My Strategy for Eating Breakfast
There’s a common phrase repeated about breakfast that I don’t even have to say because we’ve all heard it a million times. [You’re probably repeating it to yourself right now!] We’ve heard it because it’s true. Most of the energy (calories) used by our body is used for bodily functions; breathing, heart beats, brain function, cellular function, etc., all of which continue at night without any food intake. In the morning, our body needs energy to refuel from the night’s activity and to be ready for the waking hours.
For many people, morning is also one of the busiest times of day making it easy to skip breakfast or make unhealthy choices. If you fall into this category but would like to eat breakfast, you may find the strategies below helpful.
Choose three meals and don’t get too fancy.
Save the splendor for another meal or the weekends. Your breakfast-in-a-hurry needs to be simple. Three different well-balanced breakfast meals should be all you ever need. To be well balanced, choose foods from at least 2 food groups; three is better. If you count calories, breakfast should be around 1/3 of your calories for the day. “But won’t I get bored?” you ask. Probably not. It’s likely that you already have a limited breakfast rotation. However, if you are drastically changing the kinds of foods you eat for breakfast (e.g. from donuts to oatmeal), it will take a while to adjust to the new flavors.
Be honest with yourself.
I recently suggested smoothies as a breakfast option to a client and he told me, “I just won’t do it. I know myself and I just won’t get out the blender.” Kudos to him for saying that! Know yourself and the context of your mornings (how much time you have, what foods you like, where you are most likely to eat, etc.,) and create a breakfast plan that fits into the context of your life and morning, not the other way around.
Make it a no-brainer.
Once you decide what 3 meals you will choose from, make it so easy that it is 100% achievable to eat breakfast every day. Always have all the ingredients, tools, containers, and equipment on hand for all three of your breakfast meals. If your meals need some preparation, schedule prep time when you know it will happen. If you need to pre-portion cereals or cut up fruits, have containers and snack bags. Your morning breakfast routine should have minimal steps.
I hope you’ve already thought of some ideas that will work for you. Below are some specific examples that may or may not work for you, but hopefully they should offer a good starting point!
Instant oatmeal with blueberries and yogurt. Take a packet of plain instant oatmeal, add water, ½ cup of frozen blueberries, and sweetener (optional) and microwave in a container for which you have a lid. Cover the oatmeal, grab a spoon, a single serve yogurt from the refrigerator, and a napkin, put into a lunch bag and head out the door. It’s ready to eat when you get to work, or take a few extra minutes to eat at home.
Smoothie. Add ½ cup of Greek yogurt, ½ c milk or milk substitute, ½ cup berries and blend. Eat with a bag of pre-portioned dry cereal or granola bar. Smoothie combinations are endless. Adjust the milk or add ice for a different texture, try adding spinach, kale, protein powder, peanut butter, etc. Pour into an insulated, lidded cup with a straw and eat on-the-go.
Grab bags. Create grab bags once a week that contain any of the following: 1) Apple, cheese stick(s), almonds. 2) Single serve yogurt, granola bar, piece of fruit. 3) Dry cereal, single serve milk, fruit.
“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” — H. L. Hunt
I once met with a young woman who wanted to lose weight. She knew her diet was a problem; she ate restaurant food nearly every night of the week. After our first meeting, she emailed me and said she couldn’t afford to meet with me and I never saw her again.
Based on our initial conversation, I figured she was probably spending, conservatively, about $200 a month in restaurant meals — far less than the expense of working with a nutrition money coach. Through her food choices, she was putting toward something she didn’t want and taking money away from something she did want. I thought this was sad because I don’t think she realized the choice she was making.
As with our time, our money can disappear easily leaving us wondering where it went. Unlike time, everyone has a different amount of money to spend. I would be remiss to not income acknowledge that different levels do affect an individual’s opportunities. However, there are opportunities to live healthier at every income level.
I’ve found tracking money to be a more involved task than tracking time. In my experience, it will take a few hours of researching statements and bills and several months of tracking to your money fully understand how you spend. Eventually, it becomes an ongoing process of anticipating expenses and learning how to live with less of some things in order to make room for others.
Avocado, The Wonderful Fruit
As I live in Waupaca, driving to work every day is a thirty minute commute. Lately, to pass the time I’ve been listening to (sports talk-show radio) “Mike and Mike” in the morning….funny since (aside from the Packers, which is more religion than sport) I don’t enjoy watching sports on television. Anyways, the other day they were advertising for Subway and preaching the virtues of avocado, Subway’s featured seasonal add-on ingredient. And, since our “Spicy Turkey Avocado” wrap continues to be the Bistro’s best selling menu item, I thought a bit of research would be appropriate.
I know that many people stay away from avocado because of its fat content, but a closer look shows that there are such things as healthy fats. A local article in Natural New says “This source of monosaturated fat has high levels of potassium” and “aids in balancing sodium levels required by your body”. And, with the popular low carb diets of today, consumption of healthy fats like avocado is necessary to balancing your nutrient intake. Containing all essential amino acids, avocados are also rich in Beta Carotene (a Vitamin A rich pigment normally associated with Reddish-Orange hued vegetables) and have been found to protect against liver damage in laboratory animals.
There is a strong case for organic farming practices. And, with the pesticides used to keep your over-produced supermarket fruits and vegetables looking pristine, taking a bite out of your favorite apple might do more harm than good. Avocados though, enclosed in a thick skin, have their own natural protection from these harmful chemicals…making them (according to some) safe for consumption, even if they’re not organic.
As it seems Subway and “Mike and Mike” have not laid false claims to the health benefits of the avocado, I will eat more in the future. And, if you haven’t had our most popular wrap yet, come see us soon in the Bistro 212 for a Spicy Turkey Avocado wrap, because we want to cook for you!