“Could you do a piece on breakfast foods? I eat oatmeal in the morning, but I am often wondering what other alternatives there are that can take you to lunch where you feel filled and not starving by 10 am?”
A consumer analysis report found that Canadian breakfast choices are driven by the 4 Hs: health, habit, hunger and hurry.
This may be why cold breakfast cereal tops the list of most frequently consumed breakfast food. It can be prepared in less than a minute and you would be hard pressed to find a cereal box that did not promulgate some health benefit. Even Fruit Loops, yes really, includes the health claim “source fiber” (a whopping 2 grams) in ¾ of a cup. Along with that 2 grams of fibre you get 3 teaspoons of sugar, 150mg of sodium, which is about 10% of your recommended daily intake, and a slew of artificial colouring.
So what are some better breakfast options? We know that oatmeal is a great choice to start off our day and the reason for this is its fibre content and the fact that it contains intact grains, that is, the oats have not been refined into flour and then processed further into bagels, wraps or boxed cereal. It takes our digestive system a long time to break through those grains and absorb the nutrients.
Other fibrous foods include whole fruit (not juice), beans and legumes. It may at first seem funny to dive into a plate of beans for breakfast but a black bean scramble with some grated cheddar would be a delicious way to start the day.
The other key ingredient in making breakfast a satiating meal is protein. Protein is also slowly digested and absorbed ensuring that we stay fuller for longer and avoid mid-morning hunger pangs. When we think of protein meat, poultry and fish come first to mind, which might not sound appetizing at 7am. However, try considering a turkey sausage or lox on scrambled eggs. Both Greek yogurt and cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit would also provide between 12-16 grams of protein for half a cup.
Healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados can also be added to perk up breakfast and make it a meal you look forward to eating. Topping oatmeal off with some crunchy nuts and seeds, or spreading a tablespoon of walnut butter on an apple, or having sliced avocado with a hard-boiled egg can provide a different taste and texture to your regular ‘go to’ morning meal.
I recommend trying to avoid flour products as much as possible, but if you find it difficult having breakfast without some form of bread product, then simply follow these guidelines. Choose dense, heavy, whole grain bread with copious amounts of seeds and nuts. Limit to one piece and load it up with protein and healthy fats. I like Silver Hills Macks’ Flax and Steady Eddie which have a low glycemic load score, are non-GMO and have a good source of fibre and some protein.
So putting all of that advice together here is a list of some “out of the box” breakfast options:
Weekday – Quick and Easy
(*denotes recipe below)
- Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, fresh berries or fruit and handful of mixed raw nuts and seeds
- Steel cut or old fashion oatmeal (not instant) with added fresh fruit and nuts
- Apple slices with almond butter and hard-boiled egg
- Scrambled eggs with peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese (+ half a papaya)
- No sugar added Banana Almond muffins (see January blog for recipe) and a pear
- 1 large orange + 1 slice of Mack’s Flax or Steady Eddie topped with:
- Nut or seed butter and banana slices
- 1oz of favourite cheese and tomato slices
- Egg prepared any way
- Nitrite-free ham and avocado slices
- A Real (no-juice) Smoothie*
- Warmed black beans topped with grated cheddar and a dollop of salsa and natural yogurt + (fresh mango and pineapple chunks)
Weekend or when you have a bit more time
- Smoked salmon and avocado omelette (+ 2 plums)
- Oat bran pancake* topped with fresh berries or blended tropical fruit
- Wheat-free tortilla* with cheese, salsa and guacamole (+ two kiwis)
- Frittata with cherry tomatoes and baby spinach and a side turkey sausage ( cook sausages the night before and just microwave to warm up for a quick protein-rich addition to your breakfast)
- Cinnamon Millet Porridge with Diced Apple*
- Half a cantaloupe and Florentine Hash Skillet http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/florentine_hash_skillet.html
- Mushroom and Wild Rice Fritatta http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/.html_28
The options are endless. The rules for a smoothie are:
– Use only whole fruit, no juice
– Add some natural Greek yogurt for that satiating protein
– Use water or ice cubes to loosen
While I’m not a promoter of the Dukan Diet, I do like their oat bran pancakes. They can be a great substitute for bread and the traditional white fluffy pancake:
1 1/2 tablespoons of Oat Bran
1 1/2 tablespoons of non-fat fromage frais or natural Greek yogurt (non sweetened)
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. If the mixture is too stiff, add a couple of teaspoons of skim milk.
Add a couple of drops of light oil to a frying pan and heat up pan. Once warm, pour the mixture into the pan and cook on a medium heat until the underside is golden and the upper side starts to dry.
Flip the pancake and cook the other side.
Can use like bread and spread your favourite nut butter over top, or a poached egg. Or treat like a regular pancake and simply add fresh or pureed berries or tropical fruit.
Flax Seed Wrap (adapted from Dr W. Davis, Wheat Belly)
Makes 1 serving
3 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp paprika
Pinch of sea salt
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 Tablespoon water
1 large egg
Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in melted butter.
Beat in the egg and water. Pour batter into a greased frying pan (between 8-10 inches depending on how thick you would like the wrap) and cook on stove top for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Then place under hot grill for about 1-2 minutes to cook the top. Remove carefully with a spatula and fill with desired ingredients. It will be fragile.
Tip: after grilling the top of the wrap, I add some avocado slices, fresh tomatoes or salsa and a bit of your favourite cheese – goat’s cheese or a sharp cheddar would be nice. Place wrap back under grill to melt cheese. I then flip half the wrap over on itself and remove from pan like you would an omelette.
Cinnamon Millet Porridge with Apple & Almonds
1/3 cup millet
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup skim milk or 1/2 cup soymilk
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
½ apple diced just before serving
1 Tablespoon of toasted almond slivers
In a small saucepan, combine millet, water, milk, cinnamon, salt and raisins.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes without stirring.
If the liquid is not completely absorbed, cook for 3-5 minutes longer, partially covered.
Remove from heat. Stir in chopped apple and toasted almond slivers.