Monday, August 13, 2012

Building a better breakfast



I have always been a breakfast person. Maybe it’s because I’m also a morning person, but ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had a morning ritual of fixing a bowl of cereal before I headed off to school, work or wherever I was off to for the day.

So you can imagine my dismay when, as I began to make changes in our food choices, I learned that cereal wasn’t really something I should be eating. Not only are most cereals void of any real nutritional value, they’re also loaded with refined flour, sugar and all kinds of crazy ingredients no one can pronounce. I guess this isn’t a total shocker when you think of the cardboard they try to pass off as Special K that leaves you hungry about five minutes after you eat it.

But knowing that I couldn’t totally kick my cereal to the curb, and that eating lots of animal protein in the morning wasn’t exactly going to work either, I set to work on solving my breakfast conundrum.

The easiest and cheapest way to eat well in the a.m.? Oatmeal.

Not the stuff you buy in a packet, which is loaded with sugar and all kinds of other crap. Just the straight up, Quaker Oats in a canister stuff. Whether you opt for the generic brand basic oats or the more expensive steel cut varieties, it’s a quick and easy option to get some fiber and protein and ward off those morning hunger pangs.

Outside of oatmeal, my main go-to is Nature’s Path Organic. I’m practically obsessed, especially with the Pumpkin Flax Granola. I love that the company is from the Pacific Northwest and has remained independent of all the major food conglomerates that own much of the organic and natural foods markets now. And, while it’s certainly not bargain priced cereal, it’s one of the more affordable organic options.

But the biggest change I’ve made to my breakfast has been what I add to my cereal. I used to just add milk and call it good. But thanks to the inspiration of another blogger, Lauren Podolsky of Say What You Need to Say, I use my cereal as a base for starting off my day with healthy proteins and one to two servings of fruit.

Whatever is in season goes in my bowl. Right now it’s peaches and blueberries. Other times it’s just a big banana. And, to ensure I get enough protein and healthy fats, I add in nuts. Trader Joes has some great options, like their $1.99 bag of roasted unsalted sunflower seeds that lasts me a couple months. Not only does adding all of these things into my breakfast bowl give me a jump on meeting my daily nutritional requirements, it also helps keep my cereal and milk portion sizes in check. And, the best part, it keeps me full until lunchtime.

Want to get inspired to build yourself a better breakfast? Check out Lauren’s creative breakfast bowl creations at www.saywhatyouneedtosayblog.com.

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1 comment:

  1. Yeppers...love those oatmeal breakfasts. That is what Mike eats most days...Aldi's brand of oats in a can is pretty comparable to Quaker. Mike eats that most days. Our favorite is a touch of brown sugar, a dash of milk, dates, raisins and walnuts in it. You are correct, most cereal is garbage. I just finished a nutrition class (with a nice big "A" I might add, and we joked about how Special K boasts being "the" diet cereal but has no fiber in it. Nothing to keep you full yet they have audacity to suggest it be a meal replacement. Surprisingly, you have to watch sodium content in some cereals too, even those labeled "Natural" such as Mom's Best and what not. It varies by flavor. I too like the natures path, it is one of my favorites, but not easy to find unless I'm at woodmans.

    Loving all the fresh fruit right now!

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