26 January 2013
Breakfast: My Favorite Meal of the Day!
Probably like most people, I don't tend to have a lot of time in the mornings. I'm rushing kids off to school and starting on my housework so I can move on to working out and the rest of my day. I need something quick and easy AND healthy.
My most recent "quick and easy AND healthy" favorites are steel-cut oats and quinoa. Steel-cut oats are a little heartier than rolled oats. Supposedly they are less processed and therefore retain more of their natural nutritional value. All that aside, I just love the chewy texture! Plus, you can buy them "gluten-free"! (While oats do not contain gluten, they are often contaminated in the reaping and manufacturing process. "Gluten-free oats" just mean the fields and equipment have been dedicated to oats. No wheat allowed!)
At the beginning of the week I make a big pot of oats or quinoa, which takes anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes to cook. I take one serving for breakfast that day and then place the rest in a Tupperware container and stick it in the fridge. Now I have breakfast for the whole week. Each morning I just scoop out my single serving, warm it up in the microwave, add my own "toppings", and enjoy, usually with some almond milk. My latest favorite steel-cut oats add-in is a tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of honey. It almost tastes like a dessert! Lots of protein, fiber, and stick-to-your-ribs goodness!
Other "topping" options: brown sugar, jam, nuts, dried fruit, applesauce, molasses, berries, etc.
Quinoa is more of an acquired taste, but with a bit of brown sugar and some almond milk, it is delicious and satisfying! Plus it's gluten-free and packed full of protein!
Some days, I toast up a slice of homemade wheat bread (I need to share my new favorite recipe!) and slather peanut butter and honey on it. Add some milk and homemade canned applesauce (no added sugar) on the side.
I know a lot of people love their green smoothies. I've been known to drink these in the morning too. Berries, spinach, soy milk, flax seed, a bit of ice, some lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon, the kitchen sink... I haven't quite mastered the art of smoothies. I used to add Greek yogurt to mine, which tends to coagulate once in a smoothie. Shudder! It kind of ruined me. Some day I'll reapproach smoothies and work on our tattered relationship.
When I have a bit more time I really enjoy scrambled eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein. I'm not very good at throwing out the yolks; it just feels so wasteful, even if it they are high in calories or cholesterol or whatever the latest study is saying.
Eggs with wheat toast are good, but what I really enjoy is an egg burrito. I confess, I cannot convince myself that wheat tortillas are edible. They taste like cardboard. Flimsy, damp cardboard. Ugh. This (and the egg white thing) just shows you that I'm not perfect in healthy eating. And that's okay! Trust me. I don't lose sleep over an occasional egg yolk or white tortilla.
That being said...I also don't worry too much when I have chocolate chip pancakes and bacon for dinner every once in a while either. Moderation in all things.
Just make sure that for the most part you are eating a nutritious and well-rounded breakfast. Food from all the food groups (yes, even carbs; at least healthy carbs), lots of protein, minimal sugar. This is the meal that will fuel you for a big part of your day. I read in a book once that "you should eat like a queen for breakfast, a princess for lunch, and a pauper at dinner". This makes a lot of sense to me.
Breakfast can be the first choice that will set you on a course of other choices for the rest of the day.
Example: "I already had cold pizza and a DP for breakfast. I screwed up. Might as well have a candy bar for lunch, skip my workout, and eat a burger and fries AND a milkshake for dinner." OR... "I had a healthy breakfast! I feel pretty good! Let's workout! Then I'll have turkey on whole wheat for lunch and maybe a salad for dinner!"
It's all about making better choices, every day--every hour! my friends. And breakfast is one of my favorite choices to make. What are your favorite breakfast foods?