We’ve heard it for decades, breakfast is the most important meal yet it leaves many of us in an unhealthy rut. There really are a multitude of choices on the Internet from do ahead, to Paleo or vegetarian based breakfast ideas. You need to think this through and develop an arsenal of options given the day, the week, the year, your life.
Personally, I never leave the house with out coffee, 50% decaf, 50% regular (Sometimes I buy grounds premixed at Whole Foods, and when available, I buy Starbucks‘ decaf French Roast ground and French Roast regular mixing the two into a canister at home.) After 40 years of drinking black, dark roast coffee, I recently switched making a conncoction Bullet Proof Coffee’s Octaine (coconut based) oil and less than a 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut or almond milk, froth and enjoy. Adding ghee butter for better nutrition is trending, and you should investigate, but no ghee for me. For long term travel I have used their powdered packs that include ghee. Frothing is a must in all cases, and yes, I travel with a tool.
Next, I eat three raw walnuts, that’s 6 halves. Healthy fats in Omega 3‘s balance your blood sugar as you break fast, ideally eight plus hours after your meal the night before. Yes the coconut oil in my coffee has similar properties, but as a pre-diabetic, I’ve been hooked on this ritual for several years. Balancing your blood sugar is extremely important to boost your metabolism whether you are trying to maintain or lose weight so what the heck, give it a try.
Now we get into the nitty gritty stuff – where you, yes you my lovelies, you have to check in with your selves and determine, what is the best next move for right now? And you have to have food in your house in order to make mindful decisions! The Internet has a plethora of lists for healthy pantries, and I will include a cheat sheet of TMP recommendations. Remember, these are simply choices I like. You need to create your own favorites (and please share to TMP FB page).
If you have time to cook breakfast, go for it. If you like something light, enjoy some fruit. Berries have the lowest glycemic index, remember to buy organics when possible. I might sprinkle finely ground chia or flaxseeds on top, or a combination of the two. For a treat on the weekend, I might enjoy a tablespoon of cottage cheese or greek yogurt on top of my berries. If there is a banana around, one third to one half sliced is nice. Bananas, apples, and pears are great fruits when on the go and yes, they have a slightly higher glycemic index than berries, but unless you are diabetic, don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember, as in everything diversity is key, and if you buy based on what’s available in season you have an automatic rotation.
Speaking of seasonal, one of my favorite summertime treats is watermelon with crumbled feta and lots of fresh mint. Try that on a Hump Day and life is good. Dairy is a very personal choice. There are some choices that are better than others and feta is one of the more dry, lower fat cheeses. I choose dairy in moderation – a treat more than a staple. If you’re trying to change what you always did that is no longer working ditch the daily yogurts. When you do choose store bought yogurt, read the labels carefully for sugars not to exceed 14-16grams. But if you have a favorite and you’ve been good, go for it!
Twice a week I enjoy a juicy half of red grapefruit which takes more time to cut perfectly in order to enjoy every succulent morsel. Only one grapefruit once a week as there are reports of the acidity interfering with hormone balance.
And then there are green smoothies, yes for breakfast – drumroll please. Green smoothies, the ones you make at home, can be the most nutritious start to the day. If your a Green Goddess novice, investigate recipes. One of my favorites is www.simplegreensmoothies.com for a comprehensive guide to making green smoothies. You can test recipes and learn what flavors you like and what flavors go together. The more experienced you get, the more green you can go. The less fruit, the less sugar. The more protein the greater the satiated, feeling fuller longer. This really needs to be a blog on it’s own, it’s that in depth. Start by making a few recipes and identify your what makes your tastebuds happy. The options are endless. You will get to the point where you can make a concoction out of what’s ever in the fridge. One of my favorite staples is seedless (English) cucumber, parsley, (two super diuretics) mint (mint in everything), perhaps some spinach and maybe a few berries, mixed with a little filtered water. Add a quarter of avocado and/or coconut oil, ground chia, diced ginger root if it’s around. You get the idea, kind of a pot luck, or blender luck. Wiz and enjoy. Buy assorted fruits and veggies based on what is available in season and you will not be bored.
Did you notice the caveat to make your smoothies at home? Any guesses why? Store bought green smoothies are loaded with sugar. Read your labels carefully to identify first, if the bottle contains one or two servings and second, how much sugar is in each serving. Same goes for coconut water. Buy unsweetened coconut or nut milks. Read your labels and make a conscious choice.
Stay away from sugary cereals, need I say muffin, pastries, etc. unless you choose to splurge. Frozen ezekiel bread is a great stand by for a quick breakfast on the go. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you should be aware of the avocado toast craze, (2015 Instagram food of the year). Ezekiel toast with 1/4 -1/3 mashed avocado is packed with fiber, good fat & protein that will keep you energized. Add a sprinkle of chia or flax seeds for additional antioxidant support. Pomegranate seeds also add a wallop of goodness. Avocados are nature’s bounty of good health good for your skin too. Sliced smoked salmon is another great option.
A more luxurious ezekiel toast option: melt a smidge of nut butter, and maybe a sprinkle of chia or flax seeds on a cold winter morning. More temperate days, get crazy and add a smidge of the nut butter to sliced banana, apple or pear. (At a party someone brought sliced pears with a schmear of goat’s cheese, sprinkled with chopped walnuts – no bread! That’s a healthy choice!) Smidge, schmear what’s the point? Use less than a tablespoon as a single serving.
Personally, I’ve gone off oats. The main reason is steal cut oats take too long for my cooking attention span and they turn out gloppy. (You know instant oatmeal is not good for you, often laden with sugar and preservatives.) Slow cooked oats can be re-heated without losing nutritional benefits. I never order oatmeal when dining out because you never know what they put in it and 99% of the time it might taste good but it’s not good for you. There are shortcuts to make oats in advance, but then you have a vat of oats and I’m trying to diversify to keep things exciting. If you love oats, go for it, but let’s keep it plain and simple. Seriously, I mean, eat them plain and simple. Of course you can add a swirl of nut butter for protein, or raw chopped nuts, maybe fresh fruit like diced apples & cinnamon to perk up the old bowl. Hmmm, sounds good on a cold, blustery morning. If you’ve got the wherewithal to prepare your oats, enjoy!
Egg dishes are a no brainer for breakfast if you’ve go the time. I mean, they do cook fast. Egg dishes offer a great opportunity to bring vegetables into you breakfast. This is where planning comes into play. Chopping, sigh. If you find chopping therapeutic or meditative, good for you. Not me. You can buy already chopped veg, frozen kale, spinach, and I’ve even had a bag of assorted sliced peppers in my freezer. Remember, we are not talking gourmet cooking extravaganzas – these tips are for simple every day life.
Look on the Internet, there are endless recipes from complicated to 30 minute or less meals for whatever you are looking for as long you want to go through the preparation process. One of my favorites: www.wellandgood.com offers 35 healthy high protein breakfast ideas that are not smoothies. Now all I need is someone to provision and cook for me!
The Breakfast Shortlist:
Bananas, apples, pears
Chia and/or flax seeds ground
Cottage cheese or greek yogurt
Recipe: Paleo Apple Crisp
Mix 1/2 C coconut oil, 2 t cinnamon with a cup of slivered almonds & pecans, pour over 3 sliced apples and bake covered for 40 minutes at 350* My husband swears it’s too yummy to not be Bad. #nosugar