Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Breakfast of Champions

I've been wanting to post about my breakfast for a while and I just got a nudge from a friend (HAP for those of you in the blogging world) so now I have an excuse to blog about an otherwise very boring subject.

OK, here's the deal. Breakfast is so important. "They" aren't kidding about it being the most important meal of the day. And what you eat SERIOUSLY matters. I used to eat a big bowl of cereal and find myself famished by 10am. Forget toast, forget waffles, consider anything without protein to be worthless on the breakfast table.

The ideal breakfast needs to include some protein which is hard to get at 7am...chicken breast anyone? And who has time for an omelette? Oh, and my experience is that yogurt does NOT provide enough protein for the morning UNLESS it is the greek variety (plain and unsweetened) and that stuff requires a second mortgage to purchase on a regular basis.

In fact, while I'm on the topic of yogurt, if you have ANY single serving yogurt in your fridge right now that has more than 20 grams of sugar, toss it away. And don't eat the "light" stuff. It's filled with cricket blood dye (sorry) and loads of artificial sweeteners that are horrible for you. The Activia brand is not too bad, provided that you cut it with some plain, nonfat yogurt. I see parents giving kids these Yoplait single serving cups every day and it KILLS me. Why not give the children a cookie instead? Add some milk if you feel like your kid needs the calcium. This is obviously a good post for another time.

Back to the subject at hand. My director at the club where I work turned me on to a great morning meal tip and I've had the same breakfast now for months. It's low calorie, high in protein and complex carbs, and most important, it sticks with me until lunch time (although I do have a snack around 10am).

Oh, and it's cheap to0. Have you noticed how much boxed cereal is costing these days? OMG.

Here's what you'll buy:

A large container of instant oats (mine is from Wal-Mart; don't judge me, it's the convenience thing again): $3.50
Trader Joe's Soy Protein Powder (only comes in a huge container): $10.00
Trader Joe's Blue Agave Syrup: $3.00

Here's how it comes together:

Take one half cup of dry oatmeal and microwave it for 2.5 minutes on High with a cup and a half (or more) of water. This requires some experimentation - you can always thin it out with more water, if necessary.

Remove from microwave and stir in TWO scoops of TJ's protein powder.

Stir, stir, stir. Add a little milk or water if necessary.

Sweeten with agave.

I also like to throw in cranberries and raisins or walnuts.

The basic caloric count (without the fruit and nuts) is about 325 calories. And the protein powder packs 23 grams of protein and lots of nutrients, as well.

Since you're not getting any fruit for breakfast (did I mention to throw out all orange juice now and forever?), plan a mid-morning snack of an apple, a banana, an orange...whatever and throw in a handful of nuts or nut butter with it. Then you'll be set for lunch which is, again, a topic for another time (and one I'm still struggling with here!).

Now, you can also take this breakfast on the road. I buy the instant oatmeal packs (sometimes I get the sweetened variety provided that they are on the healthy end of the spectrum - lots of companies - like TJ's - make a healthier version now). I measure out my protein powder in a zip-lock, then microwave everything at a hotel or at a friend's or wherever. I just did this at my dad's over Thanksgiving - even brought my own agave syrup!

One big caveat: you gotta really get the right consistency for the oatmeal and protein powder otherwise it's a bit sticky. And another thing: children, based on my experience, do not care for this concoction. B eats Fiber One pop-tarts. Not the best choice but he needs the fiber and I can usually get a glass of soy milk down him for protein. And it meets my criteria of "under 20 grams of sugar."

I'm not a big fan of protein shakes unless the mix has some carbs, which this particular TJ's product does not have. So I wouldn't get too crazy and toss it into your smoothie unless protein drinks are really your thing. I'll blog more on that topic at a later date.

I seriously love this breakfast. It's great to not have that famished, gotta-eat-right-now-and-it's-only-9:30am feeling! And to get so much protein from the get-go is a good, good thing. Your brain feels much more alert than the feeling you'd get from a big bowl of oatmeal with just brown sugar. The half pot of coffee helps too but I don't want to completely shatter my image of great health quite yet!

Good luck - let me know how it works for you!!


heartatpreschool said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I am SO excited to try out my new breakfast - you are the best!

WkSocMom said...

I got here in a roundabout way but thank you, great idea and I happen to have those ingredients at home right now. I've been putting scoops of protein powder in when I make pancakes, as it seems tough to get the kids to get enough protein besides milk in the morning.