By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D. for TheBestLife.com
I love breakfast foods, so I’ve always wondered why anyone would deliberately skip this meal. Cereal, oatmeal, waffles, eggs, latte—what’s not to like? And if you opt for healthy versions of these foods, breakfast could be your most nutritious meal of the day. Here’s how to make the most of your morning meal.
Check the ingredient list to make sure that all the grains in the cereal are whole. Then check the label to make sure that you’re getting no more than 5 grams of sugar and at least 4 grams of fiber per 100 calories. If your cereal is very low sugar, such as Food for Life’s Ezekiel cereals or Uncle Sam’s, it’s fine to sprinkle on a few tablespoons of granola (which might exceed the “5 g sugar per 100 calories” rule in larger amounts). Here’s what to put in your bowl:
- 180 to 200 calories of a cereal of your choice, or a mix of cereals
- 1 cup fat-free or one percent milk or soymilk
- 1/2 to 1 cup fruit
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted nuts or seeds (like pumpkin seeds)
(For an example—and to see what a cereal fanatic I truly am—check out my recent blog.)
You’ll love the ease of a frittata: It’s basically beaten eggs poured over sautéed vegetables, heated halfway on the stove top, then finished off in the oven. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ingredients—leeks, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, cheese, pine nuts—you name it!
Here’s how I made one recently (for a photo, click here):
- Spray a medium oven-proof pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
- Sauté 2/3 cup chopped cauliflower (and an optional 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, if desired) in 2 teaspoons olive oil for a few minutes until vegetables start to soften.
- Pour in 2 beaten eggs or 1/2 cup liquid eggs (such as Better’n Eggs) and 1 chopped scallion.
- Cook, using fork to push outer edges of egg slightly into the center, allowing runnier egg to collect at the edge and cook.
- After about 4 minutes, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and transfer to a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Cook in oven for about 2 minutes, until eggs reach desired degree of doneness.
- Serve with a slice of whole-grain bread, a piece of fruit and a glass of milk.
Yogurt, Fruit and Nuts
This is a cinch to put together, and is easily transported to work. The basics:
- 1 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 cup fruit of your choice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted nuts or seeds
- 35 to 50 calories of a high-fiber cereal, such as 1/4 cup Kashi Go Lean
- 1 teaspoon honey (if desired)
Oatmeal to Go
No time to make breakfast? If you’re near a Starbucks, McDonald’s or any other place that serves oatmeal, you’re covered.
- At McDonald’s, skip the cream and brown sugar, but keep the diced apples and cranberry raisin blend for a total of 270 calories. (Even better, skip the cranberries and bring a tablespoon or 2 of your own nuts to add.) Add a medium nonfat McLatte, bringing your meal to 370 calories.
- At Starbucks, skip the brown sugar and top with the nut medley and dried fruit for a total of 340 calories. Round out with a 12-ounce (tall) nonfat latte for a meal total of 440 calories. (For other good choices at Starbucks, check out a this video.)
Recipe: Egg in an Avocado Brunch