Breakfast – the most important meal of the day?

There is a recurring theme in my life that when I come across an idea, at first I often dismiss it.  (SNF – or “Say No First” as my mom calls it) Then it proceeds to hit me over the head 4-5 times over the next day or so and I can no longer ignore it. This happened to me last week with breakfast cereals.  “What?” you ask.  Who get’s hit over the head with breakfast cereal? Guess you didn’t grow up in my house.   Kidding aside – this idea is about how we’ve come to accept that breakfast cereals are good for us and healthy options for that first meal of the day.  I started thinking more about this recently as I was shopping for the family and couldn’t decide which cereal to buy…and decided on none.  They all had either ingredients/GMOs I wouldn’t buy, or were out of our sugar or $ budget.  Over the next couple of days 3 of my friends posted articles (links below) about this and I also tested a coconut chia granola recipe that won the BAM seal of approval.  Those events combined brought me to the subject of this post.

Break – Fast:  Yes, it’s about just that. Breaking the fast from the 8 hrs you’ve been sleeping.  So then why do some of us wake STARVING and some not really care to eat for an hour or so after waking?  As is the case with my 2 kids.  Everyone’s body and needs are different, and you should listen to and respect yours.  Definitely hydrate – for adults I recommend 20-24 oz water, with lemon, before anything else.  But, if you aren’t hungry when you wake, don’t force feed breakfast.  Easier said than done for the kid’s who are heading to school in 30 minutes and will not have an opportunity to eat until lunch in 4 hours.  And hungry kids won’t be learning much when they can’t hear the teacher over their growling bellies.  Quick, healthy breakfast is the way to go.  Unfortunately, most breakfast cereals are far from that.  They’re often loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and colors and CRAZY chemicals – check out the Lucky Charms.  Guess the TSP makes them “Magically Delicious!”

lucky charms pic

Here is a helpful article on some of the best and worst of the mile -long cereal aisle:http://www.wtop.com/267/3721479/How-unhealthy-is-your-favorite-cereal.

And another helpful article on the truth about some foods we’ve been told are “healthy” (disclaimer: this article is not for those working on their first baby steps toward a healthy lifestyle – but it is good information, none the less. )

http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2014/05/unhealthiest-health-foods/

So, if you or your family are cereal junkies – try this recipe for granola – delicious, nutritious and super cheap!  I also included recipes for 3 other non-cereal breakfast favorites.

GranolaBase

 

  • -6 cups oats
  • -2 cups of unsweetened crisp rice cereal (I use Natures Path organic rice puffs, <$2/bag!)
  • -1/4 cup brown sugar (optional – I leave out if I use extra fruit)
  • -1/2 cup oil (I use melted coconut oil)
  • -1/3 cup honey (you could cut the brown sugar and add a little more honey)
  • -2 t vanilla/almond extract

Add Ins – the fun part!– chose from this list any / all / or pick a theme to mimic your favorite store bought granola. {1 cup unsweetened coconut, 1/4 cup  roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1T cinnamon or other spice}  Combine all ingredients then spread on greased rimmed baking sheet pan and bake at 350 for ~15 minutes.  Watch so it doesn’t burn, stir occasionally.  Cool then store in an air tight container.  FYI – I use one large sheet pan and it takes 3 batches through the oven.

 

Serve with milk, over plain yogurt – with fruit as a parfait, over ice cream or plain as a snack.

20141021_170058

Jen’s new banana / pumpkin / zucchini muffins (gluten free!! and freezeable)

In a blender – yes, mix it all in a high powered blender –

  • -1/4 c almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
  • -2 large RIPE bananas (for zucchini or pumpkin I do 1 cup shredded zucchini or pureed pumpkin and one ripe banana and a little extra honey)
  • -1 egg
  • -2T honey
  • -1/2 c oats
  • -1/4 c almond flour/meal (ground almonds)
  • -2T Flax meal (ground flax seeds )
    -1t vanilla
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • -1/2 t cinnamon (plus 1/4 t cloves, 1/2 t nutmeg for pumpkin)
  • -1/4 c cocoa powder (optional, everything goes over better with chocolate in our house)
Grease muffin cups (we do mini) and fill 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 for 8 min for mini and 10-12 for full size muffins.
20141021_170004

Mini Quiche (freeze-able)

  • -10 eggs whisked with ¼ cup water.
  • -1 bell pepper chopped
  • -1/2 onion chopped
  • ½ T olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach chopped
  • ½ cup meat (sausage, ham, bacon cooked & chopped) optional
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese for topping (cheddar, parmesan)

Sauté peppers and onions in olive oil.  Add spinach.  Grease muffin pan and divide meat and vegetable mixture between cups.  Pour egg into cups and stir with a knife.  Top with cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until eggs are set.

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Smoothie: The Formula:

  • ½ – 1 cup produce (fruit: berries, banana, melon, pitted cherries, avocado, pineapple; vegetables: cucumber, pumpkin/squash, spinach/kale)
  • ½ – 1 cup ice/frozen fruit
  • ½ – 1 cup liquid (juice, iced tea, water/coconut water, unsweetened milk)
  • 2T protein (nut butter, hemp/chia/flax seeds, protein powder)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Hopefully reading this moved you to check out the ingredients on the cereals in your pantry and to consider trying something different for breakfast.

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