Everyday Breakfasts: Fast and healthy
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before: breakfast is your most important meal of the day. As the name implies it is a time to break the fast because there is likely no other time in a twenty-four hour period that you go as long as you do without food or drink than when sleeping. Our bodies use glucose (blood sugar) for energy, which is stored as we sleep. If it’s not replenished with a healthy breakfast, our bodies are quickly depleted until we become lethargic and have greater difficulty concentrating. Eating breakfast gives your body and its metabolism a quick daily boost. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast regularly have a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. This is multiplied for children whose growing bodies require even more nutrients and energy in the morning, and in turn are more easily affected by nutrient deprivation.
Still, more than thirty percent of Americans forgo breakfast everyday.
Why do so many of us skimp or overlook such a vital meal entirely? The most obvious answer is that it’s in response to how busy our lives have become. You may be thinking as you read this—how am I supposed to have a healthy breakfast when I have to get kids off to school, walk the dog, check my e-mail, and still make it to work on time? The answer to this question lies in two simple words: plan ahead.
It’s common to plan in advance for dinner—what am I going to make, what ingredients are needed, how long it will take—but planning for breakfast is much rarer. It doesn’t have to be complex. The most important aspect is to have quick, simple, and healthy ingredients at hand. Fruit, good bread, yogurt, granola, oatmeal and other natural cereals are all essentials.
One of the simplest yet most nutrient-packed breakfasts I can think of is a fruit and yogurt shake. This vitamin-rich drink takes seconds to prepare, is filling, and can be eaten on the run if necessary. A whole-grain bagel with cream cheese and banana is another obvious yet easy choice. Personally, my all-time weekday favorite is one I consume at least four days a week—PB & J. But I’m not talking about Wonder bread, Smuckers, and Jif—think whole grain bread, natural peanut butter, and fruit preserves.
I am certainly not a physician or a nutritionist, but I do know that when I plan ahead and eat a healthy breakfast—and even better, offer myself a little extra time to sit and enjoy it—I feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Making a fruit smoothie is about as simple as it gets; simply place the ingredients in a blender and puree them for about twenty seconds. This is one of my favorite versions. The banana offers a daily supply of potassium; the raspberries are loaded with vitamins C and B. Yogurt not only makes the smoothie creamier and richer, it is also loaded with lactic acid bacteria, one of the best naturally occurring probiotics there is. While this makes a quick, delicious, and nutritious breakfast, it is a refreshing beverage any time.
1 ripe banana, peeled
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
3 ice cubes
Peel the banana and place all of the ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth.
Whole Grain French Toast with Caramelized Pear and Homemade Blueberry Syrup
While this is not a quick breakfast to prepare, it is simpler than its longish title suggests; a made-from-scratch reward when you have the time. Think of it as a weekend feast to linger over with the newspaper and coffee.
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 slices whole grain bread
1 cup fresh blueberries, divided
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons butter
1 pear, cut into thick slices
Mix together the eggs and milk, then add the slices of bread; allow the bread to soak—turning it if necessary—for about five minutes. Make the syrup by combining 1/2 cup of the blueberries with the water, sugar, and, maple syrup in a small skillet. Bring to a boil, stir briefly, then lower to a simmer. Cook the berries for about ten minutes. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it begins to bubble add the bread. Cook on one side until brown, then flip it and add the sliced pear to the pan, browning that as well. Transfer the french toast to a platter or two plates and arrange the pear across it. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of berries to the hot pan and swirl them in the hot fat for just a few seconds, then arrange them across the toast as well. Transfer the berry-maple mixture to a blender and process briefly. Drizzle across the french toast just before serving.