Healthy Breakfast – Quick, Affordable

09/27/2011

You’ve heard the clarion call.  You’ve seen the light.  You’ve felt the vibe.

You know that eating a healthy breakfast is the right thing to do.  How do you find the time to prepare that healthy meal to start your day?

Simple!

You probably have a morning ritual.  You know how much time it takes to drag yourself out of bed once the alarm sounds.  And you probably have a pretty good idea how much time it takes to make yourself presentable before leaving home and facing the world.

Does your morning ritual allow time for breakfast or will you need to build that into your routine?

Part of my daily ritual is feeding the cats.  They already know that a hungry daddy is a crabby daddy (although the younger ones refer to me as “great grandpa,” which is really disturbing), so they allow me some extra time to begin preparing my breakfast right along with theirs.  So far, I haven’t confused their food with mine… which is probably better for me than it is for them.

(Is it more disturbing that the cats refer to me as great grandpa, or that I acknowledge that the cats are actually talking to me?)

Trader Joe’s makes a Quick Cook Steel Cut Oatmeal that sells for about $3 a can.  17 servings.  It cooks in less than ten minutes.  I add the oats to the cold water to short-cut the cooking process and let them sit for a few minutes before I start cooking.  They are quick cook, so the oats are processed, but only minimally.  You still get four grams of fiber, two of them insoluble.  They are nutty, not creamy like, say Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal.

And no comparison to a bowl of instant oatmeal.

If you’re going to eat instant, you may as well have a banana and glass of OJ (more on that in a separate post).

Now, just plain oatmeal might be fine for some folks, but I need to spice mine up a little… so to speak.  I add a healthy dollop of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal for an extra measure of fiber and healthy fat, a handful of blueberries because I like purple food (… why is it that blueberries turn my oatmeal purple?), and a handful of walnut pieces.  Oh!  And a splash of milk.  Fat-free, of course.

I love my oatmeal and don’t get tired of it.

Each serving of the above costs less than $1 per serving.  And creating that masterpiece is quick.  Less than ten minutes.

Where can you find that ten minutes?  Better than that, what part of your morning ritual allows for multitasking?

As delicious as it is, that heaping bowl of oatmeal is not enough food for me.

I had a little extra time this morning, so I scrambled two eggs.  After pouring the eggs in a preheated pan, I grabbed about a half-dozen asparagus stalks, snapped off the woody bottoms, rinsed and steamed in the microwave for one minute.  I dropped the asparagus into the pan and continued to cook them with the eggs.

Total prep and cooking time was less than five minutes.  The eggs cost about ten cents apiece, the asparagus were less than two dollars a pound, so… fifty cents?  If that…

That’s a huge breakfast.  Which is good ’cause I have a huge appetite.  Total cost: less than $3.  Total calories: about 350 to 400 for the oatmeal mixture (walnuts account for about half) and about 150 to 200 for the eggs and asparagus.  Good fats, complex carbohydrates, lean protein (egg whites would have been leaner).

It’s easy to tailor the calorie count to your nutritional needs.  Remember… better to eat until you’re full than to count calories.

You are undoubtedly more creative than me and will come up with many alternatives to garnish your oatmeal.  Just remember to keep the selections healthy and supportive.

And every three to three and a half hours later, do it again.  Eat.  Healthy and supportive.


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