Quick Breakfasts For Busy MorningsBy Mr Breakfast
(skip directly to the tips and recipes)
Given the choice between forgetting to eat breakfast or forgetting to put on my shoes, I'd rather forget my shoes. Mind you, I work at home so it's no big deal. But the argument is the same. The result of skipping breakfast is pre-afternoon hunger and sluggishness. I guarantee that your employer or teacher would rather see you shoeless than grouchy, tired and unproductive.
The reasons to eat breakfast are many:
- Studies have shown that students and employees perform better if they've had breakfast.
- People who eat breakfast have a higher intake of important vitamins and minerals and lower cholesterol levels.
- Eating breakfast prevents mood swings and irritability associated with mid-mornng hunger.
- In the long-term, people who eat breakfast are more successful at maintaining a healthy weight.
The reasons to skip breakfast are few and mostly unsubstantiated:
- Not enough time.
(Hmmmnnn.... Thousands of breakfast take less than 5 minutes to prepare.)
- I don't like breakfast.
(You don't really know breakfast.)
- I'm trying to loose weight.
(See #4 above.)
- Seriously, I don't have the time.
(Seriously, there are many breakfasts you can enjoy while driving or walking.)
- Keep it simple. Keep it light.
First thing in the morning, your body isn't craving elegance and fine dining. It just wants food. Give your body what it needs and it returns the favor with energy and mental acuteness. Studies show that eating simple foods with a low glycemic index (such as whole grain breads and cereals, oats and fruit) improves mid-morning mental performance. Avoiding sugar and consuming just enough food to dull morning hunger is the perfect prescription for a busy morning. On the other hand, eating sugary cereals or overeating negates the benefits of breakfast causing you to feel sluggish by mid-morning.
A warm breakfast in under two minutes. The variations are endless. Toast with jam. Toast with butter and honey. Click here for over 300 ways to enjoy toast. Try to use breads that list whole wheat or other grains (not enriched flour) as the first ingredient. The American Dietetic Association recommends a minimum of three servings of whole grains per day and even recommends whole-wheat toast with peanut butter for a quick and healthy breakfast. Also consider frozen whole grain waffles from your grocer's freezer section.
Forget Kellogg's and General Mills, there's a breakfast manufacture that better than all the others combined. It's called nature and in billions of little factories called trees, it's providing us with fantastic sources of fiber and vitamins that are both tasty and filling. One medium orange has 3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein and only about 60 calories. A single delicious banana is not only a good source of fiber but it also contains over 400 mg of potassium, a mineral that's essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure. In the time it takes to say, "I don't have time for breakfast", you could have taken two bites of an apple (4 grams of fiber; 60 calories).
- Breakfast Cereal
It's quick and convenient - but you have to make smart choices for it to be a smart breakfast. Always look over the nutritional facts panel on the side of the box. The front of a cereal box is notorious for cleverly-worded overstatements regarding nutrition. Stick with cereals that list whole grains as the first ingredient. Aim for a fiber content of at least 4 grams per serving; a saturated fat content of 0%; and a sugar content of under 10 grams. A bowl of genuinely healthy cereal served with 1% or non-fat milk is a great way to start your day.
- Drink Your Breakfast
For breakfast convenience, the blender ranks right with the toaster and the microwave oven. Making a breakfast smoothie is as easy as putting an orange and a banana in the blender with some milk and some ice cubes. Press a button and you get two servings of morning freshness with 5 grams of fiber and almost 10 grams of protein. For more smoothie recipes, click here. Bonus tip: Freeze your favorite smoothie in a small cup; cover it with plastic wrap and stick a popsicle stick in the middle. You just made a breakfast popsicle!
- Instant Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a miracle food. Studies show that it lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heat disease and type 2 diabetes. It contains loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A single packet of oatmeal contains only about 150 calories and has 3 grams of dietary fiber. Most all varieties of instant oatmeal can be prepared in the microwave oven in a matter of seconds. And for those really short on time, here's a secret: you can drizzle really hot tap water over instant oatmeal and have a warm and soothing breakfast in 5 seconds.
Just a few years ago, microwavable frozen breakfast products would not have made this list, but increasingly healthier options can be found in your grocer's freezer section. Whole grain waffles, lean breakfast sandwiches and breakfast wraps are some of the better options. As with cereal, make sure to check the nutrition information. For more good things to nuke, see #9 below.
You might think that a breakfast website would be opposed to eating leftover pizza or spaghetti for breakfast. We have to face facts. Anything is better than nothing. On those mornings where 5 minutes for breakfast is strictly out of the question, you need to open the refrigerator and see what's available. Consider having leftover turkey and other meats on whole-wheat toast to make your leftovers feel more like breakfast. In England, baked beans on toast is considered a treat.
- Prepare For A Busy Week
The next weekend morning that you make pancakes, waffles or French toast, make a few extra. If you seal them tightly in plastic wrap, they'll keep well in the freezer for the week to come. To reheat, simply let the frozen item set out for a few minutes while you go through your morning routine. Then pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds. (For ideal reheating, place the items in the toaster oven or under a broiler for a few minutes).
- Eat While You Drive (Or Walk)
Why not make your hectic commute fun? Pack a baggy full of your favorite cereal to take on the road. A smoothie in a travel mug makes a much better traveling companion than an empty, growling stomach. And don't count out the drive-in window at your local fast food chain. Restaurants like McDonalds are making it easier to make healthy choices by offering yogurt parfaits, low-fat muffins and even oatmeal. A fast-food breakfast sandwich may not seem like the healthiest option, but phrases like, "No cheese please" and "I'll skip the hash browns" can transform a morning overload into a moderately healthy breakfast.
This article was written by Mr Breakfast (aka Eddy Chavey).
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