Do you constantly find yourself eating breakfast “on the run”? Are you settling for coffee and a donut or relying on the nearest drive-thru? The first meal of the day is important, so don’t short-change yourself. A little planning and a few extra minutes can go a long way toward a healthy start, no matter how hectic your morning routine.
Why Eat Breakfast?
• A healthy breakfast replenishes your body and mind, giving you energy to move and think. It’s just what you need in the morning.
• Many traditional (and unusual) breakfast foods are naturally low in calories and fat, while also providing valuable nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and calcium.
• People who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier overall than those who skip breakfast. And skipping meals sets some people up to overeat at the next opportunity.
The Case Against “Convenience”
• The supermarket is filled with breakfast “junk food” that promises a quick meal that even kids will love. But, honestly, how satisfying is a toaster pastry that can be eaten in a few bites? You can actually eat more food - yet a lot fewer calories - by making wiser choices.
• The typical fast food breakfast should come with a warning: “Conveniently high in fat, sodium, and calories, but can’t offer much in the way of fiber, vitamins and minerals!” The typical sausage and egg biscuit with hash browns packs in around 600 calories, 41 g of fat, and 1,340 mg of sodium. That’s more than half the recommended Daily Value for fat and sodium - and from just one meal!
• Coffee and a donut: Don’t fool yourself. How long will that stay with you? You’ll be heading to the vending machine before you know it.
Healthy Options for a Great Start
So what makes up a nutritious breakfast? Like any meal, a good rule of thumb is to have at least three food groups represented. Maggie Green, registered
dietitian, certified chef and owner of The Green Apron Company (www.greenapron.com) in Crescent Springs, KY, maintains that a healthy breakfast consists of three components:
1) Fruit or 100% juice. If you choose juice, look for one that is fortified with calcium and keep the serving size to 4-6 ounces.
2) A good source of protein. Protein ensures that the meal “has some staying power,” says Green.
3) An excellent source of fiber. “If planned correctly,” says Green, “individuals can get almost half of their fiber requirements at breakfast.”
Green doesn’t buy into the breakfast-on-the-run philosophy. “People really fail to plan for breakfast, just as they often fail to plan for other meals,” she says. “We hear about a lack of time in our society, but in my opinion, it’s a choice about how we all use our time.” It’s worth getting up a little bit earlier in the morning to ensure a good breakfast. Having the right ingredients on hand is 90% of the battle and can often mean that a nutritious breakfast takes only a few minutes. See our recipes below.
Fast & Delicious Breakfast Ideas by Chef Maggie Green:
• Juice, banana, and egg white sandwich on whole wheat bread
• Oatmeal with raisins and skim milk
• High-fiber muffins (make them in big batches and freeze them)*
• Smoothies (use skim milk, frozen fruit and a little wheat germ)
• Pancakes and waffles (freeze a batch and toast what you need in the morning); top these with fruit and sugar-free syrup instead of butter and regular sweet syrup
• Homemade granola made with toasted rolled oats, nuts and raisins
• Breakfast burritos - use scrambled egg whites, beans and a little salsa
*You can freeze the muffin batter in muffin papers, then bake them in the morning.
Rise & Shine! Smoothie
1 cup orange juice
1 cup skim or fortified soy milk
3 Tbsp wheat germ
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches, etc.)
Place all ingredients in blender and puree on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use - up to 6-8 hours. If you are making this the night before we recommend you store it in the blender jar and blend it again it quickly before serving.
Serves 2. Each 1-1/4 cup serving: 160 calories, 1.8 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 65 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 8.5 g protein.
By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.