Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sensible Breakfast Ideas

It's the hardest meal for me. Mostly because every morning I'm rushing around, getting showered, drying and straightening my hair, feeding cats, cleaning litterboxes, making coffee, turning on the dishwasher, making the bed, and getting out the door. It's seldom that I sit down and eat my breakfast at my dining room table. So, I need quick portable ideas that I can easily pack and bring to work with me to eat before I head off to the Courthouse.

So, I have about 3-4 go to breakfasts that I typically alternate between.

My favorite breakfast....

Chobani plain yogurt with Udi Granola

You're probably thinking ...plain yogurt ...ew gross. Here's the thing. If you buy a cup of flavored low fat or even non fat yogurt, take a peek at the ingredients. The yogurt isn't flavored with fresh blueberries...in fact there's probably little to no fruit in your yogurt. So, I take plain yogurt and flavor it myself. I'm accustomed to the taste of plain yogurt now, but when I first started eating it, I would add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it up. I'm also a big fan of buying my plain yogurt in single serving size containers for two reasons. 1) portion control..I can't help myself to 2 or 3 servings and 2) it limits the amount of granola I can fit in there and usually keeps me honest about eating 1 serving of granola as well.

To sell you on buying your yogurt plain, here's an example of what's in a cup of a big brand name lowfat blueberry peach yogurt:

Blueberry Ingredients: Cultured Grade A Low Fat Milk, Blueberries, Sugar, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Pectin, Kosher Gelatin, Malic Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Natural Flavors, Calcium Phosphate. contains Active Yogurt Cultures including L. Acidophilus. Peach Ingredients: Cultured Grade A Low Fat Milk, Peaches, Sugar, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Pectin, Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavors, Modified Corn Starch, Malic Acid, Potassium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate. contains Active Yogurt Cultures including L. Acidophilus

Here's what's in a plain non fat Chobani yogurt: cultured pasteurized non fat milk, contains five active live cultures.

So, by making the swap, you save yourself a bit of sugar calories, and the other stuff that's in the flavored yogurt packs like high fructose corn syrup and other various chemicals.

Onto the Granola...why do I like Udi...I love this granola because it's some of the most natural granola I could find that isn't bombarded with sugar. One thing you have to be careful about is when packages claim everything is all natural. Well, sugar is an all natural product. So, my goal was to find a granola, as natural as possible, but not loaded with sugar. The ingredients in the granola are : Thick-Cut Rolled Oats, Colorado Wildflower Honey, Canola oil, Almonds, and Pure Vanilla.

Sometimes I'll throw in a tablespoon of organic raisins as well. Just be careful with your dried fruit...make sure the only ingredient is the fruit itself. Alot of dried fruits add in tons of sugar. At Trader Joe's they sell Organic Seedless Thompson Raisins where the only thing in the package are raisins.

Steel Cut Oats with Fruit

There's two ways I do my oatmeal...but the oatmeal is always the same..steel cut oats. Why? They keep me filled longer. Most people opt for instant oatmeal because it cooks in a flash. Steel cut oats do take much longer to cook than regular oatmeal but they're a thicker cut oat and really satisfy me more than a little packet of oatmeal. So, on Sunday nights, if I'm in an oatmeal mood, I'll cook up a big pot of steel cut oats and let them simmer. When they're done, they go into a big tupperware and every morning, I put a serving in a bowl, add some fresh or frozen fruit and there's breakfast for me. Sometimes I'll add a dash of honey or some cinnamon, if I'm not in a fruit mode, sometimes a handful of nuts and raisins.

My other option...Trader Joe's steel cut oats. These are sold in the freezer section of Trader Joe's. They are flavored with some brown sugar, but the sugar listed on the nutritional info isn't off the charts. In the box are two individually wrapped portions of oatmeal. You cut it open, put it in a bowl and I microwave them for 2 minutes. I then add some fruit to bulk up my breakfast. This is a great meal on a cold winter morning!

My version of an egg mcmuffin

I'll guarantee it's why healthier than the fast food version. I take a whole grain english muffin. My favorite kind...Ezekial bread products.

 Ezekial products are keep in the freezer, so I defrost an english muffin, toast it, throw 3 egg whites in a small frying pan and cook them up. I fold the eggwhites onto the english muffin, add some salsa, maybe a piece of cheese, some vegetables, wrap it up and take it to work with me.

Kashi Cereal with Non-fat Milk

I don't eat cereal a ton. Sometimes it doesn't really fill me as much as I need it to. I also really really struggle with serving sizes. Challenge yourself and measure out your cereal the next time you eat it. You'll be surprised that you probably eat way more than the recommended serving. If you do, pour a bowl like you normally would and then measure to see how much you have in your bowl and calculate how many calories and fat grams are in your serving. When you buy a cereal and glance at the nutritional info and think...hmm 160 calories isn't too bad with 2 grams of fat. Well, that's if you're measuring out and following the 3/4 cup serving. You might be thinking, I'm not eating 1 1/2 or 2 cups of cereal...well you might be surprised at just how big your cereal bowl is...your nice 160 calorie breakfast can easily inflate into a 320 calorie bowl of cereal and we haven't even gotten to the milk yet!

I'm guilty of this. I'm more guilty for dumping about 1 1/2 cups of milk into my cereal. You need to be careful with serving sizes and cereal gets me every time. Because I'm so bad with it, I need to limit myself with it. I'm also so guilty of throwing quite a few pieces in my mouth as I prepare my breakfast as well. When it comes to milk, I buy local milk that has no growth hormones or antibiotics given to the cows. If you can't find a local milk, organic milk is the way to go. Read your labels and make sure the cows are antibiotic and hormone free.

So, if I do choose cereal, I usually gravitate towards Kashi. I switch between different kinds in the Kashi brand but I always try to be careful..mostly because Kashi is known for being all natural, but again, sugar is an all natural product, and some of their cereals do creep up a bit in the sugar department, but at least none of their cereals will make my milk change color!

My Kashi guilty pleasure cereal..Cinnamon Harvest, with 9g of sugar per a serving
A little more of a sensible choice..7 grain puffs with 0g of sugar per a serving
So, they do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I think it's probably true, because if you're not wise with your breakfast choices and you're like me, you'll pick a bad mid morning snack or a ravenous beast by lunchtime! So be smart and start the day off right

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