This is Part 5 in my Healthy Eating Series - read all about it here.
My motivation to start this series on healthy eating back in April was a conversation with a group of fellow moms about how to make meals healthier for our families. The discussion hovered around the topic of breakfast for some time – how we could better make it the nutritional springboard for the day. It seems to be the meal that is hardest to make healthy. Perhaps it’s because we are usually jolted awake just after dawn by a crying baby, pee-covered toddler, or wide-eyed preschooler, and then turn almost immediately to preparing food – often in a hurry so someone can be rushed out the door to work or childcare.
Sometimes I remember what mornings were like before kids. I’d get up, shower, listen to the radio while I did my hair and make up. Make myself whatever I wanted for breakfast in about five minutes, though usually eat with my husband. Eating usually took about 10 minutes. Now, breakfast involves about 15 minutes of preparation, and we sit together and eat for perhaps 20 minutes. So from the glory days of 15 minutes to the current practice of 35 minutes. It’s just a 20 minute difference, but it’s a whole different way to start the day. Now that I’ve accepted that this is just how long it takes every day to make a good meal, I don’t fight it.
This idea of accepting that it takes a few minutes more to make a good meal was something we moms talked about that night – the constant tension of needing to do more, faster that rubs up against achieving the quality we want for our families in many aspects of our lives – food, leisure time, health.
If you can accept that healthy eating takes time, and that you get better at it the more you practice doing it, you might find that eating well isn’t something extra you do, it’s just part of your life. It’s part of your personal food culture.
Check out these breakfast recipes below for an assortment of ways to charge up your morning meal. For a few more ideas, see the Life Time Foundation’s breakfast recipes that span foods from the on-the-spot to the make-ahead.
Simple Breakfast Recipes for a Healthy Daily Start
|Breakfast Recipes & Ideas||Benefits||How to Use||Where to Find It and Notes|
|Applesauce with a booster like ground flax seed, ground chia seed or wheat germ||Fiber in applesauce; see benefits of boosters||Mix it all up. Go easy on the boosters or it makes a paste.||See the post on Bullseye Boosters|
|Eggs with veggies||Eggs – the whole egg (the yolk is good!) – has protein and other good stuff. Veggies are a great complement.||Top regular scrambled eggs with slices of avocado and salt. Make an omlet (or scramble it all) with finely chopped kale or spinach – can add cheese||Anywhere! Trader Joe’s has great price on avocado (no need to go organic, either).|
|Steel cut oatmeal||Steel cut oats mean that they are processed less, so keeping the good parts of the wheat kernel in. Processed cereal (including commercial oatmeal) is often cut more times.||Top it up with some of these items: a liquid like milk, nut milk or coconut milk; nuts; boosters like flax and chia seeds; fruit. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup.||Find quick-cooking McCain oats at Trader Joes or Whole Foods. Takes five minutes on the stove.|
|Yogurt parfaits||Probiotics in yogurt help with digestion, and offer calcium and protein. Berries add antioxidants. Nuts add healthy fats and protein.||Make it pretty! Use clear glasses. Layer fresh organic berries, granola and yogurt. Can even top with whipped cream for a treat! Can also add ground nuts.||Use a combo of high protein Greek yogurt and locally-made part or full fat organic yogurt. Can add local honey to make plain yogurt sweeter. Partial and good fat yogurt will keep you sustained longer, so it’s ok to have a little fat – and it’s less processed than nonfat yogurt.|
|Good quality bread with a nut spread||Grains and seeds in bread offer good carbs and some protein. Nut spread offers protein and healthy fats.||Spread on the bread! That’s it!||Great Harvest has some good alternatives to shelved bread. Farmers Markets have fresh bread. Look for whole grains and seeds. Nut butters include almond, peanut with flaxseed, and there’s also non-nut sunflower butter – all available at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.|
|Smoothie||Ranges depending on what you put in. A great way to get a lot of nutrients in. Berries are great for their antioxidant properties (they fight free radicals in the body that cause disease).||Use frozen organic berries for economic savings. Try a mixture of ingredients, including: frozen kale; a little honey; ground flax or chia seeds; Greek and regular yogurt (enough to make it a significant source of protein); a little juice to make it loose enough; a scoop of whey protein (vanilla flavor is nice)||Once again, see the post on Bullseye Boosters|
|Brown rice or quinoa with fixins’||These are good carbohydrate alternatives to wheat - quinoa even provides protein.||Make grains ahead, like the night or a few days before – have a bunch for different uses during the week. To reheat, heat on stove or microwave till warm. Basically top it like oatmeal (a liquid like milk, nut milk or coconut milk; nuts; boosters like flax and chia seeds; fruit. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup.)||Anywhere.|
Note: The above information is offered as food for thought (pun intended), and I’ve compiled this information based on my learning gathered from places like ExperienceLife.com and the Omega Institute. These are suggestions for healthy eating based on my personal experience. Readers should consult their own health care professionals and consider their own health situations when adopting changes to their eating and dietary lifestyles. In other words: I’m not responsible for anything bad that may happen to you as a result of you trying my suggestions! Be smart, live well.