Friday, August 13, 2010

Breakin' the Fast

Breakfast makes this girl happy!

It's no secret that I passionately love breakfast - it's the most important meal of the day, right? Unfortunately, most of my life I used to eat a heavily carb-based breakfast, i.e. a bowl of cereal with milk, or a bagel and orange juice. I always wondered why I’d be starving an hour or two later.

After meeting with a nutritionist and reading lots of healthy eating blogs and fitness magazines, I discovered that I wasn’t giving my body the mix of nutrition it needed first thing in the morning. Your body needs carbs, protein, fiber and healthy fat (nuts, seeds, olive oil, etc.) at every meal to stay in tip top shape.

At first I was scared of eating so many calories (400+) that early in the day, especially the extra fat. Now, I think of good breakfast as a gift to my body. I’m starting the day off with the fuel I need to eat healthy the rest of the day and feel good. If you don’t eat breakfast, you SHOULD! Think about it – if you split up the word into “break” and “fast”, that’s literally what you’re doing - breaking the fast your body has been in since you went to sleep last night. You NEED those calories to get your metabolism going and to give you energy. A cup of coffee helps, too J

Here are a few of my favorite breakfasts.

Happy Belly Oatmeal

1. Stir all your dry ingredients together first – this helps all the flavas mix together.

- 1 packet instant oatmeal, any flavor – but take out the sugary stuff at the bottom of the packet (there will still be a few oats in it, but plenty left over to cook). I did this because my mom gave us a huge box of instant oatmeal packets from Costco and I didn’t want it to go to waste and eat the extra sugar. OR, use plain oats and add a little cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and stevia added for lots of flavor with no extra calories.

- Add a tablespoon or two of flaxseed, wheat germ, or chia seeds for extra crunch and antioxidants.

- Add half a scoop of flavored protein powder for extra punch – you can only taste the flavor and it fills you up! Some of my favorite brands are Amazing Grass, Jay Robb, Vega, Tera’s Whey and Designer Whey.

2. Add the wet ingredients.

- Use your choice of non-/lowfat milk (however much you want based on how thick or runny you like it). It’s more filling than cooking with water and you get the extra nutrients. I like almond milk (super creamy!) or skim milk. Add to your oat mixture and stir well.

- That being said, add a little water to the mix before you cook it – it increases the volume and makes you feel like you’re eating more. Always a good thing!

- Add cut-up fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peaches, apples, whatever you like) before you cook it so it gets nice and warm. This creates a more dessert-like effect J

- Microwave for 1 min. 30 sec.

- After microwaving, add a tablespoon of nut butter for healthy fat and satiety (and just plain darn good tastiness). The heat of the oats melts the nut butter and makes it extra creamy and thick, with that stick-to-your-ribs sensation. I love organic unsalted peanut butter mixed in.

- Depending on how sweet you like it, you may want to add a bit of stevia – it’s all-natural and has no calories! Hooray for natural sweeteners J You could also add some sugar (regular or brown), agave, or maple syrup. I have never tried coconut oil but I bet that’d be tasty too.

3. Eat and swoon. Seriously, you will - it's THAT good.

Make My Day Breakfast Parfait

- Add your choice of fruit to the bowl FIRST (I used fresh blueberries, strawberries, and grapes) – you’ll get more fruit that way. Duh. J

- Spoon on your nonfat yogurt next, just enough to coat it (I usually use 5-6 tablespoons).

- Add a few tablespoons of flaxseed, chia seeds, and/or wheat germ.

- Add a SMALL amount (~ ¼ cup) of granola for healthy fat & crunch.

- Mix well and enjoy!

The trick I’ve found is to add the healthiest, most filling stuff first, i.e. fruit and oatmeal. You’ll get more servings of fruit that way, extra nutrients, and not fill up on the not-as-healthy-but-still-good-for-you-in-moderation stuff like granola. You can always add more granola later.

PB&F(ruit) Toast

- Toast two slices of whole wheat bread or a low-calorie bagel. Spread with organic peanut butter (and natural fruit spread if you wish) and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Add your choice of fresh fruit - here I added delicious pear slices. Stuff your face.

- Have some more fruit on the side to help fill you up. Continue to stuff your face. The nectarine pictured was fantastic - so ripe and juicy!

Breakfast Sammich (yes, I like to say “sammich” for fun. You know you do too.)

- Spray a ramekin with cooking spray. Add 1 egg white (separate from the yolk by cracking the egg in half into a bowl, and pouring the egg over the shell back and forth so the yolk stays in the shell and the white runs into the ramekin) and salt and pepper to taste. Microwave until it’s cooked – make sure you check on it every 5-10 seconds, and cover with a wet paper towel so it doesn’t explode and leave little egg bits all over the inside of your microwave. NOT fun to clean up.

- Slice and toast a low-calorie whole wheat bagel or sandwich thin (I love Western Alternative bagels). Add the cooked egg white to one side of your bagel, add a slice of reduced-fat cheese (Jarlsberg and Swiss are good), several slices of fresh basil, a few slices of breakfast meat (both ham and turkey are delish), and my favorite sauce! It gives it a great extra kick.

- Nom nom nom away. Have some fresh fruit on the side too.

What are your favorite healthy breakfasts?


  1. Thanks for this post, Lauren! I've been so tired of cereal, and have been lacking time to eat a proper breakfast! (It's been granola bars this past week...) Hopefully, these recipes will motivate me to get up earlier to have a REAL breakfast!

  2. You're welcome! I feel so much better when I have a good breakfast :) It helps when it's easy and fast to make. I'm up early so holler if you need a reminder ;)


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