors. Another good example from a celebrity chef is Giada De Laurentiis' favorite olive oil oatmeal, which she gives a Mediterranean touch with fresh herbs, orange supremes, almonds, lemon zest, and a drizzle of really good olive oil ... something we know the Barefoot Contessa would probably love. While Ina Garten may prefer to be a creature of habit who eats the same breakfast every day, you certainly don't have to. With so many options to experiment with, you could have oatmeal daily for a year, or a decade, without ever having to repeat yourself.