Recently I received an email with questions regarding breakfast. The person states “Breakfast – I’ve heard it is the most important meal of the day” and then goes on to ask for some quick and easy “busy” morning ideas and then some “I have more time to spend on preparation” ideas. In my cookbook Little Hands in the Kitchen my Time 4 Breakfast chapter does just that, but here I will give you a few additional ideas.
First let’s look at why breakfast is so important. Let’s start with waking up each morning. Most people go eight to 12 hours overnight without food. This causes your metabolism to slow down to compensate for the lack of “fuel”. If you don’t give your body some fuel in the morning, then you are not “jumpstarting” your metabolism for the day. Your body will stay in a slow or “starvation” mode holding onto every calorie it can. Also, studies have shown that if you don’t feed your body in the morning when you finally do eat, later in the day you more than likely will overeat and that regular breakfast eaters are more likely to exercise on a regular basis, which is a good thing!
What makes a good breakfast? You may want to check out two of my previous articles Get Your Plate in Shape and Good bye MyPyramid…Hello MyPlate. In a nutshell, every meal should contain fruits and/or veggies (1/2 of your plate), a little protein and a little starch (each ¼ of your plate). So let’s look at some ideas.
Keep quick-to-fix foods on hand. Stock items, such as fresh fruit, cottage cheese, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals. If you know you will be rushed in the morning, prepare part of your breakfast the night before. Setting out a bowl, a spoon and a glass can ease the morning crunch.
These breakfast ideas can be brought to your office or school if you find sitting down at your own breakfast table difficult.
Breakfast Shake: 1-cup fat free milk or plain non-fat yogurt, blended with ½ cup
fruit, and add 1 tsp. nuts or nut butter, ice (if you use frozen fruit you do not need to add the ice) and whirl.
Berries and muffin: split open a small bran muffin and place on a plate. Top with fresh berries and a dollop of fresh yogurt.
Bagel and chutney: spread mango chutney on a small bagel, and pair it with a side of cottage cheese (or low-fat ricotta cheese) sprinkled with cinnamon.
Baked Potato and Cheese: A little unconventional for breakfast, but delicious. Top one half of a medium leftover baked potato (or microwave a raw one for 10-15 minutes) with low fat cheddar cheese and a spoonful of salsa. Return to the heat until the cheese melts.
Breakfast Sandwich: Top a whole wheat English muffin, or whole-wheat pita bread with 1-ounce lean ham or turkey, flavored mustard, and add some sliced veggies or lettuce. Pair it with fresh fruit and a small wedge of low fat cheese.
Here are some breakfast ideas for when you have time to spare.
We love the Dutch Baby Pancake, I usually serve it with fresh fruit that is in season during the spring and summer, during the fall and winter I will sauté some sliced pears or apples in a little butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Another idea is a brunch pizza, click here for the recipe. Or try a tortilla wrap, scramble some eggs, season to taste, place cooked eggs in a whole-wheat tortilla, top with some grated 2% cheese of choice, top with salsa and any diced veggies of choice, roll, eat, and enjoy, serve with a side of fresh fruit.
Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t forget to have a balanced meal. Include a protein (dairy, eggs, meat), a starch (whole grain bread, tortilla, potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats, etc.), and color (fruits and veggies). The protein helps to keep you feeling full, the carbohydrates (grains, fruits, veggies) give you the energy source your body is looking for in the morning, plus they add to your daily fiber intake. Be kind to your body and start your day the healthy way!